Regions > New Zealand > Gisborne region

: Millton



119 Papatu Rd, CMB 66, Gisborne, 4053

Cellar Door: Summer (Mon-Sat 10-5)

Ph: 0800 464 558

wine label

Millton is New Zealand’s first fully certified commercial organic winegrower and in 2009 received certification as fully biodynamic vineyards.

It is New Zealand's only full member of The Return To Terroir group of the world's leading 175 or so biodynamic producers.

The original 3 ha vineyard was established by James and Annie Millton of the Te Arai River near Manutuke in 1984. They now own the 8 ha Opou Vineyard (established in 1969), 7 ha Riverpoint Vineyard (established in 1978) and have a newer Naboth’s Vineyard which is used for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. A recent release is the Libiamo Gewurztraminer in an orange wine style (extended skin contact prior to pressing).

James writes: “I grow my wine biodynamically because, wine first, I want it to be best expression of my association with life. I am simply not interested in molecular SO2, aromatic yeast nor enzymes, cross flow filtration, soluble nitrogen or anything else that poison animals.

The wines include: Les Tros Enfants (a blend of Gewurztraminer, Viognier and Muscat), a Merlot Rose, a low alcohol Moscato d’Asti, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Malbec.

The Chenin Blanc is their most internationally famous wine and was included in the 2008 publication of “1001 wines you drink before you die.” The Clos de Ste Anne range is their super-premium (‘Grand cru”) range which currently includes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Viognier and Syrah.

Annie Milton at Return To Terroir biodynmamic wine expo (photo: genxywines)
Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2016

Purchased: Not ($NZ30)


(GXY) Tasting: June 2017, inspired by Loire Valley Chenin Blanc, wild yeast fermented, partial barrel ferment in 600l demi-muids, taut and linear white nectarine, red apple, lime zest and pear with floral notes and a hint of honeysuckle, slightly creamy and waxy with a spine of chalky phenolics, fresh orange peel acidity and good persistence, verging on off-dry with 7 gm/l residual sugar (****1/2)

Millton Te Arai Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2014

Purchased:  Not ($NZ30)

Drink: 2019

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2015, partially fermented in demi-mouds, verging on off-dry at 7 gm/l residual sugar, slightly waxy red apple and pear with pineapple, honey and lanolin notes, textural, the spine of chalky phenolics and fresh orange peel acidity off-set the marginal sweetness, excellent length and balance, varietal benchmark in the New World (*****)

Millton Te Arai Vineyard Viognier 2013

Purchased:  Not ($NZ26)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2015, from a warm drought vintage, bright golden colour, slightly oily golden apple, pear and kiwifruit with bright citrus blossom floral and musky spices, whisper of vanilla on the nose, underpinned with a soft, talcy texture and fine, tingly phenolics,, refreshing orange peel acidity shows the vintage conditions as expected with biodynamics but has avoided getting too blowsy (****1/2)

Millton Opou Vineyard Chardonnay 2013

Purchased:  Not ($NZ28)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2015, rather plump and generous palate as expected from the warm vintage, ripe golden apple and yellow peach flavours with oatmeal and white flower notes, creamy mid-palate underpinned with talciness, fresh tangerine acidity,  the hazelnut/vanilla oak is well integrated and in a support role (****)

Millton La Cote Pinot Noir  2013

Purchased:  Not ($NZ26)

Drink: 2020

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2015, unfined and unfiltered, succulent red cherry, cranberry and plum with fennel and violet notes, fleshy and plump medium bodied palate with some earthy savouriness on the back half, vibrant acidity, the grainy tannins provide a bit of grip on the finish (****)

Millton Libiamo Gewurztraminer 2013

Purchased:  Not ($NZ40)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2015, a very unusual wine where the nose is quite deceptive about the palate, this is an example of the vinous New Wave of orange wine (where white wine varieties are kept in contact with skins during ferment for an extended period, in this case 42 days), cloudy hue, yellow-brown colour, intense lychee and rose petal nose as expected, the palate is much more austere and neutral,  unexpectedly it shows delicate golden apple and pear flavours, some drying talcy phenolics on the finish, awarding a score to such a novelty wine is a fairly arbitrary exercise but for completeness I will give one (***1/2)

Millton Estate Chardonnay 2013

Purchased: Not ($NZ20)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2014, special 30th anniversary release with a retro label, perfumed blend of 86% Chardonnay, 10% Viognier and 4% Marsanne from the Riverpoint and Opou vineyards,  dry white peach and melon from the Chardonnay with the Viognier bringing apricot, orange blossom and musky/gingery spices,  builds towards in viscosity and lushness down the palate, fresh orange peel acidity and some gentle phenolic  grip on the finish, interesting blend (****)

Millton Te Arai Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2013

Purchased: Prince Wine Store, South Melb ($24)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2014, partial ferment in large 600l demi-muids, not quite off-dry at 7.2 gms/ rs but shows concentrated ripe flavours such as limes, pear and cumquat, creamy textured palate with a touch of lanolin and emergent honey, crisp lemony acidity with some chalkiness on the finish but otherwise fine phenolics, held its own in terms of balance and complexity in a line-up with more expensive Vouvrays (*****)

Millton Vineyard Clos de Ste.Anne Chardonnay 2009

Purchased: Not ($NZ52)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, crisp, minerally and spicy nectarine and melon with savoury lees complexity, good line and length with grapefruit acidity and nutty marzipan oak (****)

Millton Vineyard Riverpoint Viognier 2009

Purchased: Not ($NZ26)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, fairly intense expression showing chamomile, pear and yellow peach with some barrel ferment complexity and light ginger notes, the long palate has a very fine texture with vibrant chalky orange rind acidity and controlled phenolics (****)

Millton Vineyard Clos de Ste.Anne Pinot Noir 2009

Purchased: Not ($NZ52)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, unfiltered, firm and medium bodied plum and redcurrant with rose petal, pepper and leather notes, savoury with grainy tannins and cocoa-cedar oak, fined with their own free range eggs (***1/2)

Millton Vineyard Opou Chardonnay 2008

Purchased: Not ($NZ26)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, from 15, 95 and Mendoza clones, fuller bodied and slightly buttery nectarine, lime and kiwifruit with some barrel ferment texture, toasty vanilla/marzipan/cinnamon oak with chalky lemon acids (***1/2)

Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2008

Purchased: Not ($A30/$NZ28)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2010, while not as focussed as the 2007 this is still one of the very few genuine Loire Valley-inspired examples of this variety in Australasia, barrel fermented, spicy green apple and dried pear with a sliver of tropical fruit sweetness, slightly waxy palate with lingering vibrant lemon acids and very fine chalkiness (****1/2)

Millton Riverpoint Viognier 2009

Purchased: Not ($A24)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2010, from the first commercial plantings of the variety in New Zealand (1997), lifted spicy nose, dried pear, apricot kernel and musk with rather exhuberant ginger and cinnamon spice, a bit oily but has a minerally spine, long flinty finish with orange rind acidity (****)

Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2007

Purchased: Not ($A30/ $NZ28)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, there is a small botrytis aspect but is mainly a dry style, ripe red apple and pear with white flower and honey bees wax aspects, matured in large oak barrels for texture with no overt oakiness, vibrant green apple and lemon acidity, long and rather satisfying with a overall baked apple pie impression, as good as this variety gets and will develop for a few more years yet (*****)

Millton Clos de Ste Anne Chardonnay 2007

Purchased: Not ($A50/ $NZ50)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, from the oldest 20 year old vines in the Naboth Vineyard, wild ferment, no malo but there has had extended lees contact, powerful and rich white peach, melon and stonefruit with mealy complexity and creamy hazelnut aspects, lingering and well judged powdery lemon acids (****)

Millton Clos de Ste Anne Viogner 2007

Purchased: Not ($A50/ $NZ50)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, wild yeasts and partial malo, perfumed, silky and opulent nectarine and orange zest with jasmine, cinnamon, honeysucke and almond notes, slightly oily palate with enough minerally texture without showing biter phenolics (****)