James Millton is a living legend in the New Zealand wine scene. A pioneer of organic and biodynamic winemaking, he has ploughed his own furrow for three decades, quietly convinced that his sustainable approach to viticulture and winemaking was the only way to progress.
The Opou vineyard, originally planted in 1969, has rich Waihirere silt loam soils that nurture the roots of the Chardonnay and Riesling planted within. A hedge of Navel oranges runs through the centre of the vineyard, ‘sharing of astrality’ it is said, and perhaps allows the Riesling to evoke aromas of citrus blossom and higher ethers.
Selectively pruned to balance vine age and vigour the fruit was harvested form mixed aged vines, clones 94, 49 and 198-19, harvested by hand, either whole bunch pressed or skin contacted depending on vine age and seed ripeness. No additions and fermented under pressure at 12°C. The wine is left sur lie for 6 months.
Semi-dry in taste, there is a unique calcified character, which is sometimes seen in classic Rieslings from the old world. The fine acidity helps harmonise the phenolics and fruit sweetness. Vine age going back to 1981 helps build the honeyed spice texture in the mouth and now with very recent plantings of newly imported selections this adds lifted citrus fruit aromas and textures.The colours of a tear drop, a mouth-watering tingle of with succulent fruit, acid and phenolic balance surprise the taste. Full of luminosity this wine will, in time, develop considerably more complexity and tertiary character.