Giving kudos to a wine that has just attracted one of the greatest kudos it has ever received may seem a little unnecessary, but this wine deserves it. It is the Black Barn Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2004 from Hawkes Bay and it has just won the supreme accolade of Champion Wine of the Show at the inaugural New Zealand International Wine Show, judged the from 30th August to 1st September. The trophies were announced last Friday.
I had a very privileged position at the show because as well as doing a little judging of my favourite aromatic varieties, I was also undertaking the task of writing the tasting notes for the New Zealand International Wine Show Champions List supplement. This was included with the Sunday Star Times on 18th September and in the Dominion Post on the 19th September and is now available in all the independent fine wine retailers throughout the country that are supporting the show.
So obviously, in order to complete the task, I had to taste all the top wines. The wines that were awarded gold medals and top silver medals were put aside and I diligently tasted terrific wine after terrific wine while silently congratulating all the judges in making the task so pleasurable.
Chardonnay was an amazing class. It was also a huge class with over 300 entries. And although there were wines entered from all around the world, only one Australian wine made it to the recalls and in the end all the 14 gold medals and the top silver medals went to New Zealand. The intensity of fruit from the super 2004 vintage shone through in many of the wines, in fact 10 of the gold medals were from 2004.
Bob Campbell MW, Chairman of Judges, commented to me afterwards about the class. "Many of the top wines reflected the quality that Chardonnay makers are constantly striving to achieve. They were harmonious wines with good texture, terrific length, integrated oak and yeast lees, and subtle power. Some extremely good wines came through with a couple of good Burgundian styles that can often get lost in the rush."
I loved the Gunn Estate Skeetfield Chardonnay 2004 from Hawkes Bay, reviewed here previously as Wine of the Week, and I also love the smooth, buttery, easy drinking style of the Northrow Marlborough Chardonnay 2004.
But the Black Barn Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2004 had that something extra that made it so delectable. Smelling of honeyed oak with a leesy, creamy overtone, the stylish Burgundian winemaking techniques are apparent from the outset while the concentrated fruit shines. Butterscotch, cedar, creamed nuts, ripe fig and stonefruits, with beautifully integrated oak and fruit and a long, dry, seamless finish with just a hint of caramel, makes this full-bodied wine very tasteful indeed.
I saw cases of this walking out the door of First Glass Wines and Spirits when I called in there, on Saturday after the awards. So those who want a share of this wine had better be quick. It costs from about $27 on super-special (e.g. Vino Fino in Christchurch) to about $32, depending where you buy.
Black Barn Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2004 is sealed with a cork and carries 14% alcohol by volume. Contact the winery - www.blackbarn.com for further information.
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Gold Medal Chardonnays from the New Zealand International Wine Show
Allan Scott Prestige Marlborough Chardonnay 2003
Black Barn Vineyards Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2004
Fossil Ridge Nelson Chardonnay 2003
Gunn Estate 'Skeetfield' Chardonnay 2004
Kathy Lynskey Wines Marlborough Godfrey Reserve Chardonnay 2004
Kemblefield Distinction Chardonnay 2004
Mission Jewelstone Chardonnay 2004
Montana Ormond Chardonnay 2004
Mud House White Swan Reserve Chardonnay 2004
Northrow Chardonnay 2004
Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2003
Selaks Founders Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Chardonnay 2004
West Brook Blue Ridge Chardonnay 2003
Check out all the results on www.wineshow.co.nz.
© Sue Courtney
18 September 2005