Mills Reef Reserve Marlborough Pinot Gris 2008

Sale price$34.95
Southern Valleys, Marlborough, New Zealand

Style: White Wine

Variety: Pinot Gris

Closure: Screwcap

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Mills Reef Reserve Marlborough Pinot Gris 2008

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, usually ready in 2-4 days

Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124

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Producer: Mills Reef

Country: New Zealand

Region: Marlborough

Vintage: 2008

Critic Score: Not Rated

Alcohol: 13.0%

Size: 750 ml

Drink by: Now

Has aged magnificently. Beautifully balanced acidity still provides a refreshing, vibrant finish on the very long palate – Nick Munday

Mills Reef Winery is located in Hawke's Bay in the North Island of New Zealand and is best known for its stunning Bordeaux-varietal red wines grown in the Gimblett Gravels. This delicious Pinot Gris, however, was sourced from the Southern Valleys sub-region of Marlborough in the South Island (refer to the map below).

The 2008 Marlborough Pinot Gris has aged magnificently. Honeysuckle, pears and peaches on the nose; the elegant palate has a lovely smooth viscous texture and is rich, soft and beguiling with flavours of pears and peaches. Beautifully balanced acidity still provides a refreshing, vibrant finish on the very long palate. 

"The grapes for this classic wine were sourced from Eyrie Vineyard in the picturesque Waihopai Valley of Marlborough. The juice was cool tank fermented with a selected yeast to bring out the best of its aromatic fresh fruity qualities. 

This elegant Marlborough Pinot Gris has delightful aromas reminiscent of honeysuckle and lemon verbena, pear and peach, interwoven with citrus lemon and melon fruit flavours. Medium-bodied with a lovely oily texture, it bursts with flavours of peaches and pears, dappled with water melon and lemon. A fresh easy drinking style with classic lively acidity, finishing soft and silky."  Mills Reef 

Marlborough sub-regions

Marlborough sub-regions

About the winery

The winemaking team at Mills Reef The winemaking team at Mills Reef 

Mills Reef Winery was founded by the Preston family with a vision to produce high quality wines from Hawke's Bay. The recognition that stunning Bordeaux-varietal red wines could be grown in a special inland area within Hawke's Bay, known today as Gimblett Gravels, was central to the success of Mills Reef.

The inaugural vintage was in 1989, the year they first leased the Mere Road vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels. It was very much a family affair in the early days, all helping where necessary, including the winemaking role which was taken up by father-and-son team Paddy and Tim Preston. 

In 1992 the family purchased a site on the outskirts of Tauranga, some 300 miles northwest of Hawke's Bay, and designed and built a winery that was officially opened in 1995. Fruit from the Hawke's Bay vineyards are harvested and transported to Tauranga for processing at the winery.

At that time, Paul Dawick also joined Mills Reef to share winemaking responsibilities with Tim Preston. They now share over 50 years of combined winemaking experience, with a particular specialist knowledge of the Hawke's Bay region. Under their tenure, Mills Reef has achieved national and international acclaim and has twice been awarded the title "Champion NZ Winemaker". 

The Vineyards

The Mere Road vineyard, the 'jewel in the crown', is the flagship vineyard. It is a 16 hectare block painstakingly managed for low yields to produce the very best grapes for the 'Elspeth' and 'Reserve' wines. It is sited in the renowned Gimblett Gravels and, as the vineyard name suggests, it is found on Mere Road at the westerly river end.

The Mere Road Vineyard was initially leased by Mills Reef in 1989. They subsequently purchased a 10 hectare portion in 1993, followed three years later by acquisition of the remaining 4 hectare block. The entire 16 hectare vineyard was then progressively replanted from 1993 through to 2001 with modern clones of varieties suited to the area; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.

The recognition that stunning Bordeaux-varietal red wines could be grown in this special inland area within Hawke's Bay was central to the success of Mills Reef. It wasn't until 2001 that an 800 hectare area that included this vineyard was officially proclaimed as Gimblett Gravels.

The warm climate and deep stony free-draining soils are ideal conditions for growing Bordeaux varietals and Syrah. The viticulture is intensive with vines planted only a metre apart and grape yields kept incredibly low to ensure only the very best quality at harvest time. The wines from this special vineyard have garnered a long and fine award winning reputation - trophies, gold medals and five star awards. The vineyard is also rated by leading NZ wine critic Michael Cooper as one of New Zealands 'notable vineyards', an endorsement granted only after many years of producing consistently excellent wines.

In addition to the Mere Road Vineyard, Mills Reef also draws grapes from four other vineyards in the Hawke's Bay area. Tasman Vineyard, also in the Gimblett Gravels, is a two-hectare plot planted with merlot for their Estate and Reserve labels. The Trust Vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels is planted with Syrah (80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%). The Sandy Road Vineyard is a coastal-influenced vineyard in the Meeanne district that is planted predominantly with Chardonnay. The Mangatahi  Vineyards are in the Ruahine foothills and their free-draining alluvial soils are planted to Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.

Mills Reef Today

Mills Reef sold their Tauranga winery and relocated in 2020 to Leveret Estate, about five kilometres south of Katikati, and the winery has been rebranded as Leveret & Mills Reef Winery. Mills Reef director Tim Preston said, "We explored many site options, but the opportunity to team up with Leveret and create a Bay Of Plenty 'wine destination hub' certainly stood out as the preferred option. We have a lot of loyal followers here in Tauranga, so it’s great to be able to stay in the Bay of Plenty. The move will also give us access to some new vineyards and we look forward to exploring those options."

Wine region map of New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand is home to more than 700 wineries across 14 wine regions. The regions are Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Central Otago, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Marlborough, Martinborough*, Nelson, Northland, Waikato, Waipara Valley, Wairarapa and Waitaki Valley. * Martinborough is a sub-region of Wairarapa, however, as it is world renowned it is considered here to be a region to avoid confusion.

The wine regions in New Zealand stretch from latitudes 36°S (Northland) in the north (comparable in latitude to Jerez, Spain), to 45°S (Central Otago) in the south (comparable in latitude to Bordeaux, France). New Zealand's climate is maritime, producing cooler summers and milder winters than would be expected at similar latitudes in Europe.

Viticulture in New Zealand dates back to 1836 when British resident James Busby produced wine in the far north, but it wasn't until 1985 that the wine industry came of age when Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc garnered international attention and critical acclaim.

New Zealand is internationally renowned for Sauvignon Blanc (particularly from Marlborough), Pinot Noir (Central Otago, Martinborough and Waipara Valley), Chardonnay, Bordeaux-style blends of mainly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon (Hawkes Bay) and Syrah (Hawkes Bay). Sauvignon Blanc accounts for 63% of the area of the national vineyard, followed by Pinot Noir (14%), Chardonnay (8%), Pinot Gris (7%) and Merlot (3%).