Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay2013
5 STARS 20/20
The "Arthur Edmund” series signifies the prestige icon wines of Mills Reef, produced in limited edition in only exceptional vintages.
They are the finest examples from great vineyard sites paired to ideally suited grape varieties, of low yielding vines, climatically exceptional growing seasons, hand harvested and with minimal-intervention winemaking to craft wines with unique excitement and a distinct sense of place.
The vineyard for this prestige wine (Mere Road) is located within the famed Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District, an area renowned for producing world-class full-bodied red wines, and described by internationally respected wine critic James Halliday as "... not just a very special parcel, it is a sacred site”.
The grapes were stringently selected from the very best vineyard rows, on the best soils and of the oldest vines, with exceptionally low yields of just 3-4 bunches per vine.
Further, the 2013 growing season in the Gimblett Gravels is widely acclaimed as the ‘vintage of a lifetime’. Perfect in every way, yielding a long warm even climate, without heat waves or cold spells, a nice dappling of well-timed rainfall to stave off excessive vine stress, and a long warm finish which allowed the grapes to be picked unhurried at optimal ripeness and profile. A benchmark growing season !
The grapes for this distinguished wine are comprised of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot, and were hand-picked on April 27th and April 3rd respectively at an average Brix of 23.4 degrees.
Each parcel was destemmed then transferred to open-top fermenters where crushing occurred under its natural weight and cold-soaked for two days. Fermentation was then initiated and the resultant cap hand-plunged twice daily. A post-ferment maceration regime over 16 days optimised the tannin structure prior to gently pressing off the skins. The wine was then transferred to quality French oak barrels (100% new 300 litre hogsheads) for 20 months of élevage in our underground barrel cellar, with just one racking throughout and minimal disturbance to allow natural gravity settling and clarification to occur.
A rigorous barrel tasting process was then undertaken to select the optimum components for the final blend and wine style, then lightly egg-white fined and bottled unfiltered on the 30th of January 2015.
Powerful and beguiling, yet with tremendous poise, this refined wine is a harmonious blend of two varieties in equal measure, revealing lusciously intense blackberry fruit purity, layered with mocha, chocolate, and fine oak seasoning, seamlessly integrated on fine plush tannins, culminating with a wonderfully long spicy crescendo.
Crafted to evolve over many years, attaining ever-greater complexity, we recommend cellaring in a low-light environment at a steady 13 degrees Celsius and 75% humidity.