Mills Reef Elspeth Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 $39.95

Named in honour and memory of Elspeth Preston, grandmother of Mills Reef’s winemaker/owner Tim Preston.  Only created in years when Tim and his team feel the fruit is superlative, when the fruit cannot be faulted, and when the positive chi flows through from the East (using a bit of creative license there).  Twenty-one-year old vines growing in their Mere Road vineyard are hand-harvested, gently crushed and then the juice was left to ‘cold-soak’ with the skins for 24hrs before 61% was allowed to ferment naturally and wild, while the rest went through a clean inoculation and the cap on both batches was plunged twice daily to maximise extraction of colour, texture and flavour.   Post ferment the wine was left on skins for another fortnight before being aged for 17 months in a combo of 90% French and 10% American oak barrels – 48% of which were brand, spanking new.  So how does it taste?  In a word.  Huge.  Showing exotic aromas and flavours of bay leaf, tobacco, blueberry, iodine and graphite, roasting pan juices, sandy, fine-grained tannins and caramelised, spicy, smoky oak.  Succulent, yet meaty, with black fruits and dark cocoa characters, it’s a superstar now and will be for decades to come.

www.millsreef.co.nz