Artisan winegrower in Gisborne, James and Annie Millton are as biodynamic as you get, with their winery located on the banks of the Te Arai River, near Manutuke.
The Millton Vineyard has gained a world-renowned reputation for this unique and classic grape variety. Consistently recognised by international writers as one the best examples in the world, outside of the Loire. The Te Arai vineyard Chenin is included in the book '1001 Wines you must try before you die'. Published by Penguin 2008.
With aromas of fresh lime zest and fragrant gardenias, this wine is taut and vibrant in a way that will show its’ maturity over a very long period of time. Flavours of fine wool and bush honey are enhanced by cumquat and ripe bouche pear aromas with a tingling aftertaste.
The Te Arai vineyard is five kilometres from the sea. Te Arai roughly translates to “the place where you pause before going on towards the land of eternal sunshine.” Quite appropriate for this wine, I thought. This maritime proximity underlies the wine’s unique South Pacific style. The silt soils give fragrance while the occasional incidence of botrytis, generated by the autumnal mists from the Te Arai stream, give complex texture, body and a sense of sweetness to the wine. In the Loire Valley of France, Chenin Blanc produces powerful wines of a similar character, which we refer to as our touchstone.
Notes from the Winemaker:
Over the years our determination to produce one of the world’s best wines from this variety is a seasonal challenge and a bottled fantasy. Up to four selections are made in the vineyard when we hand harvest the grapes. On the crush pad the stems are discarded as these grapes give up their juice very easily during the long slow press cycle. The juice is collected together and allowed to settle for only a short time as we need to keep the fine sediments, for it is here that all the nutrients lie which satisfy a well behaved fermentation. The fermentation and maturation take place in demi-muids (large 600 litre oak barrels) and stainless steel tanks. The wine matures in these vessels over time, and without the obtrusion of oak tannins, which would otherwise disrespect the subtle fruit aromas.
Final clarity has been achieved naturally with no further additions. Serve about 12ºC and allow to breathe for as long as you think best. Ageing potential is at least 10 years from date of release.
Wine from Certified Organic and Biodynamic Grapes. Estate Bottled.