edited by Sue Courtney
Wine Reviews - Chardonnay
Wine Reviews - Chardonnay
Although some of these tasting notes may be found elsewhere on this site, this page brings together most of my Chardonnay notes, listed alphabetically by Producer. Click here for rating systems and abbreviations.
                 [1999 and older] [index]
Brancott Letter Series O* Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 (sc) This oozes class from the outset. The bouquet is nutty and mealy with shortcake crust, brioche, gunsmoke and wild yeast scents and there is plenty of oomph and flavour in the palate that’s harmonious throughout. I get juicy ripe stonefruit, a touch of grapefruit zest, all those lovely nutty, mealy connotations, beautifully integrated creamy oak and a long, concentrated finish. Outrageously good and an excellent follow on from the Trophy winning 2015 edition which was also my Wine of the Year. 14% alc. $19.99. 22Mar2017.
Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) A rich, more linear, more flinty style of Chardonnay with a light lemon gold hue, a nutty aroma and warm, leesy, upfront citrussy flavours with stonefruit emerging. It’s quite dry with nutty savoury oak and lovely malty flavours on the long bright finish. Great buying to store in your cellar until the end of winter. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 21Jun2017.
Coopers Creek Select Vineyards Big & Bouncy Gisborne Chardonnay 2016 (sc) There’s a yellow butter glow to the hue. The bright bouquet exudes butter caramel, just sharpened HB pencils and toast, and it’s soft and smooth flowing in the palate that's oozing malt and caramel with touches of tropical fruit, canned pears and peach. Easy going and living up to its name. 13.5% alc. $16.99. 1Nov2017.
Coopers Creek Select Vineyards ‘Limeworks' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) The attractive bouquet of peach and hazelnut carries through to the smoky savoury palate. It's smooth, soft and creamy with harmonious malt and oatmeal and a long stylish finish with the peachy flavours lingering deliciously. Five star value.
Delegate Crownthorpe Terraces Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) This is still very youthful. The bouquet is brightly aromatic with a hint of quince underpinned by nut and subtle toasty oak and in the palate it has mouthfeel and palate weight with a steely undercurrent, yellow tropical fruit, a touch of pawpaw seed and a suggestion of brufax on the finish. Needs a little more time to fatten up. 13% alc. $16.99. 7Jun2017.
Domaine Rewa Central Otago Chardonnay 2016 (sc) Straw gold in hue with aromas of grilled peach following through to the crisp fresh palate with abundant zesty lemon and ‘weeny grapefruit’, nicely balanced savoury smoky French oak and touch of nougat on the long dry finish. Gold and Trophy Bragato Wine Awards 2017. 13.75% alc. $36.99. 13Sep2017.
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Bay View Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) Tempting hazelnut and vanilla leesy notes fill the bouquet of this bright golden coloured wine. It’s one of those flinty reductive styles with loads of intrigue and fascination and while it seems quite linear to start with lifted lemon biscuit acidity, it’s actually quite mouthfilling and complex with elegant stonefruit and a spicy inflection to the cedary oak on the finish. Lovely to try now but will excel with a little more maturity. 13.5% alc. $31.99. 17Jan2018.
Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 (sc) This is a light gold hue and it’s toasty on the nose and youthful in the citrussy palate with fresh oak to the fore, juicy peach and nectarine, apricot pie with crispy caramelised edges, hints of custard and a well balanced savouriness on the lingering finish. Just a little tight however this brand new release is not fully broken out of its cocoon just yet. One to watch with anticipation. 13% alc. $19.99. 3May2017.
Hunters Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 (sc) A fresh youthful style with a light gold colour and hints of pink bubble gum infusing the yellow fruit bouquet where peach comes foremost to mind. It’s creamy and smooth as it flows through the palate with touches of lemon biscuits and toasted hazelnut over a fresh, crisp fruity backbone and a hint of butterscotch to the lingering finish. Silver NZIWS. 13% alc. $17.99. 9Nov2017.
Kim Crawford Small Parcels Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) Gorgeous golden yellow with an inviting chardonnay aroma full of barrel ferment and mealy yeasty connotations. Savoury more than fruity to the taste though full of rounded, mouth-coating stonefruit sweetness and butter caramel corn coating the finish. Drinking beautifully. Gold NZIWS. 13% alc. $22.99. 18Oct2017.
Mills Reef Bespoke Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) It's golden in colour, the aroma is creamed nuts and there's a touch of butter toffee lusciousness to the full-bodied taste that is smooth flowing with savoury oak while lifted acidity keeps the finish fresh. As Andrew said it is unashamedly made in an ‘old school style’ to enhance the buttery notes and I can attest it is an excellent match to oven roasted salmon. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 6 Dec2017.
Mission Estate Barrique Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) This is a smooth, medium to full-bodied style with lemony, malo notes to the bouquet and upfront savouriness to the taste with just a touch of zest and ripe stonefruit fleshing out the very dry finish with a nice touch of butterscotch emerging to linger. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 11Apr2018.
Mission Jewelstone Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (c) Golden in the glass with hints of roasted pineapple / pineapple wood on the nose while tropical fruit abounds in the palate. It’s oaky, sappy, and very very dry with a flinty character to the dusty finish and underlying mealy notes adding richness. Closed with natural cork again Mission believes it will impart more complexity with ageing. 13.5% alc. $35.99. 25Apr2018.
Mount Riley Seventeen Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 (sc) A very inviting bouquet of butterscotch and caramel with wafts of freshly baked golden crunch biscuits. Smooth flowing across the creamy palate with bold flavours of stonefruit, caramel and toasty oak, underlying savoury malty notes and a long generous and powerful finish tinged with cedar and accents of citrus. Gold NZIWS. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 15Nov2017.
RM Wines Mister Chardonnay 2016 – Hawkes Bay (sc) The bouquet hints of tropical fruit with a lightly toasty polished oak flair. Served chilled it tastes young and flinty with fresh polish and edgy stonefruit but when it warms up it’s soft with apple, pear and fleshy peach tones and a much richer, creamy finish. Mister is the new name for Rod McDonald’s former ‘One Off’ label but this is still a master and needs to be swaddled for a little while longer. 13% alc. $17.99. 24May2017.
Selaks Founders Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) Light lemon gold in the glass with a leesy, grapefruit and nougat bouquet and a fresh juicy taste with zesty citrus tones, spicy oak, toast and gunflint. A clean modern style with grapefruit curd infusing fleshy peach. a rounded mouthfeel and seamless flow. Quite youthful but shows potential. Delicious. 13% alc. $19.99. 12Jul2017.
Selaks Founders Limited Edition Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) Light golden in colour with aromas of butterscotch oak, nougat and salted caramel and bright in the palate with a smooth butterscotch flow. It's chewy and satisfying with a malty mealy complexity, hints of citrus and peach and a long, mouthfilling, toasty oak finish. Gold Bragato Wine Awards 2017. 13% alc. $19.99. 6Sep2017.
Squawking Magpie Counting Crows Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) The bouquet is peach and caramel, the mouthfeel is smooth and seamless and the taste is ripe juicy stonefruit with malt and vanilla tones, underlying cedary oak, a light viscosity to the texture and citrus building up on the lingering savoury finish where there is something intriguing that makes me think of the clean, fresh, oily character of ‘brylcreem’. 14% alc. $24.99. 7Dec2016.
Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 (sc) It's a light golden hue with an enticing malt, stonefruit and gunsmoke scent and terrific concentration to the profoundly flavoursome palate with deliciously juicy peach, melon and tropical fruit and toasted hazelnut lingering on the polished finish. Of all the chardonnays tonight this is the most sociable, the most readily drinkable and the most hard to resist. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 7Feb2018.
Te Awa Single Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) The bouquet of this citrine-hued wine is reminiscent of lightly toasted hazelnuts and stonefruit with just a hint of pineapple, and it’s smooth, creamy and nutty in the palate with lifted lemony leesy flavours that sign off with malty savoury oak that’s underlined with a lingering and very pleasing bright pineapple /peach / mandarin flourish. 13% alc. $19.99. 7Feb2018.
Te Kairanga Martinborough Chardonnay 2016 (sc) This newly bottled lemon-hued wine is youthfully restrained on the nose with a hint of peach skin and subtle malo / butter / caramel notes while the flavours offer up stonefruit with a zesty undercurrent and a nutty richness to the warm, long, expansive finish that hints it will unfold nicely in the months to come. Alastair says it has drinkability with natural acidity and elegance and finesse. 13% alc. $19.99. 15Mar2017.
Tony Bish ‘Heartwood’ Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) A Burgundian influenced chardonnay that smells a little steely with touches of lime pith and dried hay, The first taste is quite restrained, flinty and lean with fruit initially reminiscent of apple and kiwano (horned melon) then it fleshes up nicely with a juicy finish where French oak (25% new) and stonefruit come more into play. “Pretty smart,” says Kingsley adding it will develop into something special with time. 13% alc. $31.99. 17May2017.
Tony Bish Wines Fat and Sassy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) There's a slightly oily / shea butter nuance to the scent and the taste lives up to the name with sassy savoury oak and fat almost buttery creamy flavours together with generous very ripe fruit and zest on the finish leaving a tingly aftertaste. Tony Bish calls this “old school style”. 13% alc. $19.99. 24May2017.
Vidal Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) The scent of juicy grilled peach and biscuity notes are tantalising and the wine is beautifully harmonious in its flow across the palate. It’s toasty and creamy with nutty barrel ferment complexities, juicy stonefruit and the brightness of zesty grapefruit on the finish. Almost perfect and five star value. 13% alc. $15.99. 27Apr2017.
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 (sc) This light gold hued wine has a gentle bouquet with wild yeast, barrel ferment, malo, melon and gunflint scents and the taste shows lovely creaminess and restraint with melon, white peach, hazelnut and fig and a long, dry, mealy finish. Subtle, seamless and absolute class. Gold Easter Show, Gold AirNZ. Trophy NZIW . 13.5% alc. $32.99. 14Mar2018.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2016 (sc) Glossy citrine gold in the glass with tantalising grilled peach and hazelnut scents and lightly toasty, savoury and nutty to the taste with warmth to the compounding mouthfilling finish that oozes malt and butterscotch with the lusciousness nicely offset by juicy grapefruit acidity. Noticeably dry and flinty as it lingers – a top wine that’s still evolving and will reward with further cellaring . 13.5% alc. $42.99. 14Feb2018.
Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2016 (sc) Glossy gold with a touch of gunflint to the stonefruit and melon scent, this full-bodied savoury wine has richness and underlying power and plenty of fresh stonefruit flavours accented with zest and a polished, spicy, nutty oak finish . 13.5% alc. $19.99. 7Mar2018.
Whitehaven Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 (sc)The colour is lustrous lemon gold, the tantalising bouquet conjures up toasty oak, gunsmoke, malt, nectarine and peach with some reductiveness noticeable and the taste is bold, toasty and mouthfilling with lashings of peaches and cream and a long rich savoury oak finish with lingering wheatmeal and woodsmoke. Gold Easter Show. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 14Mar2018.2015 Vintage [top] [index]
Alchemy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Light yellow oak with a bouquet that’s reminiscent of hazelnut oatmeal biscuits. The first sip seems mild and mellow then bold toasty oak bursts through. It’s bright with fresh acidity, a flinty undercurrent, fruit reminiscent of grilled peach and a very dry finish that’s offset with honey-coated oatmeal as the mouthfilling flavours linger. Silver NZIWS. 13.5% alc. $25.99. 3May2017.
Babich Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) The bouquet of this light hued wine has vibrant aromas of pineapple and pear, hints of banana and touches of oatmeal. It’s a juicy, fruit forward, medium-bodied style with fresh acidity, loads of tropical fruit, brightness to the zesty finish and an increasing mealy richness that adds a welcome savouriness as the wine lingers. An unoaked wine with an unbelievable result of Cuisine 5 stars & No. 1. 13.5% alc. $14.99. 17Aug2016.
Beach House Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) The initial sense of orange blossom / orange sherbet on the nose is joined by a whisper of sweet nutty oak and it’s youthful and bright in the palate with a creamy butterscotch flow, touches of stonefruit and a roundness to the finish with there’s a lovely zing of citrus and more and more butter caramel emerging as the flavours linger. . But very attractive and appealing at this stage. 13% alc. $18.99. 22Mar2017.
Brancott Letter Series 'O' Marlborough Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Hokey pokey aromas fill the bold rich bouquet of this golden-hued wine and it is full of flavour in the opulent palate with juicy Golden Queen peaches, spicy cedary oak and a smooth seamless butterscotch finish with fabulous length. Oodles of toasty chardonnay satisfaction. 14% alc. $19.99. 7Sep2016.
Church Road Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) This is a star in the making. The colour is noticeably golden, the enticing bouquet offers up grilled stonefruit, pink bubblegum, wild yeast nuances and woodsmoke. And the taste is almost luscious in its concentration with winemaking influenced malo and wild yeast characters supported by vanilla cream, fleshy stonefruit and zesty vibes with hints of Manuka woodsmoke playing a harmonious supporting role. 14% alc. $32.99. 22Feb2017.
Church Road Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Glossy gold with toasty oak on the bouquet following through to the palate that's full of peach with hints of tropical fruit and spicy savoury undertones. Medium-bodied, mouthfilling and creamy with a citrus burst to the juicy finish. 13.5% alc. $14.99. 22Jun2016.
Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Medium gold with a glossy lustre. A little reductive on the nose with grapefruit and smoky French oak. Full bodied, malty and creamy in that mouth with a flinty backbone, a savoury complexity and touches of caramel balanced by grapefruit and mandarin with spiced peach fleshing out the finish and lots of juicy yellow fruits in the mix. 14.5% alc. $19.99. 1Jun2016.
Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Light citrine gold with a lustrous hue. The bouquet is full, rich, nutty and spicy with sweet polished oak and grilled stonefruit, and the flavours are crammed with creamy oak, loads of peach, a mealy lemon biscuit richness and a toasty finish with butterscotch and crème brulee emerging as decadently long, mouthcoating, flavours linger. 14% alc. $32.99. 5Oct2016.
Coopers Creek The Limeworks Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) This has a lovely creamy nutty mealy bouquet with nuances of gunflint and peach and while it initially seems a restrained Burgundian-influenced style, the flavours compound with gusto. There’s oatmeal, savoury oak and spice vibes with harmonious touches of citrus and peach. Evolving beautifully in the bottle, it's a serious style, more dinner party than 5 o'clock drinks. 13.5% alc. $22.99. 23Nov2016.
Coopers Creek Swamp Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) A bold, golden chardonnay with a proud toasty oak and grapefruit bouquet and the grapefruit vibrant and upfront in the palate before stepping into the momentarily flinty background to let the peach and apricot fruit sing with spicy savoury oak a great foil to the juicy fruit sweetness and hints of butter caramel emerging on the powerful finish. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 26Oct2016.
Crossroads Winemakers Collection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Golden in colour with a fabulous toasty oak bouquet infused with spiced nuts and the scent of freshly baked hokey pokey biscuits. It’s rich and juicy to the taste with classy oak, sweet nutty nuances, juicy peach, an underlying mealy savouriness and fresh acidity extending the long dry finish. One for the long haul. Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. $26.99. 18Oct2017.
Delegat Crownthorpe Terraces Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Rich lemon gold. The bouquet is a little shy but the taste is full of flavour. It’s malty and savoury with honeyed oak, grilled peach and a harmonious creamy flow. Acidity is nicely integrated and the wine can be well chilled. Ready to go now. Gold NZIWS. 13.5% alc. $16.99. 5Apr2017.
Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2015 (sc) This light lemon-gold hued chardonnay is a full-on leesy, flinty, reductive style with nuances of gunsmoke, lemon, fig and cedar filling the bouquet and upfront youthful acidity in the palate with full, fat, leesy, gunflint, funky wild yeast notes taking over. Mouthfilling and increasingly complex with fruit in the lemon/melon spectrum and masterful use of oak. Still evolving so one for the cellar right now. 13.5% alc. $32.99. 4Apr2018.
Emperical Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Light yellow gold in the glass with a full on tantalising leesy bouquet filled with toasty, biscuity, nutty, lemony, mealy notes and powerful in the seamless palate yet not overpowering. It’s decadently toasty with peaches and cream, flint and gunsmoke notes and a beautifully balanced dry savoury oak finish that's long and persistent with a touch of cedary salinity. Clone 15 grapes from the Corner 50 area adjacent to the famed Keltern Vineyard . 13.5% alc. $49.99. 28Feb2018.
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Creamy oak infused with grapefruit fills the bouquet of the light gold-hued wine and there's plenty of toasty oak upfront in the palate. A wild yeast barrel fermented style with grapefruit, stonefruit, flinty reductive characters and a dry finish. It shimmers with class and while there are glimpses of generosity it is overall still very tight but should be wonderful for Christmas. 14% alc. $27.99. 22Jun2016.
Gibbston Valley China Terrace Central Otago Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Light gold, clear and bright. The bouquet is concentrated and full with hints of grapefruit, just out of the oven vanilla biscuits, a waft of nutmeg and a sweet yeasty aura. The taste is concentrated and creamy with youthful acidity, an amalgam of citrus accented with apple and hints of ginger, an earthy flinty undercurrent and wild yeast esters. It has a profound depth of flavour, beautifully honed integrated oak and a juicy succulence to the zesty finish that is long and persistent. Cuisine 5 stars. 14.5% alc. $34.99. 17Aug2016.
Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2015 (sc) This multi award winner is peachy on the nose with harmonious and nicely seasoned spicy French oak following through to the tasty, warm, mouthfilling palate. A creamy textured wine with touches of grapefruit, an array of ripe stonefruit, roasted nuts and a long savoury and persistent finish that tapers off gently. 13% alc. $19.99. 23Aug2017.
Greystone Waipara North Canterbury Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Shy on the nose with delicate nutty oak and quite tight, linear and flinty on first tasting with stonefruit sweetness welling up from within building to an expressive mouthfilling finish with flavours of lemonade and malt biscuits lingering. Still a baby, will develop more complexity with cellaring. 14.2% alc. $31.99. 16Nov2016.
Grove Mill Marlborough Chardonnay 2015 A tantalising vanilla biscuit bouquet leads the way into the full-bodied palate. It's savoury and just a little spicy with an underlying mealy richness, juicy flavours of fig and nectarine and zesty citrus accents. Compared to the Bogle this is much drier and tangier with nutty oak lingering on the long, mouth coating finish. Gold NZIWS. 14% alc. $17.99. 22Nov2017.
Kahurangi Mt Arthur Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Light yellow gold with a reasonably powerful, buttery oak bouquet and a full-bodied, generous, smooth flowing presence with vibrant tropical fruit, melon and stonefruit over a backbone of butter and spicy oak with citrus and pineapple on the bold lingering finish. Fruit from the Moutere region with 11 months in French and American oak. 14% alc. $22.99.25May2016.
Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay 2015 — Kumeu, Auckland (sc) Quite golden in colour. The bouquet is like a freshly formed clay bowl of just cut citrus and the upfront taste is zingy with a sherbet-like spritzig feel from zesty flavours of luscious juicy limes. The wine softens mid palate to reveal malty mealy nuances, touches of lemon barley, elegant use of oak , a lightly phenolic slatey texture and the finish is long, crisp and dry. 13.5% alc. $44.99. 13Sep2017.
Kumeu River Mate's Chardonnay 2015 — Kumeu, Auckland (sc) Also golden in colour but in comparison to the Coddington the bouquet is shy with delicate tropical fruit and nutty French oak nuances not hinting of the fullness to come. A wine of body and richness with flavours of grilled lemon, mango and papaya, hazelnuts, mealy malo characters and a touch of wild yeast funk and a very very long dry zesty finish where the flavours linger magnificently. 13.5% alc. $64.99. 13Sep2017.
Leveret Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 There's a fresh vanilla custard creaminess to the bouquet and it’s smooth and rounded in the palate. A fruit driven style with a spicy zesty vibe, well balanced savouriness, beautifully integrated oak and accents of pineapple and apricot tart on the lingering finish. Very tasty and hard to resist at this price. Gold AirNZ 2016. 13.5% alc. $15.99. 6 Dec2017.
Milcrest Nelson Chardonnay 2015 (sc) The bouquet of this chardonnay oozes class - it’s nutty and creamy with hints of sizzled butter and peach and the taste is rich, textural and mouthfilling with spicy oak, hazelnuts, juicy tropical fruit, stonefruit and an expansive finish where the smokiness of the oak emerges elegantly. 14% alc. $26.99. 11Jan2017.
Milcrest Estate Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2015 This has a rich creamy bouquet and is full and fat in the palate with spicy oak and zesty citrus beautifully balanced by juicy peach at first then butterscotch and buttery savoury notes joining in on the complex mouthfilling finish. Full-bodied and engaging and drinking beautifully now. 14% alc. $26.99. 22Nov2017.
Mills Reef Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Lemon yellow glints infuse the light gold hue. The bouquet radiates yellow stonefruit with a light malo influence that sits in nicely. Quite zesty on first tasting, the acidity is moderate not high. Brimming with flavours of stone fruit, melon and tropical fruit — like a peach/pineapple/mango fruit salad — just the slightest suggestion of pineapple as a highlight. A bright fresh fruity style with little influence of oak and a long juicy finish. I like this as it is a terrific mainstream socialising style — not too heavy, not too light – and the stonefruit flavours are juicy and delicious on the finish. 12.5% alc. $20. 16Jun2016.
Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) This is a light fresh lemon Chantilly cream Chardonnay with lightly buttery savoury oak and a hint of peach and a touch of spice as the aftertaste lingers.. It's a light citrine hue with a bouquet of delicate smoky oak and lemon biscuits and the taste offers up plenty of satisfaction. I can see this developing into something quite rich and caramelly with a little more time. Ripe now it's a lovely lunchtime, aperitif or entrée / seafood main course style. 13.5% alc. $24.95. 15Mar2016.
Mt Riley 17 Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2015 (sc) A rich chardonnay heading towards golden in colour, it has butterscotch and subtle smoky nuances to the mellow bouquet and it’s smooth and seamless in its flow with ripe golden peach flavours, soft acidity and hints of butterscotch again on the finish. Superb drinking already. I really liked this. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 22Feb2017.
Neudorf Rosie's Block Nelson Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Light lemon gold with subtle smoky nuances to the nutty, oatmeal bouquet that also hints of stonefruit. Bright and fresh with a light dance of lemonades across the palate becoming more savoury and nutty with a funky wild yeast leesy character evolving and a very dry finish. Needs more time but would be great with a creamy sauce to cut through the still taut acidity. FYI, not a ‘Kingsley style’. 13.5% alc. $33.99. 5Apr2017.
Rod Mc Donald Wines One Off Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) This has a bold rich bouquet full of grapefruit and opulent barrel ferment notes that are just so enticing and the taste delivers on the aromatic promise. A rich chewy style with malty leesy mealy characters to the fore, juicy tropical fruit including pepino, a tingle of zest and an attractive smoky finish. Drinking beautifully already. 14% alc. $23.99. 23Mar2016.
Rod McDonald Wines One Off Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) The bouquet offers up an abundance of fruit with grapefruit and peach but in the palate it is initially a more savoury style. It’s very malty, leesy and lemony with smoky bacon nuances – think peach wrapped in bacon and grilled – and a long, bright, zesty, spicy finish with the fruit sweetness emerging and lingering. From 9-year-old Clone 15 vines from an inland site with 100% Hungarian oak fermentation. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 9Nov2016.
Rod McDonald Wines Quarter Acre Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) The bouquet unlocks a memory of original blue-green Radox mineral bath salts as well as more typical savoury, toasty, mealy nuances while deep inhaling reveal hints of sandalwood and hand cream. Focused and restrained in a Burgundian style – it’s savoury, flinty, earthy and malty with spicy oak and a seamless flow, not overtly fruity – perhaps pear and a hint of pepino, and while it doesn’t seem big at first it builds in concentration and packs a punch on the finish with lingering notes of lemon and lime. Fascinating wine. Cuisine No 8. 13.5% alc. $28.99. 17Aug2016.
Rod McDonald Wines Te Awanga Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Creamy bouquet with appealing peachy nuances and a hint of smoky oak. Powerful on first tasting with nutty, malty flavours and a slightly bitey zing underpinning the noticeably toasty / varnishy oak then when the wave of acidity subsides the finish is firm and long with concentrated stonefruit and vanilla. From a coastal site within 300 metres of the ocean. 13.5% alc. $18.99. 9Nov2016.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 Marlborough Chardonnay 2015 (sc) This seems to be a change of direction for this label. At first it seems very dry and restrained with cheesy malo notes that make me think France - a cooler climate style with flavours of lemon pie then toasty oak pushes through with a touch of peach and vanilla and the finish is juicy and long. 12.5% alc. $29.99. 27Apr2017.
Sacred Hill Hawkes Bay Orange Label Chardonnay 2015 (sc) The bouquet of this light golden with is fresh and very lightly oaked with delicate fruit salad and melon with a hint of butter. The taste is fresh and fruity with light oak and a touch of creaminess and a delicate savouriness bringing it all into balance, finishing with a soft, citrussy zing. Actually it’s not too bad for someone who likes a lighter style / juicy, fruity / simple type of wine. Polished with butterscotch nuances when tasting with camembert cheese..13.5% alc. $19.99. 11Dec2015.
Sacred Hill Hawkes Bay Riflemans Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Lime tinted gold with fullness to the bouquet that's redolent of sizzled butter, golden peach and toasted cedar then bold in the palate with grilled stonefruit, roasted nuts, biscuity oak, spice and caramel cream. An absolutely super chardonnay that’s powerful in its presence and seamless in its flow with a wonderfully long finish. Produced only in exceptional vintages. this is the 3rd in a row. Classic wine from a great vintage. 13.5% alc. $62.99. 15Feb2017.
Sileni The Lodge Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Glossy light gold with a bouquet that offers nuances of smoky oak, pink bubblegum and grilled stonefruits. Lightly toasted oak is upfront in the palate and while initially quite zesty, concentrated fleshy white peach and nectarine flavours build up and the finish is creamy and savoury with the slightest hint of butterscotch – it will develop more of this extremely desirable character with bottle age. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 18Jan2017.
Squawking Magpie Counting Crows Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Glossy gold. Toasty on the nose with fruit aromas reminiscent of grilled peach with a hint of pineapple. Even more toasty in the palate, starting to pick up a mellow note. A big, bold , oaky wine with roasted nuts, grilled peach, and a touch of creaminess emerging on the finish. 14% alc. $28.99. 29Mar2017.
Squawking Magpie The Gravels Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Quite a rich gold in the glass. Passionfruit curd initially fills the bouquet and tropical fruit dominates the flavours with buttery (diacetyl) esters and 'banana bike' lollies for those who can remember them — this banana confectionary attribute then so obvious on the bouquet while a touch of mandarin peel hones in the ripe tropical fruit finish. A very ripe fruit driven style with oak hibernating in the background. 14% alc. $24.99. 13Jul2016.
Stoneleigh Wild Valley Wild Ferment Marlborough Chardonnay 2015 (sc) A glossy gold hue with a lightly smoky, lightly peachy, light caramelly bouquet that's just so delectable and appealing - and all this comes through in the palate with a caramel-coated toast oak character and soft smooth flow. Loving this with salad, especially the salty cucumber - this salt and the wine go beautifully together. Fantastic aperitif style. 13.5% alc. $18.99. 22Mar2016.
Te Awa Single Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) A modern ‘reductive’ style with a glossy light citrine hue; a mealy, grapefruit, wild yeast nuanced, nutty oak scent and a touch of 'struck match' infusing the juicy nectarine and white peach fruit flavours with delectable smoky oak and a long creamy finish with a trill of citrus. Loved this. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 8Mar2017.
Te Kairanga John Martin Martinborough Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Light gold in colour with a fragrant toasty nutty note to the more dominant stonefruit bouquet and silky in the palate with a fine textured flow. There’s lovely acidity to the wine that hints it is still evolving and will reward more with time yet with it with its creamy mouth-coating finish infused with peach and dried apricot it’s satisfying to swirl, sip and savour now. Winemaker John Kavanagh (ex Neudorf) has made a head turning wine. 14% alc. $30.99. 24Jan2018.
The Landing Bay of Islands Northland Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Bright golden in hue with inviting aromas of creamy nutty oak with accents of tropical fruit then in the palate ripe stonefruit flavours with hints of pineapple woven with butter caramel over a savoury, mealy nutty oak backbone while youthful fresh acidity provides balance and mouthfilling length. 13.5% alc. 38.99. 10Aug2016.
Theory & Practice Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Light gold in hue with fruit salad and crème brulee on the nose then rich, bold and toasty in the palate with roasted nuts, melon and stonefruit brightened by zesty citrus acidity that's softened by the long creamy finish with just a hint of caramel. Fruit is from the Cape Kidnappers area this year. 14% alc. $19.99. 22Jun2016.
Ti Point Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) This is surprisingly golden for such a young wine. It's smells fresh and peachy and the taste is smooth, soft and creamy - slipping down easily with hints of grilled peach, touches of mandarin zest and polished oak making a solid impression at the end. A medium-bodied style with fresh and brightness and well-balanced savoury toastiness. 13.5% alc. $22.99. 11Apr2016.
Tohu Gisborne Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Light lemon gold with an inviting bouquet with hints of caramel, tropical fruit and melon - classically Gisborne - I haven't had one like this for a long time. Surprisingly spritzy on first tasting - like fizzy fruit sherbet lollies with the creaminess form the malo enhancing everything and giving a seamless flow. A lovely bright summery Chardonnay with sweet citrus / mandarin and a touch of honey sweetness to be enjoyed chilled in the sun. 13.5% alc. $21.95. 14Jan2016.
Vavasour Anna’s Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Peach, cedar and malo notes fill the bouquet and it's full of peach, tropical fruit and vanilla in the mouthfilling palate that has a bright zesty citrus zing and a rich mealy undercurrent that extends into the long, smooth, seamless finish. Long, full and delicious. A wine for lovers of big, rich Chardonnays. 14% alc. $39.99. 19Oct2016.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Light gold in hue with a delicate toasty nuance to the bouquet together with a touch of stonefruit, and beautifully rounded and creamy in the medium to full-boded palate with the toast and stonefruit more pronounced and a touch of spice and zest on the finish that lingers deliciously. Young but exceptionally tasty, just perfect as the welcome wine. 13.5% alc. $14.99. 6Apr2016.
Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Gisborne Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Tropical fruit fills the bouquet with complex, nutty, savoury, mealy notes and hints of grilled nectarine adding to the allure, and the taste is full-bodied and toasty with hazelnut, cedar and nutmeg notes, a complex mealiness, a beautiful almost butterscotch overtone and a sweet smokiness wafting through the honeyed oak finish that has bright, spicy accents. Wonderfully persistent, mouthfilling and long. Cuisine 5 stars. 14% alc. $26.99. 17Aug2016.
Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Quite reductive and a little pongy when first sniffed immediately after pouring but this subsides to reveal stonefruit and mealy notes with touches of cedar. The taste is full-bodied, powerful, savoury, spicy and a little earthy at this stage of its life with vibrant citrus-infused tingles on the front of the tongue, a flinty slightly lean mid palate then quite savoury and soft on the back palate finishing with concentrated honeyed oak and grilled stonefruit with a nutty complexity and mouthfilling length. Cuisine 5 stars. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 17Aug2016.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Upfront reductive struck match characters on the bouquet then very attractive mealy, savoury, cedary scents that echo in the palate where the initial impression is all juicy ripe stonefruit, yet the wine is flinty and dry with grapefruit coming through in a meticulous balancing role. There are also hints of mineral bath salts with the mealy yeasty flavours more pronounced on the long, concentrated, mouthfilling finish. Cuisine 5 stars. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 17Aug2016.
Wairau River Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Ah, the sweet smell of Chardonnay – like freshly baked buns, like pineapple cake, like Chelsea buns with pineapple citrus icing together with savoury mealy nuances and a sweet smoky allure. In the mouth it’s initially zesty with a youthful vibrancy becoming full-bodied and creamy with a mouthfilling yeasty savoury complexity and a masterfully long finish where a fantastic combo of juicy tropical fruit and peach lingers tantalisingly. This was just fabulous with the food I cooked the night I opened it – a hot pot of chicken, bacon, potato and leek. 13.5% alc. $30. 10Jun2016.
West Brook Barrique Fermented Marlborough Chardonnay 2015 (sc) Sunshine gold with toasted coconut oak both on the nose and in the palate together with tropical fruit, peaches and pineapple. It’s deliciously toasty and creamy yet with a fresh, breezy aura as it spills across the palate with a touch of savouriness on the finish to keep the bright fruit in check. 13.8% alc. $19.99. 8Feb2017.
Wrights Vineyard Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2015 (sc) There's a lime green glint to the light golden hue. The bouquet is full of sweet spices, mealy nuances and gunflint connotations and it's powerful and heady with a lightly viscous texture, sweet vanillin oak and tasty tropical fruit, mango, candied pineapple and grapefruit. Organically grown Mendoza clone chardonnay from the Ormond region (old Revington vineyard). Cuisine 5 stars . 15% alc. $32.99. 14Feb2018.2014 Vintage [top] [index]
Alchemy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Abundant grapefruit, flint, gunsmoke and wild yeast barrel ferment complexities radiate from the glass to tantalise the nose and the flinty/gun smoke characters are also quite prominent in the palate. It’s a reductively made wine with struck match / sulphide characters – attributes that polarise winemakers and winelovers but if you like them you will find this wine very complex and layered. Served lightly chilled for the tasting I find flavours of nougat, preserved lemon and grilled pineapple with a touch of salinity to the long, full, finish that has a harmonious infusion of cedar. Loved it. 14% alc. $25.99. 20Jan2016.
Aronui Single Vineyard Nelson Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light golden hue with all the complex mealy barrel ferment aromas and bold spicy flavours with a nutty / mealy complexity and mouthfilling touches of grilled peach and homey dew melon wrapped in grilled proscuitto, then a well balanced citrussy zing as the mealy flavours linger. There's an underlying malty / leesy / savouriness too. Best served with food. 14% alc. $24.95. 14Jan2016.
Black Barn Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Lemon gold in hue with enchanting peaches and cream nuances to the delicate vanilla and toasted oak bouquet. Full-bodied, toasty, spicy and cedary in the mouth with opulent peach and melon fruit, accents of grapefruit peel and a lovely nutty, savoury undercurrent to the long, creamy finish where lemon bread / malo influences emerge and linger. The wine is a class act and while delicious already it could become sensational with a little more time. 13.5% alc. $43.99. 7Oct2015.
Brancott Box Letter Series O Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light yellow gold. Sweet toasty oak on the nose - like a hot buttered slice of toasted baguette yet the bouquet also exudes a mealy creaminess with a very appealing nuance of peach. Lifted in the palate with citrussy flavours honed in by the complex mealy flavours. Smooth, long and creamy with a zing of orange on the spicy oak finish. A classy, elegant style and a lovely accompaniment to baked salmon and fennel. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 8Jan2016.
Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) The lemony oak of the savoury bouquet is so delicate and restrained it seems that it is hardly there. Very tight, almost sending a shiver down the spine on first tasting, but you realise this is just upfront youthful awkwardness because it blossoms into a fleshy delight as it traverses the palate. All apples, mandarin and honeyed nuts with the smooth roundness of caramel on the finish, becoming full and creamy as the flavours linger. It just needs a couple more months for the initial bite to settle down. 13.3% alc. $19.99. 26Aug2015.
Church Road Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) This brand new release offers up an exciting bouquet of flint, gunsmoke, grilled grapefruit segments and zest. And the taste delivers satisfaction in spades. It's full-bodied, rounded and creamy with a mellow savoury aura, nutty oak, nougat, grapefruit and melon flavours, a lingering stonefruit impression and a soft silky flow. A classy, elegant glassful with a medium gold glossy hue, it's been wild yeast fermented in French oak barriques and reminds me of the acclaimed Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006. Outstanding. 14.5% alc. $31.99. 27Jan2016.
Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light gold with a smoky, grilled peach and polished oak bouquet infused with grapefruit and mealy notes and powerful, toasty, spicy oak and honeyed roasted nut flavours with juicy peach and melon. Full, rounded, juicy, fleshy, succulent and savoury with a mouthfilling seamless finish - lightly chilled this is irresistibly delicious. 14% alc. $19.99. 16Sep2015.
Church Road TOM Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) The savoury oak bouquet has a wonderful leesy, mealy, malty sizzled butter allure with a haunting floral note wafting through and the taste is concentrated and powerful with a deep, sweet oak frame. It’s full of toasted brioche, fig, creamed nuts, delicate peach and the merest touch of mandarin with an incredibly malty finish, a lingering spicy zesty vibe and again an evocative floral note. Still such a baby but the potential is clearly there. 14% alc. $149. 21Jun2017.
Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Radiant lime-tinged gold. Hedonistic vanilla biscuit nuances to the bouquet – subtle yet sensual. Fresh in the palate with hints of pineapple and citrus zest and then a touch of struck match that adds to the pleasure rather than detracts. Rich, toasty, creamy, mouthfilling, savoury and mealy with spicy French oak and malo influences – the citrus cuts through the weighty components beautifully. Gold Royal Easter Show. 14% alc. $32.99. 9Mar2016.
Coopers Creek SV 'The Limeworks' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Golden in colour with toasty aromas and flavours, this is a full, rich, creamy wine with juicy grilled freshly picked Golden Queen peaches, a soft buttery mouthfeel, a fresh acid spine and lashings of spicy oak and salted caramel. Super approachable already, more so than many of the 2013s, and it can take considerable chilling. 13.5% alc. $17.99. 14Jan2015.
Delegat Crownthorpe Terraces Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light gold. Toasty oak, shea butter and grilled peaches fill the bouquet and the taste is bold, buttery, nutty, toasty, spicy and oaky with a powerful zesty vibrancy and juicy stonefruit and tropical fruit fleshing out the long tasty finish Gold NZIWS. 13.5% alc. $16.99. 13Apr2016.
Elephant Hill Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Moderate gold in hue. Nutty marzipan-like notes and hints of dried peach fill the bouquet. The taste is a little reductive and flinty to start but fills out as it flows with white melon and a slightly buttery nuance to the expansive finish that hints of the wine’s power. ‘Elegant’ is what many people around me said. I think this wild yeast fermented style without malo and 11 months in oak is a little closed at the moment and will benefit from decanting and only the lightest of chilling. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 13Jul2016.
Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) The toasty oatmeal and vanilla-poached peach on the nose is inviting in this bright fresh wine that initially seems like it has a forest of spicy oak and fruit in the apricot spectrum. It rounds out quite nicely as the flavours linger, the oak integrating nicely and the flavours lingering with a soft, easy feel. Fabulously priced and it can take plenty of chilling. 13.5% alc. $15.99. 18Nov2015.
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Glossy lemon gold with a beautifully inviting bouquet of toasted brioche together with whispers of butterscotch and a smoky, funky, struck match fascination. In the mouth it’s luxurious, silky and textural with creamy mealy leesy characters, sweet smoky oak, melon and tropical fruit, and funky sulphides that add an exciting intrigue and complexity. The finish is mouthfilling and long with toasty oak coming to the fore as the flavours linger. Simply superlicious. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 11Nov2015.
Fat and Sassy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Lemon biscuits on the nose and hints of vanilla in the palate with creamy spicy oak, a focussed seam of citrus, toasty mealy notes and a burst of fleshy peach on the finish. A little more restrained than you would expect from the name of the wine, but lots to like nevertheless. Made by Tony Bish, chief winemaker at Sacred Hill, but this is his own label. 14% alc. $19.99. 23Mar2016.
Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light gold in hue with a gorgeous caramel cream, spice and biscuity oak aroma and a crème brulee and yummy fleshy peach lusciousness beautifully balanced by underlying citrussy notes and the long, toasty, savoury finish. Chilled for about 30 to 45 minutes before tasting, this deliciously juicy and super seamless wine hit the spot immediately. 13% alc. $19.99 . 6Jan2016.
Giesen Single Vineyard The Fuder Clayvin Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) This is a big, gold, bold smelling wine with caramel-coated yeasty funk filling the bouquet and while it seems acid driven in the palate with is abundant grapefruit and citrus flavours the deep, rich sweetly smoked meaty savoury undercurrent makes it mouthfilling and complex. Hints of stonefruit emerge and while there is a flinty, earthy, dry gravelly note to the lingering finish the overall impression is creamy and long. Cuisine 5 stars. 13.5% alc. $49.99. 17Aug2016.
Giesen Vineyard Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light gold. Delicate nuances of sizzled butter and lemon biscuit on the bouquet. A little smoky in the fine-textured palate with nutty savoury oak, a touch of spice, a zing of citrus, hints of white peach and a dry finish. Not too powerful and great scene setter for the evening’s tasting. 12.5% alc. $14.99. 2Mar2016.
Goldie Estate Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Lemon gold hued with a steely nuance to the nutty, mealy, grapefruit-infused bouquet that suggests it has had all the winemaking bells and whistles. Initially very dry but quickly becoming juicy and fleshy with nectarine and peach, a vanilla biscuit undercurrent and finesse to long rich finish that fattens up beautifully with spiced stonefruit lingering. A class act. 14% alc. $36.99. 8Feb2017.
Greywacke Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) This bouquet of this light gold wine is smoky and savoury with biscuity notes and cedar. It is bright and zesty in the palate with underlying flinty reductive notes, some wild yeast influences and touches of caramelised peach crumble with honeyed oak more prominent on the mouthfilling and magnificently long finish where lovely creamy mealy notes linger. 14.5% alc. $36.99. 12Jul2017.
Gunn Estate Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Lustrous citrine hue. Lovely fragrance of nectarine and peach with a hint of mandarin and a nutty, creamy richness. Mealy in the palate - mealy and creamy with quite a bit of malo influence in there it seems. There's a citrus brightness to the savoury biscuity undercurrent and spike of pineapple on the fresh, lively finish. 13.5% alc. $0.00. 9May2015.
Kim Crawford Small Parcels 'Wild Grace' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) The creamy, mealy bouquet of this wine is simply gorgeous and it has a lovely, rich, full-bodied palate full of beautifully honed toasty oak, melon and fleshy tropical fruit cream with the smoky/woodsmoke nuances in the wine quite mesmerising. Utterly seamless as it traverses the palate and the lingering deliciousness has suggestions of grilled peach and hokey pokey. Top pick and hard to resist. 13.5% alc. $23.99. 18Nov2015.
Kumeu River Hand Harvested Village Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light lemon gold. Creamed nut aromatics and soft lemon notes fill the bouquet. A crisp flinty style with a lemon bread richness and a lime zest brightness with whispers of nutty oak, a fragrant mushroom-like wild yeast intrigue and a fresh full finish. Terrific with seafood especially garlic and lemon prawns, and scallops wrapped in bacon at lunchtime. 13.5% alc. $16.99. 20Aug2015.
Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) There's a nougat-like creaminess to the fruity bouquet and the upfront taste is all juicy apples and pears with the most intriguing passionfruit tropicality then a savouriness comes to the fore on the zesty finish with a subtle suggestion of caramel cream. A very light, bright, fresh, conversation starter with not a skerrick of oak 13.5% alc. $19.99. 26Aug2015.
Lawson’s Dry Hills Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Delicately malty and leesy on the nose then later honeyed oak, hints of vanilla, almond meal and nougat. Nutty and savoury in the palate, seemingly a little tight and reductive at first but as the chill from its time in the refrigerator subsides this opens up to reveal tropical fruit, spicy oak, a citrussy zing and a creamy finish. 14% alc. $23.99. 23Mar2016.
Leveret Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Golden in hue with toasty oak and grilled peach filling the bouquet and loads of toasty citrus flavours that provide a very firm acid spine. Medium to full-bodied with a mealy richness building up and a long creamy finish emerging after a while. 13.5% alc. $15.99. 2Nov2016.
Lochiel Estate Mangawhai Chardonnay 2014 (sc) The bouquet is initially quite restrained with delicate hints of pear and tropical fruit but soon there’s a buttery layer with oatmeal biscuits, custard and cream. Still young, flinty and a little tight with light chilling on the night, but with gentle coaxing the taste becomes full, rich, rounded and creamy with a lovely malty toasty richness, touches of tropical fruit and mango and a bright zesty citrus flourish to the nutty oak finish. 14% alc. $20.99. 16Sep2015.
Main Divide Waipara Valley Chardonnay 2014 (sc) A bold mouthfilling chardonnay with a deep colour; a rich, mealy, savoury aroma accented with funky wild yeast and a fresh bright taste with zingy notes of grapefruit alongside lemon sherbet – they subside while not going away to let a soft, mealy butter caramel richness come through. Yet it is characterised by a sometimes controversial reductive character with coconut sugared peach highlights to the funky, earth savoury finish. 13.5% alc. $20.99. 27Aug2015.
Man o War Valhalla Chardonnay 2014 – Waiheke Island (sc) Lemon gold in hue and very mealy, nutty and savoury on the nose with vanilla biscuit / malt biscuit complexities. Bold and mouthfilling to the taste with spicy oak, vanilla and butterscotch weaving through the rich, sweet, peach and tropical fruit with grilled apricots coming forth on the juicy finish and again those savoury biscuity flavours that offset the fruit beautifully. Firm in structure with well balanced underlying acidity, it's a fulfilling wine with flavour and presence. 14% alc. $33.99. 17Feb2016.
Marisco The Kings Bastard Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light yellow gold. Creamy malty bouquet with a whisper of butterscotch. Rounded and creamy in the palate with a spicy oak richness, a mealy undercurrent, hints of nectarine and a citrussy edge to the finish. 14% alc. $18.99. 20May2015.
Marsden Estate Black Rocks Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light to medium gold, quite lustrous in appearance. Bold and creamy on the nose with toasty oak, tropical fruit and peach filling the palate and layers of caramel building up on the long, juicy finish. Another cracker from Rod McIvor, no need to say more! 13.5% alc. $32.99. 27May2015.
Matua Lands & Legends Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 This nutty, creamy smelling wine is light yellow gold in hue with additional scents of grilled peaches, spicy oak and a slightly funky mealy veneer. “Sulphides,” says Nikolai, explaining it is recently bottled. The funky, mealy flavours expand deliciously in the palate with a smoky barrel ferment complexity. The texture is creamy with well-balanced lemon-like acidity supporting the predominantly stonefruit flavours and a long, fine, nutty oak finish. A little flinty and dry right now but has all the x-factor markers. Look forward to seeing this wine evolve during the year. 14% alc. $19.99. 15Apr2015.
Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) The bouquet is quite steely and flinty with crisp apples coming to mind. The apple character continues into the taste but more like spicy baked apples with a light touch of savoury oak, a full mid palate and youthful vibrancy to the tropical fruit salad finish that’s tinged with a touch of crème brulee. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 26Aug2015.
Mission Jewelstone Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (D) This glossy light golden-hued wine has the most besottingly attractive toasty aroma with hints of butterscotch and grilled peach and the savoury barrel ferment oak and creamy yeast lees flavours braided with grilled peach and nectarine are simply enticing. It’s a serious mouthfilling chardonnay with a lovely spicy lift to the seamless finish and fabulous length. My kind of wine!! 13.5% alc. $35.99. 9Dec2015.
Muddy Water Deliverance Chardonnay 2014 – Waipara (sc) Quite gold in the glass with the bouquet abounding with stonefruit – apricots initially spring to mind. The ultra juicy fruit perception of this soft acid wine continues in the palate with something reminiscent of pink bubblegum then burnt butter and creamy mealy layers and a firm dry savoury spicy finish. It's been fermented with wild yeasts and matured in large seasoned oak barrels but is more fruity than oaky to the taste. 13% alc. $20.99. 17Feb2016.
Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2014 – Nelson (sc) Light yellow gold. The expansive bouquet is so inviting as scents of polished French oak, nuts and honey grilled nectarines tantalise the senses, then classy nutty, savoury, polished oak is an upfront feature in the palate that becomes more and more toasty as the wine is savoured. A beautifully honed and rounded Chardonnay with delicious mealy intensity, succulent stonefruit juiciness and racy grapefruit intensity, it’s tempting to drink already but this superb dry white has the cachet to develop in the cellar for ten years or more. 14% alc. $71.99.15Oct2015.
Pukeora Estate Central Hawkes Bay Limestone Hills Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Golden yellow. Powerful, concentrated aromas of citrus butter and buttery oak with a savoury complexity. A big, bold, mouthfilling wine full of juicy yellow fruit with a buttery halo, integrated savoury oak and a grapefruit zing to long, smooth, creamy and just off-dry finish. From vineyards on the hill surrounding the old sanatorium in Waipukurau south of Napier, Pukeora means 'hill of health.' 14.6% alc. $18.99. 10Aug2016.
Rapaura Springs Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light gold in hue with quite a soft creamy, nutty bouquet that has a zing of mandarin and hints of autumn fruit. Melon, apricot and tropical fruit fill the warm, soft, textural palate that has a mealy savoury undercurrent and a zesty zippy bright aromatic finish. The oak is so well integrated it adds to the textural complexity rather than the taste. 13% alc. $11.99. 13May2015.
Richmond Plains Nelson Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light gold. A little powdery / dusty smelling at first then the bouquet is apple sherbet and stonefruit tinged with vanilla. This is a very dry, flinty, young, fresh style with seemingly little influence of oak at first but vanillin oak flavours build on the back palate and the wine compounds in richness with flavours that remind of apricots and custard - yet the wine is never sweet - it remains austere, steely and dry. It would benefit from more time. Nevertheless a very good match to salt-cured ham steaks. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 28May2015.
Sacred Hill HALO Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Medium gold. Rich peach bouquet infused with tropical fruit and gentle notes of toasted oats then in the palate there's polished oak, hints of caramel, mealy notes and fleshy grilled peach with touches of melon and pineapple. Full and creamy with a rounded mouthfeel and a zesty vibrancy to the finish. Terrific as an aperitif with cheese on buttered crackers, then, with dinner, stir fry minted lamb steak with steamed white rice added to suck up the juices – the wine match an unexpected delight. Things you don’t plan are sometimes the best. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 14May2015.
Sacred Hill Orange Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) This has a star-like brightness to the light gold hue. Grilled peach on the nose follows through to the palate. Wow, so opulent already - it is creamy with layers of butterscotch and caramel. Very smooth with peach and nectarine underpinned with a touch of citrus. A ripe, ready-to-drink-right-now kind of wine. Very good with chicken.
Sacred Hill Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Lustrous light gold in hue. The soft mealy aroma with nutty oak and stonefruit has a subtle smoky aura and the palate is soft and creamy with nutty oak in harmony together with touches of nectarine and a spicy zesty flourish to the savoury mealy finish. A seamless wine with warmth and richness, not overly oaky, and as the nectarine flavour builds up it is joined by tangelo with a touch of tropical fruit. Our conclusion. Yum! Matched to leftover sausages with vegetables in cheese sauce, this was a very good match. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 21May2015.
Sacred Hill Rifleman’s Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light lemon gold in hue with a cedary bouquet that’s lifted by the wafting scent of grilled pineapple, and smooth in the palate with lemon butter and lots of mealy, yeasty, baguette / pineapple notes, this is a very elegant style with spicy oak accents, touches of creamed macadamias and a beautifully balanced savoury depth. Still quite tight with a flinty undercurrent at this stage of its life, this legendary label will continue to evolve in the cellar. 13.5% alc. $69.99. 2Sep2015.
Sacred Hill Wine Thief Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Quite a saturated lemon lustre to the hue. The bouquet is immediately inviting with its sweet, nutty, creamy, mealy aura and the hint of peach that comes to the fore in the palate – juicy, fleshy peach with a hum of apricot acidity and a beautifully integrated biscuity oak backbone. Full-bodied in an elegant way with a seamless flow and a lingering mealy richness. A class act and just delicious. 13.5% alc. $34.99. 22Aug2016.
Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light gold with a sweet scented woodsmoke bouquet and bold, malty, lemony, leesy flavours with integrated smoky vanillin oak in harmony with fruit that is reminiscent of grilled apricot, nectarine and tropical fruit. Finely elegant in its texture with a juicy fruit finish and a kick of acidity to remind us of its youth, this is a serious Chardonnay with a fabulously long finish and best accompanied with food. Chill no more than an hour before serving. 13% alc. $30.99 . 6Jan2016.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 10 Twin Valleys Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light gold with a creamed nut bouquet and creamy in the palate with hazelnuts, lemon, dried pineapple, spicy oak and all the markers of malolactic fermentation. Tonight it presents as crisp and dry and while it seems quite tight as it traverses the palate the lingering aftertaste reveals chardonnay beauty and generosity. A wine that doesn’t want to be served too chilled. 13% alc. $24.99. 6Apr2016.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 Chardonnay Marlborough 2014 (sc) The bouquet is creamy with very desirable smoky nuances and the taste seems juicy and forward with honeyed oak, nectarine and tropical fruit and a creamy flow yet there is a Burgundian-like restraint to the mid palate of the wine with its flinty, nutty, savoury, smoky undertones and lemonade fruit providing well-balanced acidity, then broadening out again on the finish with hints of just-ripe crisp white peach and vanilla custard coming through nicely. Drinking beautifully now but plenty of life ahead of it. Cuisine 5 stars. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 17Aug2016.
Saint Clair Premium Selection Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light lemon gold with a bouquet that offers up a delicate scent of vanilla poached pear that don’t foretell of the much bolder bright and fresh flavours crammed with tropical fruit salad, mandarin, juicy stonefruit and a lingering butter caramel mouthfeel. Not much influence of oak yet lots to like in this tasty wine that evolves with every sip. 13% alc. $13.99 . 3Feb2016.
Seifried Nelson Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Glossy lemon gold with a sweet nutty creamy bouquet infused with toasty Chardonnay allure. Fresh crunchy bright acidity dominates first up in the palate but as the youthful surge subsides the wine becomes rich, mealy and savoury with plenty of oomph and lingering flavours of apricot and cream. 14% alc. $14.99. 8Jul2015.
Seresin Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light gold in hue with smoky, gunflint characters driving the bouquet and mealy, savoury, smoky, flinty and lemony malo nuances filling the palate – not overly fruity and seemingly quite lean and tight to start, I’m thinking it’s from Burgundy so a surprise to find out it’s from Marlborough although the vibrancy should be a clue. The finish is harmoniously cedary and the subtle aftertaste lingers deliciously. 13.5% alc. $40.99. 23Mar2016.
Sileni The Lodge Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Delicately creamy on the nose and then in the mouth it's soft, mealy and creamy with a touch of malt, honeyed oak and toffee cut by crisp citrus notes and a flourish of spice. Smooth and seamless in its flow with a long creamy finish where toasty oak, that seemed more subtle at first, comes to the fore as the aftertaste lingers. 14% alc. $24.99. 23Mar2016.
Sileni Satyr Kereru Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) There's an appealing savouriness infusing the creamy oak bouquet with a hint of orange zest coaxed out with deep inhaling and that zesty nuance becomes noticeable in the palate that seems at first to have accrued a mellow aura yet is bold and mouthfilling with spicy oak and a zesty zing and a terrifically long, toasty finish with a harmonious rounded mouthfeel. 14% alc. $24.99. 16Nov2016.
Soho White Collection Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 Light golden yellow with a bouquet of sweet nutty oak and grilled peach, and bold toasty flavours with a zesty, citrussy edge, honeyed tropical fruit and smooth layers of butterscotch intertwined through a crisp, biscuity finish – a little like Anzac biscuits with oats and golden syrup. Really creamy and nice. Great little starter/ socialising wine. 14.5% alc. $17.99. 29Apr2015.
Spinyback Nelson Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Fruity creamy aromas and fruit forward in the palate, nicely balanced with some mealy leesy characters - more complex than the nose would suggest even though it seems like there is very little oak,. Smooth and seamless flowing with a butterscotch coating and a burst of stonefruit sweetness at the end., 14% alc. $17. 21Nov2015.
Spencer Hill Tres Elegant Nelson Chardonnay 2014 (c) Golden hued with a bold nutty aroma and a big, fat, oily palate with fleshy stonefruit and caramel-coated buttery oak that imparts such a smooth creamy mouthfeel and flow, then a burst of grapefruit that lifts the wine and extends the finish. Right now it needs a big glass to open up in, as it got better and better as the tasting progressed. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 2Dec2015.
Te Awa Left Field Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Lustrous citrine hue with a sunshine glimmer. Sweet fruited aromas of tropical fruit and melon, and later hints of nougat and cream. The taste is fruity with a zesty / spicy aura and a nutty creamy undercurrent with touches of nougat that are enchanting. Lightly oaked, it is the vibrant fruitiness that wins out on the day. 13% alc. $17.99. 9May2015.
Te Awanga Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light gold in hue with a butter caramel scent – it smells rich but is surprisingly on the medium side of full-bodied when you taste it and the smooth, seamless mouthfeel and flow makes it deceptively easy to drink. Fermented in barrel with wild yeasts, and with full malo imparting creaminess, the flavours are toasty and peachy with savoury French oak humming along in harmony and a fantastically long finish with peach and mealy notes lingering deliciously. Light chilling is all that is needed. 13% alc. $18.99. 20Jan2016.
Te Kairanga John Martin Martinborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) The bouquet is tantalisingly mealy and nutty with smoky French oak that oozes finesse and the flavours are elegantly stylish, toasty and nutty with modern winemaking flare. There’s peach and nectarine with hints of vanilla and lime-infused chantilly cream and lovely mealy barrel ferment complexities with the oak integrated beautifully and terrific length. 14% alc. $30.99. 15Mar2017.
Te Mania Nelson Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light lemon gold. Inviting sweet biscuity bouquet with a touch of peach and melon and a dusting of nutmeg. Smooth in the palate with juicy oak that's integrated and savoury, a creamed nut richness and the wonderful fruit profile of peaches, etc. that came on the nose and a flinty dryness to the finish. Really good acidity without being intrusive, it lifts the wine beautifully. I like this. Excellent with egg salad. 12.5% alc. $21.99. 14Feb2015.
Te Mata Elston Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) This light gold hued wine has a rich, proud bouquet and it's powerful in the palate with toasty oak, hints of butterscotch, a touch of grapefruit and a smooth, seamless, flow. A little tight on the finish that reaffirms this wine is young and has a long way to go. Nevertheless it seems a little more forward at this stage of its life Elstons have been in the recent past. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 2Mar2016.
The Landing Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Creamy lemon gold with a bouquet of toasted hazelnuts and a malt biscuit richness that is just so tantalising, and so smooth and creamy as it flows across the palate with peach, melon and tropical fruit infused with butterscotch cream, beautifully balanced savoury oak and a touch of pineapple brightness to the seamless finish. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 2Sep2015.
Theory and Practice Gisborne Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Medium gold with an oily appearance. Savoury on the nose but all buttered oak and caramel in the palate with a smooth flow, orange zest accents adding brightness, a touch of spicy oak and a subtle funky mealiness imparting a savoury inflection. Made by Ant McKenzie, this is a different style to his similarly labelled Hawkes Bay wine. 13.5% alc. $18.99 . 3Feb2016.
Theory & Practice Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) In the glass the wine has a moderate gold hue. A bouquet of fragrant nutty oak leads into a bright, full-bodied, savoury palate with fleshy stonefruit to the fore. It’s vibrant and zesty with a very appealing rounded mouthfeel, lemony / leesy notes, a hazelnut complexity, spicy cedary oak – a little chilling enhances the toasty aura – and the long, dry, lingering finish has touches of grapefruit. Ant McKenzie’s own label with fruit sourced from the Cape Kidnappers area. 14% alc. $24.99. 7Oct2015.
Thornbury Gisborne Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Straw gold with gentle aromatics of white autumn fruit and soft and textural in the palate, almost creamy in its flow, with crisp, clean fruit, a nutty concentration and a bright spicy aura. The fruit is reminiscent of citrus, melon, baked apple and vanilla poached pear and the oak is barely detectable, adding more to the texture rather than the taste. If you like pinot gris, you will love this lighter styled Chardonnay that offers just that little bit more. 13.5% alc. $12.99. 25Mar2015.
Tohu Awatere Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Glossy light gold. Light creamy, mealy and nutty with subtle tropical fruit nuances on the nose. The oak in this wine is deceptive - nutty oak , light tropical fruit, good line and flow and a soft mealy finish. Later a touch of butterscotch comes to mind. Light easy drinking. Terrific socialising wine. 13% alc. $21.95. 29Feb2016.
Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2014 (sc) There's a sunshine glint to the colour and then, wow, the grapefruit aromas just pop together with a funky wild yeast / struck match complexity. The flavours have a grapefruit zing with an underlying mealy richness and savoury oak that expands beautifully and fills the palate with pleasure leaving behind a juicy peach intensity. Hand picked, whole bunch pressed with fermentation and maturation in 500 puncheons (35-40% new) for at least a year. Exciting. 13.5% alc. $28.99. 18May2016.
Trinity Hill Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (white label) (sc) Light gold with peach, citrus and hazelnut aromas and full of flavour in the medium-bodied palate that has a creamy feel, a nutty richness and a zesty brightness to the finish. There's minimal amount of oak used in the crafting of this wine but good crisp acidity and masses of flavour. Fantastic social sipper or seafood wine. 13.5% alc. $14.99. 18May2016.
Vidal Legacy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Struck match on the nose subsides to reveal rather appealing mealy, malty scents. A super bold style of wine with all the bells and whistles – it's got butter caramel, malt, spice, stonefruit and citrus with tingling youthful acidity. It’s concentrated and mouthfilling with a seamless flow, finishing with a wine biscuit complexity and a flinty savouriness lingering. Cuisine 5 stars. 13.5% alc. $49.99. 17Aug2016.
Vidal Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Rich glossy citrine in the glass. The bouquet is creamy and mealy with wafts of smoky oak and hints of cedar. Bold and seemingly luscious as the wine traverses the palate - it's beautifully smooth, rounded and already seamless in it flow with flavours of roasted hazelnuts and fresh and grilled Golden Queen peaches with spicy oak completing the picture. Seems irresistible already but will be even better with a little more oak integration. 13% alc. $19.99. 28May2015.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) A stonefruit sweetness infuses the smoky oak bouquet of this light gold wine and the oak seems even smokier in the fresh, youthful palate where the flavours of butterscotch, grilled stonefruit, bubblegum, grapefruit and roasted hazelnuts come in waves. Fantastic value from the Bay. 13.5% alc. $14.99. 25Feb2015.
Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light lustrous gold. Crème caramel and sweet smoky barrel ferment nuances fill the bouquet and it's full-bodied and creamy to the taste with upfront smoky toasty oak, a touch of gunflint, bright citrus and fleshy stonefruit, and a long, mouthfilling, savoury, mealy finish that expands just beautifully as the wine traverses the palate and lingers harmoniously. Supreme Champion at the 2016 Royal Easter Wine Show. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 9Mar2016.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Spicy cedar and citrus zest fill the bouquet and the texture is seductively creamy and smooth. Deliciously savoury, malty and mouthfilling with hints of butterscotch, a roasted nut richness and a spicy oak complexity, this classy wine has a tingly deliciousness and wild yeast mystique. Taking chardonnay to another level, many thought it the wine of the night at this stage of the tasting. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 26Aug2015.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylor’s Pass Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light citrine gold. The bouquet is quite simply charismatic tonight with delightful scents of nougat, tropical fruit and mealy French oak and the expansive flavours in the palate are exquisite and the oak quite toasty with light chilling. Powerful yet elegant with a warm rounded mouthfeel and flavours of white peach, citrus, apricot and nutty mealy notes with a spicy flourish to the finish and impeccable balance and length. It’s stunning already but has the complexity to benefit even more with cellaring. 14% alc. $29.99 30Sep2015.
Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2014 (sc) Light gold in colour with a lightly fruity and delicate oak bouquet then flavours of lightly honeyed oak in the creamy palate with a touch of hokey pokey and caramel that's balanced by the bright, fresh, tingly acidity and a savoury aftertaste. 13.5% alc. $23.00. 21Nov2015.
West Brook Barrique Ferment Chardonnay 2014 (sc) A richly aromatic, light golden coloured Chardonnay with a toasty oak and fruity apricot bouquet and a bold outspoken taste with toasty / nutty /creamy / spicy oak flavours alongside juicy melon and stonefruit with touches of butterscotch and caramel and then apple and citrus on the long dry finish. 13.1% alc. $19.99. 11Mar2015.
West Brook Waimauku Chardonnay 2014 (sc) This light gold wine is a completely different style to the Whitehaven, probably because it comes from Auckland not Marlborough. A little heady on the nose, yet restrained in its subtle mealy and nougat scent, it’s a wine of style and finesse with layers of nutty oak, touches of oatmeal, nougat, white peach and green melon, and a subtle tingle of orange sherbet at the end. Not overly bold but has a compelling finish with excellent length. Gold Easter Show. 13.2% alc. $27.99. 24Feb2016.
Whitehaven Marlborough Chardonnay 2014 (sc) There’s a touch of gunflint to the nutty, malo-influenced bouquet that also offers up hints of tropical fruit and crème brulee and it’s spicy and zesty in the palate that seems quite steely to start with a nutty savoury oak backbone but the tropical fruit comes to the fore and the wine intensifies beautifully with a really lovely lifted lemon cream finish that is long and fulfilling. 14% alc. $19.99. 18Nov2015.
Alchemy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Fruity aroma with an appealing mealy infusion. Citrus infuses the fleshy stonefruit and butter caramel flavours of this soft creamy wine. It has a lovely smoky savoury backbone and a spicy brightness to the finish. An easy pleaser. 14% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting 9Sep2014. Light gold. Butterscotch and stonefruit fill the bouquet and the super smooth taste is like liquid caramel creams (think Werther's Originals). A spicy brightness joins toasty oak and fleshy stonefruit flavours and there's a touch of citrus on the long, lifted finish. A new vintage with a new winemaker, the skills of Ant McKenzie were employed for this dangerously drinkable wine. 14% alc. $25.99. 8Oct2014.
Brancott Estate Letter Series 'O' Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light gold. Creamy caramel aroma then in the palate it is spicy and zesty on entry to the palate with creamy caramel oak, tropical fruit, stonefruit, well-balanced underlying mealy notes and citrus brightness to the smooth creamy mouthfilling finish. Long, rich, nutty and dry with savoury oak lingering. 14% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting 9Sep2014.
Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Moderate citrine gold. The overtly fruity bouquet emanates aromas of melon, dried banana chips and honeyed oak and there is an abundance of toasty oak and caramel flavours in the palate – an excellent foil to the juicy fruit – as is the bright touch of zest to the rich, rounded, creamy and persistent finish. 13.1% alc. $19.99. 23Jul2014.
Church Road Grand Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) The colour is rich gold and the bouquet is full of flint / struck match / reductive funky wild yeast with a delectable hint of peach and the flavours are bold in the smooth creamy palate with all the funks from the bouquet coming through. There's a lovely savoury, zesty, citrussy undercurrent to the bright peach and melon fruit; the beautifully honed acidity is lifted and bright, and there is a subtle salinity and seductive smokiness as the wine lingers deliciously. Love it. 14% alc. $31.99. 1Jun2016.
Church Road McDonald Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) This big rich toasty Chardonnay is crammed with aromas and flavours of grilled peach, spicy oak, caramel and citrus with a mouthfilling finish that is quite superbly long. Lightly chilled for a summer night tasting, the temperature was perfect. Loved it. 14% alc. $19.99. 7Jan2015.
Church Road Tom Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Rich, lustrous gold. The complex bouquet hints of a fruit sweetness yet has a smoky bacon intrigue together with grapefruit and the reductive characters of the wild yeast ferment. Full, rich, creamy and rounded with a caramel confectionary (think Werthers Originals) sweetness yet despite this sense of lusciousness the wine is delectably dry. Harmonious and seamless in its flow with a flinty undercurrent and expansive length leaving behind flavours of grapefruit, orange and mandarin with caramel and savoury complexities lingering until the next wine has to be tasted. 14.5% alc. $149. 1Jun2016.
Clearview Beachhead Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Stonefruit aromas are quite a contrast to the spicy, nutty flavours. Initially quite linear and restrained with citrus and malt and a momentary tickle of ginger-like spritz, then stone fruit emerges and the finish is spicy and creamy with lingering butterscotch and caramel. 14.5% alc. $20.99. 2Jul2014.
Clearview Estate Vineyard Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (D) Medium gold. Citrus aromas infuse the smoky savoury oak, and it is full-bodied and mealy in the opulent palate. Spicy with grilled peach and spicy cedar and a clean vibrant zesty finish. Layers and complexity. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting 9Sep2014.
Clearview Hawkes Bay Reserve Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light gold. A full creamy oak aroma with peaches and cream. Full-bodied and opulent in the palate with substance and flow. Peaches, melon, spicy oak, a decadent mealy undercurrent and a citrus brightness to the long creamy finish. Lots of oak presence that will integrate nicely with more time. 14.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting 9Sep2014.
Cloudy Bay Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Moderate gold in hue. Nutty savoury scents fill the bouquet with fascinating funky wild yeast nuances in harmony. Noticeably dry in the palate with mealy, savoury, wild yeast flavours underpinning the fruit that's like stonefruit tending towards dried tropical fruits with a zing of citrus. The fruit is mellow and integrating nicely with the oak that seems a little more honeyed on the mouthfilling finish that oozes elegance and finesse with the nutty savoury mealy flavours lingering beautifully. 14% alc. $36.99. 10Aug2016.
Coopers Creek SV 'The Limeworks' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Apple and roasted nuts on the nose and seemingly lightly oaked in the palate with creamy malo characters to the fore. Spicy on first tasting, becoming more powerful as the wine traverses the palate building to a bold finish with sweet oak lingering but the malo characters really do dominate in this youthful stage of its life. 14% alc. $17.99. 12Feb2014.
Crossroads Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Now we are getting to what most of us expect of main course Chardonnay. Toasty oak, grilled peaches, tropical fruit and zesty acidity combine in harmony in this richer style of wine that's laced with butter cream on the long rounded finish. There's a slight bubblegum nuance that indicates it could be of quite some youth. 14% alc. $15.99. 23Apr2014.
de la terre Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Bright yellow gold. Grilled nectarine and bold toasty oak on the nose. A real winemaker's wine with wild yeast and beautifully integrated French oak, bright fleshy fruit flavours and a lovely seam of citrus zest. Full-bodied, concentrated and long with a biscuity richness and stone fruit, melon and tropical fruit in harmony and while it seems quite developed already, there is oodles of chewy deliciousness here. The new label of former Church Rd winemaker, Tony Pritchard, from his vineyard in Taihape Road. Tony definitely knows what he is doing when it comes to Chardonnay. Classy wine. 14% alc. $36.99. 25Mar2015.
Dry River Martinborough Chardonnay 2013 (c) Light lemon gold. Gosh, the aroma is just so tantalising – it’s citrussy and biscuity with a lovely mealy infusion to the sweet nutty oak with hints of grapefruit – just divine. Lemon//lime/grapefruit flavours fill the palate – so bright and fresh with lovely savoury biscuity notes, a touch of nectarine adding structure and flesh and nougat-like sweetness to the finish. Smooth, seamless, warm and mouthcoating with the funky savoury notes just sublime. With its great acid spine this should be an incredibly long-lived wine. 13.5% alc. $54. 19Dec2014.
Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Brilliant citrine under the incandescent light - gemmy and lustrous in appearance. Quite savoury on the nose with lifted oak and stonefruit notes. The savoury veneer continues in the taste with warm wheatmeal biscuits and nutty toasty oak, lots of grilled stone fruit and a spicy note to the polished finish. The wine is still too tight - too oaky for me. OK as an accompaniment to chicken thighs cooked with bacon pieces to add deliciousness - I liked the wine, chicken, bacon combo - best enjoyed with food at this stage of its life. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 16Mar2015.
Esk Valley Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) The bouquet is all honeyed oak, spices and caramel cream then gun smoke and mealy notes fill the palate before a beautifully honed seam of grapefruit simply oozes out and radiates through. It's creamy with a sublime caramel / butterscotch sweetness, funky wild yeast influences, a gorgeously rounded mouthfeel and a vibrantly spicy finish. Super wine. 14% alc. $27.99. 26Aug2015.
Felton Road Bannockburn Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light gold in hue with an enticing aroma of tropical fruit and mango with a touch of orange blossom and mealy barrel ferment characters wafting through. Smooth in the palate, fruity, almost creamy, with nutty oak and mealy savoury notes emerging and becoming rather delicious as the flavours open up. A wine that needs a bit of encouragement right now - lots of swirling in a big glass (or decanting) and you won't be disappointed. Lovely wine. 14% alc. $39.99. 16Jul2014.
Framingham Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light gold. Nutty mealy notes infuse the smoky aroma. The taste is of a flinty style of chardonnay with juicy freshness from the tropical fruit, stonefruit and citrus flavours together with peach leaf. Smooth and long with a spiced nut complexity and a smoky oak finish. Lifted acidity as the wine lingers. 13.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting 9Sep2014.
Giesen The Fuder Single Vineyard Clayvin Chardonnay 2012 (sc) Yellow gold. Grapefruit and mealy barrel ferment scents, and spicy and zesty in the full-bodied palate with opulent hazelnut oak and complex mealy savoury characters. A powerful wine with an luxurious butterscotch caramel creaminess to the long powerful finish with a citrus brightness and flare. 14.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting 9Sep2014.
Gunn Estate Marlborough Reserve Chardonnay 2013 (sc) A medium bodied quaffer that goes down very easily on its own and gets you quickly into the food zone. The aroma radiates fleshy peach and nectarine aromas and the taste is incredibly juicy with a lovely creamy mealy nutty savouriness and nicely integrated lightly toasted oak that is not overpowering. 13.5% alc. $20. 2Apr2014.
Invivo Michelle's Central Otago Chardonnay 2013 (sc) The colour is light gold, the bold aromas are redolent of grapefruit and finely polished smoky savoury oak and the creamy flavours are quite lees-influenced giving the wine a very attractive savoury / mealy / nutty / biscuity aura with a fine acid spine that you find in top white Burgundies. A beautiful wine with great mouthfeel and flow and a harmonious touch of spice, I find it a little reminiscent of the Terra Sancta and further emphasises Central Otago should not be dismissed when it comes to elegant and potentially long-lived chardonnays. 14% alc. $28.99. 11Mar2015.
Jules Taylor Gisborne Chardonnay 2013 (c)
Kahurangi Mt Arthur Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Pale yellow gold with a striking bouquet of sweet oak, butter caramel and hints of spiced peach then finely honed buttery oak and nutmeg-like spices fill the palate, A rich creamy wine that has a well-balanced spicy, savoury undercurrent and a smooth, seamless flow with caramel and lemon/grapefruit nuances in harmony and a warm biscuity finish with oak flavours pushing through as the flavours linger. 14% alc. $23.99. 11Mar2015.
Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Reserve Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Pale green-tinged gold. Smoky toasty oak on the nose is embellished with grilled peach and nectarine. Seems quite Burgundian in style in the palate as it is the stunning crisp acidity that is the driver of this wine and will ensure that it will age. It’s mealy and biscuity with spicy barrel ferment flavours, a lovely leesy character from the mixture of wild and inoculated yeasts, and the gorgeous stonefruit on the nose comes forth again on the long dry, savoury finish. 14% alc. $22.99. 4Feb2015.
Leveret Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light yellow gold. Butter toffee and peach on the nose. Full bodied and concentrated in the palate with mellow buttery oak and juicy ripe grilled Golden queen peach flavours beautifully honed by grapefruit-like acidity that simply zings. Then a silky savouriness to the lingering aftertaste. Doesn’t need to be overly chilled and the bottle I tasted from was great! 13% alc. $22.99. 13Jan2016.
Lochiel Estate Mangawhai Chardonnay 2013 (sc) There's a glossy lustre to the lemon gold hue, an evocative and very engaging nutty bouquet with a suggestion of butterscotch wafting through, then nougat, dried mango and mealy flavours fill the palate with creamy oak humming along harmoniously in the background and a lovely spicy flourish to the mouthfilling finish. Loved it. 14% alc. $19.99. 28Jan2015.
Mahi Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light gold coloured with an immediately appealing creamy nutty oak scent with subtle grapefruit filtering through. The grapefruit, however, is proud in the palate mingling with stonefruit, nuts and tantalising, nougat-like creaminess. An intriguing texture, it has grip yet it has seamless flow and the wild yeast nuances and savoury oak hold their ground on the long, full-bodied finish. A multi-vineyard blend. 13.5% alc. $23.99. 5Mar2014.
Main Divide Waipara Valley Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Rich straw god in hue, this has leesy wild yeast characters dominating the aroma and although the scent is restrained the funky character is there. The taste is all oatmeal, apple and lemon with smoky oak in the background, it shows its youth with a momentary presence of pink bubblegum esters. Needs more time to let the reductive characters integrate. 14% alc. $19.95. 26Jan2015.
Man O' War Valhalla Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2013 (sc) This is a grapefruit and nougat style of Chardonnay with leesy aromas and malt-like, nutty, funky wild yeast flavours that combine in harmony. It tastes serious and expensive, and it is! If you remember the deeply-coloured oaky Valhalla styles of the past you will find this elegant and restrained in comparison and the well-honed acid spine makes it an excellent wine to cellar for a while. 14.5% alc. $34.99. 7Jan2015.
Marisco The Kings Bastard Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light gold. Youthful and estery with a bubble gum scent that carries through to the palate where tropical fruit abounds with melon and banana chips the highlights. The ripe fruit is foiled by a bright citrussy zing and caramel emerging as the wine lingers. 13.5% alc. $18.99. 20Aug2014.
Marsden Estate Bay of Islands Black Rocks Chardonnay 2013 (sc) This in comparison to the previous has more of everything so it is incredible to find it is a same vintage wine. Big, rich, golden and buttery with a delectable sizzled butter note to the smoky oak bouquet and toasted apricot-like fruit in the palate with a bright citrussy tang to the smooth, creamy finish with memories of salted caramel as the glorious flavours linger. A class act all the way through. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 11Jun2014.
Matua Lands and Legends Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) A complex mealy smelling chardonnay briming with aromas of toasty oak and caramel cream and the taste is rich, ripe and savoury with spiced peaches and toasty oak flavours and a long creamy finish spiked with caramel cream. 13.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting 9Sep2014.
Matua Single Vineyard Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 Radiant light gold with full-on funky, leesy, nutty aromas from wild yeast ferment in the barrel. Luscious and decadently full in the palate with nuts and spice to the fore, it’s quite dry and a little salty maybe, with tropical fruit that has a texture like the firm flesh of mountain pawpaw and delectable peach nuances coming through. Expansive vinosity in the palate, finishing full and rounded with compounding complexity. Young and tight right now, it will deliver exceptional rewards with 3-4 years cellaring. 13.5% alc. $49.99. 15Apr2015.
Moana Park Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light to medium gold in hue with a rich, creamy oak bouquet and smooth rounded flavours with layers of grilled stonefruit, butterscotch and caramel cream and well balanced savoury oak and mealy notes on the lingering finish. I enjoyed this Vegetarian Society approved wine. 14% alc. $17.99. 22Oct2014.
Milcrest Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light glossy gold with a bouquet of polished oak, grilled peach and fig. Quite toasty and initially just a little brassy in the palate with a burst of grapefruit providing plenty of acid bite, then well-balanced juicy tropical fruit, golden queens and fig round out all the edges and there’s a spicy flourish to the long full finish where a touch of toffee-like sweetness is very satisfying. By the third sip all remnants of toothpaste have been washed away and you think, my gosh, this wine is quite okay. 14% alc. $26.99. 8Apr2015.
Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Straw gold coloured and a polar opposite to the previous wine, it is lean and flinty in its youth. Partial malolactic fermentation tames some of the acidity but there's still a vibrant zesty buzz and a nougat-like creaminess to the finish. A wine from a great vintage and set to evolve in the cellar. Right now it will be a stylish accompaniment to seafood. 13% alc. $19.99 special 16Apr2014.
Muddy Water Waipara Chardonnay 2013 (sc) This medium light gold wine smells rather youthful with its nutty oak and lemon polish scent and while it initially seems quite light it morphs into a powerhouse of a wine. Savoury oak joins tropical fruit with enticing sizzled butter and a spicy almost zesty brightness to the long rich finish. 14% alc. $27.99. 3Dec2014.
Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) The colour is medium gold with a lustrous sheen, the bouquet is smoky and creamy with touches of grilled peach and there is a nutty savoury richness to the mouthfilling taste. Quite flinty on the front palate but full and rounded on the back palate with grapefruit-like acidity adding zing and sweet smoky oak adding complexity. A textural wine with a slightly grainy feel mid palate yet the finish is long and creamy. 13.5% alc. $32.99. 10Jun2015.
Ngatarawa Proprietors Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) A light to moderate gold colour introduces with gorgeous buttery Chardonnay. The bouquet is full, rich and creamy with a toasty barrel-ferment aura and it's quite malty, mealy and savoury in the palate. Very oaky and intense at this stage of its life with grilled peach, citrus and bacon and a touch of butterscotch emerging on the long powerful finish. 14% alc. $34.00. 21Nov2015.
Obsidian Reserve Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light gold. Nougat and cream on the nose. Spicy with savoury French oak a feature of the smooth creamy palate. Youthful with fresh zesty acidity underpinning the tropical fruit and a vibrant long finish with a pleasing savoury oak veneer. 14.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting 9Sep2014.
Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Chardonnay 2012 (sc) Golden, glinty and bright with a bouquet that initially radiates roasted cashews and macadamias - it’s creamy and savoury at the same time. Later caramel notes and citrus blossom, then much later funky leesy wild yeast aromas join in. You could say the bouquet is complex. This is Chardonnay after all. Rich flavours of fleshy apricots and golden queen are underpinned with tangelo and zesty tingles of grapefruit. It very ripe and concentrated, the stonefruit is juicy and sweet and there's a divine savoury, nutty, mealy, malty flavour interweaving through. Later caramel notes on the nose and citrus blossom. Later still, very leesy and reductive with all the funky wild yeast flavours making themselves known. A full-bodied, powerful style, needs food. .We matched to bacon (yum) with vegetables in a blue cheese sauce (yum). 13.5% alc. $38.00. 16May2015.
Sacred Hill HALO Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) This straw gold wine smells fragrant and fruity with butterscotch overtones to the stonefruit and melon bouquet. A little more restrained than the Waimea at this early stage with slightly estery (bubblegum) notes infusing the nutty oak, a fine silky texture and a delicate butterscotch coating. It is drinking well now but patience will reward, as it will fatten up in the bottle with a little more time. In fact as it sits in the glass you can see the malty richness almost accruing. All in all quite more-ish with a very fulfilling finish. 13% alc. $19.99. 11Jun2014.
Sacred Hill The Rifleman’s Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Already golden with a citrine glow, the opulence radiates from the glass as soon as it is put to the nose … it’s sensually smoky with nuances of caramel cream followed by a mouthfilling taste that is powerful and savoury with spicy oak, ripe fleshy peach, a touch of citrus and creamy Macadamia nuts with the caramel notes from the nose re-remerging on the long, smooth, seamless finish. Outstanding wine. Just delicious. A resounding match to cauliflower mashed with butter and cream. 13.% alc. $75. 9Dec2014.
Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light lemon gold with the first impression on the nose being buttered popcorn-like toasty oak with the smoky oak traits very much to the forefront in the fresh, bold palate. Smooth and creamy in the mouth with a citrus pop to the stonefruit flavours – the very ripe fruit giving an impression of sweetness but a welcoming savoury mealy touch to the long full finish. Don’t over chill at this youthful stage of its life. 13.5% alc. $30.99. 25Jun2014.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 10 'Twin Hills' Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) This is a rich, creamy, toasty oak style. It's a medium light gold colour, the bouquet is suggestive of grilled stonefruit and nutty oak, and the taste is full-bodied, spicy and creamy with a yummy vanilla biscuit deliciousness and a savoury oak flair to the finish. Saint Clair is known for their use of American oak in Chardonnay, but this plump, tasty Block 10 is 100% French, 50% new. 13.5% alc. $28.99. 18Mar2015.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 Cell Block Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light gold. Caramel cream on the nose. Smoky oak and grilled stonefruit fill the palate with a generous mouthfeel and a long creamy finish with citrus brightness as the delectable nutty oak flavours linger. 13.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting. 9Sep2014.
Saint Clair Premium Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light gold in hue with a ripe peach and sweet smoky oak scent and smooth, juicy and creamy in the palate. It’s a youthful wine with mealy notes, tropical fruit, deliciously ripe stonefruit and a tickle of zest and tonight, served lightly chilled, it presents as an instantly approachable medium-bodied starter or socialising wine. 13% alc. $15.99. 18Mar2015.
Seifried Barrique Fermented Nelson Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Golden yellow with a mellow aura to the spiced stonefruit aroma and an elegant savoury oak undercurrent to the creamy palate with juicy citrus and melon fruit and sandalwood nuances on the full-bodied finish. A little tight to start but opens up nicely in the glass. 14% alc. $22.99. 2Dec2015.
Seifried Nelson Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light yellow gold. Toasty oak and peach aromas are woven with lemon butter cream from malo and barrel ferment. Smoky and bold to the taste with polished spicy oak surrounding juicy stonefruit and citrus flavours and a fine seamless flow. This double gold medal winner (NZIWS & Spiegelau competitions) is very much in the First Glass #chardonnaylovers 5 o'clock drinks mould. 14% alc. $14.99. 27Jan2016.
Sileni The Lodge Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (c) This is a brilliant gold colour. The nose is lemon and oatmeal and the taste is rounded and mellow with warm lemon butter caramel, creamed cashews and savoury oak emerging to linger with a subtle salinity. It’s smooth and satisfying with a deliciously long finish. Served from a 1.5-litre magnum that comes in an impressive presentation box. 13.5% alc. $71.99. 12Jul2017.
Soho Carter Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Aromas of bread sauce with subtle smoky notes and hints of citrus and spice, this fine textured wine has tropical fruit to the fore with the oak playing only a supporting role in the background. Seems hardly there at first but expands in the palate with nutty mealy savoury notes and a long rich finish, where once again the tropical fruit makes itself known. Definitely needs more time. 14.7% alc. $37.99. 2Jul2014.
Spade Oak 'Voysey' Gisborne Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Golden yellow with a butter caramel scent and tropical with pineapple the dominant fruit in the palate. A creamy wine but it does have a little grip in the background. Fleshing out more as the wine lingers, this is the entry level wine in the Spade Oak range and made as an affordable wine to drink. 13% alc. $14.99. 30Jul2014.
Spencer Hill Coastal Ridge Nelson Chardonnay 2013 (c) This is a bold smelling wine with a full-bodied peachy chardonnay allure and tastes rich, full and fat with a peach pie / vanilla custard / clotted cream lusciousness and a spicy zing to the oaky finish. A powerful Chardonnay that’s seamless in its flow and ready to drink. 13.5% alc. $22.99. 26Aug2015.
Spy Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) There are flinty nutty nuances to the bouquet of this light golden-hued wine and the taste is just so savoury with creamy oak, rich roasted nut characters and a spicy, zesty flourish to the bright, fresh finish. In the fruit department grilled peaches and tropical fruit come to mind. A terrific social wine as it is lovely to sip just on its own but don’t over chill as it pronounces the acid spine. 13.5% alc. $21.99. 26Aug2015.
Squawking Magpie The Chatterer Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light golden coloured with an aromatic but delicate bouquet that has a hint of creaminess with a nuance of tropical fruit that is more obvious in the palate where melon, tropical guava and a touch of dried pineapple join the fray. Then spicy oak emerges with a ginger / pepper-like bite. Smooth and silky in texture with hints of fresh tangelo juice as the juicy flavours linger. 13.7% alc. $18.99. 11Mar2015.
Te Mata Estate Elston Chardonnay 2013 – Hawkes Bay(c) Light glossy gold with a delicate cashew, smoky French oak and mealy yeast lees scent – the oak coming into its own in the palate. It's bone dry with classy French oak intermingling with malty flavours underpinned by grapefruit-like citrus, crisp peach and nectarine fruit and a long, mealy finish sprinkled with nutmeg. Great mouthfeel and presence. Outstanding potential and could prove to be one of the greatest Elstons ever made. 14% alc. $29.99. 14May2014.
Te Mata Estate Vineyards Chardonnay 2013 (sc) This young 'fruit forward', lightly oaked wine is a pale citrine hue with delicate stonefruit aromas and tropical and stonefruit flavours with banana-like esters that will integrate with a little more time. While initially fresh and zingy the underlying mealy flavours become bolder on the finish with a touch of butterscotch and oatmeal coming through. 13.5% alc. $16.99. 14May2014.
Te Whai Bay Mangawhai Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light yellow gold. Ripe and creamy on the nose. Smooth and seamless in the palate with fleshy peach, tropical fruit and a delightful infusion of tangelo with smoky oak on the luxurious long finish. 13% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting 9Sep2014.
Terra Sancta River Block Bannockburn Central Otago Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light gold. Smoky savoury oak scents are alluring. Lovely rich nutty bf characters fill the palate with hints of grapefruit. A stunning Burgundian look-alike wine. Smooth and silky with elegance and finesse. One of my favourites. 13.5% alc.
NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting 9Sep2014.
The Landing Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Smoky caramel oak and tropical fruit radiates from the glass and the taste is super creamy with a butterscotch and caramel-coated popcorn nuance to the delicious toasty oak flavours, all the while the fruit in harmony. Grilled stonefruit joins tropical fruit and there is a citrus brightness to the lingering finish. Seriously powerful. Seriously stunning. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 15Oct2014.
Thistle Ridge Waipara Chardonnay 2013 Light gold in hue with a ripe stone fruit bouquet that has apricot and sweet citrus to the fore. Smooth and creamy to the taste with juicy stonefruit, a zesty bite and a well-balanced mealy savoury finish that expands as the flavours linger leaving a rounded aftertaste with a flourish of malt and caramel. Made by Greystone Wines, it’s a lovely bright fresh early evening socialising style of wine. 14% alc. $17.99. 20May2015.
Two Gates Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light gold with a gem-like lustre. Full of creamy malo aromas with a hint of butter caramel, but the taste has an abundance of caramel together with butter-coated popcorn and Werthers Originals caramel creams. The ripe fleshy nectarine and yellow plum holds ground with a solid spicy oak backbone and a seamless texture that makes it slip down easily. Citrus on the finish provides a welcome acid zing. Made by former Vidal winemaker, Rod McDonald, now with his own Rod McDonald Wines stable. 14% alc. $23.99. 25Mar2015.
Vidal Legacy Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) This light gold hued wine was immediately described by one of the tasters as ‘gun smoke and marmalade’. I find it quite simply glorious with an alluring bouquet and rich, creamy flavours of grilled peach, macadamia nuts, spicy oak and lashings of citrus perhaps made a little more conspicuous by the one hour of chilling but the nice touch of malty savouriness brings the acidity into harmony. Full-bodied, seamless and long, this wine is already beautiful especially as the chill comes off the glass, but based on the legacy of previous vintages it will reward even more with cellaring. AirNZ Champion 2014. 13% alc. $49.99. 26Nov2014.
Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Ferment Gisborne Chardonnay 2013 (sc) This seems to be departure from previous chardonnays under this label. The shy bouquet is delicately fragrant but the taste is creamy and mealy with biscuity oak and funky notes. It's spicy and bright with tropical fruit to the fore – dried banana and melon come to mind – and the finish is rounded, mouthfilling and long with exceptional length. Garnering complexity as the flavours linger, it’s a wine that can be cellared with confidence. From two sites in Gisborne with natural ferment occurring in 30% of the blend. 14% alc. $29.99. 19Nov2014.
Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Spicy and mealy on the nose. Spicy oak fills the palate of this refined wine that initially seems a little gravelly and flinty. Overall a vibrant style of chardonnay with fresh stonefruit and melon flavours and a harmonious mealy savoury undercurrent to the full-bodied creamy finish. 13.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting 9Sep2014.
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Nutty oak and grapefruit on the nose with a stunning mealy complexity. Smooth and creamy in the palate with tropical fruit, stonefruit and citrus zest in harmony with the mealy undercurrent and spicy savoury oak finish. Great intensity and length. 13.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting 9Sep2014.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Auckland Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light gold hued with lemony leesy aromatics, it’s spicy and zesty on first tasting with a crisp, dry flinty undercurrent then white peach and honeyed oak softens the wine and nutty, creamy, nougat-like nuances come through. Toasted oak loiters in the background and the expansive savoury and citrussy finish has a touch of wild yeast funk. Developing beautifully, it’s ready to accompany seafood right now. 13% alc. $29.99. 11Nov2015.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2013 – Hawkes Bay (sc) The fragrance is mealy with a lemon and butterscotch infusion, becoming more smoky as the wine opens up, and the taste is ultra malty and funky – it is 100% wild yeast ferment, the first time that Nick has achieved it. Full-bodied with a juicy brightness and flavours of stonefruit, citrus and toasty oak combining in harmony. There’s a slightly earthy, flinty undercurrent and touches of sweet orange also come through. Complex and layered with fantastic mouthfeel and length, it is set to evolve beautifully over the next few years. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 19Nov2014.
Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Light yellow gold with an appealing toast and butter caramel bouquet, it is smooth, creamy, savoury and toasty to the taste with a spicy tingle, fleshy tropical fruit and stonefruit and a honey/caramel nutty richness to the long rounded finish. A 'retro' style, it is very drinkable already and another winner from this ultra reliable Chardonnay producer. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 11Jun2014.
Wairau River Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Pale gold in hue with a subtle smoky allure to the honeyed oak and apricot scent and a zingy spicy vibrancy to the full rich mouthcoating flavours of apricot and peach with the oak understated and integrated and a long soft creamy finish that is very appealing. Value packed drinking. 14% alc. $14.99. 28Jan2015.
West Brook Barrique Fermented Marlborough Chardonnay 2013 (sc) There's an alluring manuka woodsmoke scent and peach and tropical fruit fill the smooth creamy palate with the toasty oak integrating harmoniously and a touch of crème brûlée on the long juicy finish. Reminds me of one I liked years ago – perhaps the multi award winning 2007. Delicious drinking immediately. 13.1% alc. $19.99. 21Jan2015.
Westbrook Waimauku Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Complex nutty oak and sweet vanilla infusion to the smoky barrel ferment scent, custard and apricots also come to mind. Bright and spicy with tropical fruit that hints of dried pineapple together with melon and sweet citrus, a nutty mealy complexity, a harmonious smoky savoury oak backbone, smooth seamless flow and a long generous finish. Lovely wine. 13.5% alc. NZIWS Gold Medal Tasting 9Sep2014.
Wrights The Natural Wine Co Gisborne Organic Chardonnay 2013 (sc) Bright and fresh with abundant summer fruit flavours - melon, nectarine and pawpaw come to mind. It's very dry with a pleasing infusion of spices and zest. Plenty of concentration in this unoaked organic, bio-dynamic, vegetarian wine. 14.5% alc. $19.95. 24Sep2013.