Mills Reef Elspeth Malbec 2004 (Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, NZ)
$NZ40, Cork, 14.0%
This was bought from the lovely cellar door at Tauranga, kiwifruit capital of NZ and home to excellent roadside fruit stalls. Just stay away from those ‘Kiwi berries’ – awful things.
Dark ruby red colour, this smells sweet, soft and rich, with cedary, quite roasted, peppery, meaty fruit, showing traces of both ripe and underripe characters, yet still framed quite invitingly. The palate is oak dominated, with just enough meaty Malbec varietal character to make it drinkable, then finishing with drying, cedary oak tannins. It’s not a bad wine, with it’s best years ahead, but finding the generosity and fruit in amongst that oak is a somewhat unwelcome challenge. 16.4+