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Wine of the Week for week ending 20 November 2011
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Morton Estate Black Label Chardonnay 2007
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

After tasting a number of stunning Villa Maria Chardonnays over the past few days, you may be wondering why I have picked Morton Estate Black Label Chardonnay 2007 as my Wine of the Week. It's rather simple actually. This wine is four years old and right now, in the glass, it's a beautiful drink. I said on my blog on November 5th that of all the Air New Zealand gold medal winning Chardonnays that I tasted, if I was choosing one to drink tonight or tomorrow night, the Morton Estate would be the one. So I acquired a bottle and put the theory to the test. It passed emphatically.

Morton Estate Black Label Chardonnay 2007 is a lustrous gold colour in the glass. Seamlessly textured, spicy, creamy, malty and savoury with a nougat-like sweetness and hints of grilled peach, it's mouthcoating with a lasting finish. At four years of age, it's quite scintillating.

Matched to a crumbed, apricot-stuffed, beautifully moist chicken breast chicken, it was the perfect accompaniment. Even better the following night with fish in a mushroom and sherry sauce.

Morton Estate Black Label is well known to Chardonnay lovers of middle age. The first release in 1984 garnered a following and subsequent releases of this barrel fermented, lees-aged style were eagerly sought after. It was one of Hawkes Bay's most revered Chardonnays for many many years, but then Morton Estate usurped it with its own icon, Coniglio, made only in exceptional years.

Made from 100% Mendoza clone, the 'hen and chickens' grape with its mix of different sized berries, the 2007 Black Label is sourced from the Riverview and Kinross vineyards on the banks of the Ngauroro River in Hawkes Bay. The wine is barrel fermented in French oak, 90% new, and stays on lees for 11 months. Bottling took place in July 2010. Alcohol is just 14.1% and the bottle has a screwcap. Price is around $33.95.

Check out for more.

© Sue Courtney
14 November 2011

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