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Mills Reef Elspeth 2013 Reds - mind bending quality

14 April 2015|Cellar Journal

Mills Reef Elspeth 2013


Mills Reef have built their reputation for fine wine on consistent excellence and a host of International Trophies and Golds won over the years.

Yet in 2013, there's no doubt the quality has risen perceptibly, even above their much awarded 2010 vintage of Elspeths. Tasting the range recently, the quality is breath taking - as good as any range we've tasted - and our scores represent simply different degrees of 5-Star excellence across the board.

We've spoken about it many times before, but the culmination of environmental factors in the 2013 vintage was close to perfect - a once in 30-year event that left Hawke's Bay winemakers reaching for superlatives. One warm, bone dry day after another followed by cool nights to lock in the acidity - as long as winegrowers kept vines from shutting down from lack of water, they generally made their best wines ever.

Especially those with established, mature vineyards like Tim Preston from Mills Reef. The fruit comes primarily off their Mere Road Vineyard on the Gimblett Gravels, a vineyard Michael Cooper calls "one of NZ's notable vineyards", with the Trust Single Vineyard wines coming off the Trust vineyard on the corner of Mere and SH50. Adding to the appeal of these 2013 Trust Vineyard wines, this will be the final release under this label, since they have since sold the vineyard to Stonecroft.

The wines have yet to be seen by any of the major NZ critics, but mark our words - when they are…the reviews will be huge. The Cabernet won Trophy in its every first show and the two Syrahs are phenomenal too.

Mills Reef Elspeth Syrah 2013

Mills Reef Elspeth Syrah 2013

Supreme expression of Gimblett Gravels Syrah from a superb year

93/100 - Fine Wine Delivery Co.

Rated as a Michael Cooper Classic Wine of NZ, this 2013 might be the most classic one they've made yet! With 84% coming off their Mere Road vineyard and 16% off the Trust Vineyard, Mills Reef employed groundbreaking French Integrale barrel technology that keeps the entire vinification process including must inside a specially designed oak barrel, making for better oak integration in the finished wine.

SMELLS: A beautifully fresh, fragrant nose showing blackberry, toasty oak, violets and leather.

TASTES: Supple, silky and fine, the wine is concentrated and finely tannic with fresh acidity that carries a long, spicy finish. Enjoy with venison between now and 2023.

Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

The Trophy winner at Easter Show - supremely pure and expressive!

Gold and Trophy - Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2015
95/100 - Fine Wine Delivery Co.

2013 was a great year in Hawkes Bay, but especially for Cabernet, where the long even ripening period produced wines of perfect ripeness in the top sites. This is one of the finest we've tried and will provide a benchmark for all future tastings of this vintage. 80% French oak, 20% American (43% new wood)
SMELLS: A thrillingly pure nose showing cassi, leather, cinnamon, kirsch and rose florals.
TASTES: Intensely concentrated and mouthfilling, but with the signature freshness that characterises these 2013 releases from Mills Reef. This is very enjoyable now in its youth but will be an absolute bolter in the cellar. Enjoy now and through 2025.

Mills Reef Elspeth Merlot 2013

Mills Reef Elspeth Merlot 2013

Classical expression of Merlot with restrained French Oak - seriously classy!

94/100 - Fine Wine Delivery Co.

Grown on Mills' Reef's Mere Road vineyards on the Gimblett Gravels this wine spends 17 months in French Oak (28% new). A great wine from perhaps the greatest year they have yet experienced on the Gravels.
SMELLS: Intense Black Doris plum, tobacco, spice and florals.
TASTES: Opulent yet fresh, with wonderfully silky tannins, the cool nights that characterised the 2013 vintage in Hawkes Bay give the wine wonderful poise and focus. A classic that's built for the cellar, this should be at its best from 2018 to 2021.

Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet Merlot 2013

Mills Reef Elspeth Merlot Cabernet 2013

Classic Bordeaux blend from the Gimblett Gravels

94/100 - Fine Wine Delivery Co.

A blend of 79% Cabernet, 14.5% Merlot and 6.5% Cabernet Franc from the low-yielding vines on their Mere Road vineyard on the Gimblett Gravels. Using a blend of French and American oak, the wine is opulent and plush, but with structure and poise.
SMELLS: Leather, vanilla, violet florals, plum and cassis, with a hint of cured meat.
TASTES: Reminiscent of vanilla and blueberry pie as a young wine, this has all the concentration and line to age gracefully through to 2022. Plenty of cassis and structure from the Cabernet, florals from the Franc and rounded out with plush, silky Merlot fruit, the blend is harmonious and looks set for a long life in the cellar.

Mills Reef Elspeth Trust Vineyard Syrah 2013

Mills Reef Elspeth Trust Vineyard Syrah 2013

Without doubt, among the top 3 Hawkes Bay Syrahs we have tasted this vintage!

95/100 - Fine Wine Delivery Co.


Wow...if one were to show an overseas visitor what top Hawkes Bay Syrah looks like, you would go a long way to find a better example than the 2013 Trust. A hedonistic and gloriously pretty wine, with any number of beautiful fragrances and concentration to burn, it will be a 10-15 year wine without doubt.
SMELLS: Heady notes of violet, leather, cured meat, pepper, blackberry and dark chocolate.
TASTES: Densely concentrated yet light and fresh in the way that great Syrahs can be, the tannin profile is gossamer-like with length and poise to burn. A winning wine from a great vintage - definitely one for the cellar. Match with choice cuts of venison between now and 2025.

Mills Reef Elspeth Trust Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Mills Reef Elspeth Trust Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

The final vintage ever under this label - and it's also the best!

94/100 - Fine Wine Delivery Co.


From the Trust Vineyard on the corner of SH50 and Mere Road on the Gimblett Gravels, this wine is a landmark bottling of a landmark vintage. Utilising a portion fermented in Integrale barrels (containing the must inside) this is a supremely complex wine that will stand the test of time.
SMELLS: Dark, brooding fruits of the forest, with an array of spices and florals and blackberry.
TASTES: Firm, concentrated and structured but with lovely fine, powdery tannins, this wine has all the requisite attributes to drink beautifully from 2016 through 2025. Enjoy!