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Pinot Noir, James Millton, Clos de Ste. Anne, Naboth’s Vineyard, Manutuke, Gisborne, New Zealand. 2006. 13%, Biodynamic

Posted Jan 03 2010 11:27am

James and Annie Millton’s established their vineyards in 1984 and make a delicious range of hand-crafted fine wines. Pioneers, they’ve been biodynamic from the outset, long before many more famous estates around the world converted to the creed. Their estate is at Manutuke, just outside Gisborne in New Zealand, in North Island’s Poverty Bay, the first city to see the rising sun each day.

While Gisborne remains an unfashionable Kiwi wine address there can be no doubt that this estate ranks as one of New Zealand’s very best and James is one of the leading lights in antipodean biodynamics.

The Naboth’s vineyard is arguably Millton’s best site, a single steep vineyard devoted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, now incorporated within the larger Clos de Ste. Anne estate named after Annie Millton. As such, their Pinot Noir is one of their flagship wines and sits at the top table of Kiwi Pinot alongside those from the better known Central Otago, Martinborough and Marlborough regions.

A light faded crimson colour, the quality of this wine is apparent from the very first sniff, offering up a complex perfume of raspberry, cranberry and cherry fruit with Parma violets, smoke and a note best described as newly turned earth. The character of the palate is, to resort to a burgundian description, feminine. There’s elegance, grace and balance rather than naked power, with moderate alcohol and a refreshing level of acidity. It presents a silky texture but with enough grippy tannin to make it excellent with food (roast duck hit the spot for me). Undoubtedly this is fine Kiwi Pinot – high intensity red berry and cherry fruit overlays earth and forest floor before a long spice finish rounds things off.

Drinking perfectly now, it will remain at peak for around the next 2-3 years. This is exciting Pinot Noir – and at a very sharp price for the quality and personality on offer.

Availabilty in the USA: 67 Wine, New York, $44.99

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