#newwinethisweek Week 49 – Chardonnay, New Zealand

Discovery

If New Zealand has a signature white wine it has to be Sauvignon Blanc. Since the first vintage of Cloudy Bay in 1985, the pungent flavours and aromas of gooseberries and tropical fruit, combined with searing acidity, have made Kiwi SB a favourite all over the world. But there is far more to New Zealand whites that SB; Riesling is made in every possible style, or how about luscious Pinot Gris or spicy Gruner Veltliner? In my mind, the very best white wines coming out of New Zealand these days are the Chardonnays; from crisp and mineral to fat and buttery, you can get it all from the land of the land of the long white cloud…

New Zealand

Credit: winetoursoftheworld.com

 

The area planted to vines in New Zealand was less than 6,000ha back in 1985; in 2013 that number was approaching 36,000ha. Sauvignon Blanc tops the tables with a massive 57% of plantings, followed by Pinot Noir at 15% and Chardonnay at 9%. The statistic from New Zealand Winegrowers also shows a small decline in Chardonnay plantings, but the best is getting better and the focus is heading towards quality, not quantity.

It used to be the case that the wines of the warmer climate of the North Island, from Auckland, Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, were fuller and richer; the Southern Island wines, including Marlborough

and Otago, had more citrus, minerality and acidity. These days, the winemaking techniques have evolved that Chardonnay is being made in a wide variety of styles across a wide variety of regions.

As we are learning with our #newwinethisweek investigation, it pays to spend a bit more with most wines; NZ Chardonnay is no exception. There is very little good quality wine available under £10 so I suggest you spend a couple of quid more and give yourself a real treat this week.

 

Villa Maria Private Bin Chardonnay 2012, Marlborough (Tesco £10.49)

Wairau Cove Chardonnay 2012, Gisborne (Tesco £10.99)

Kaituna Hills Reserve Chardonnay 2012, Marlborough (M&S £10.99)

The Society’s Exhibition Chardonnay 2013, Auckland (The Wine Society £13.50)

 

Or try out a couple of my favourites; a few quid more but won’t disappoint:

Seresin Chardonnay Reserve 2012, Marlborough (The Wine Society £18.00)

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2009, Auckland (Waitrose £18.99)

Felton Road Bannockburn Chardonnay 2011, Central Otago (Roberson £24.95)

Greywacke Chardonnay 2011, Marlborough (The Wine Society £27.00)

 

Whatever you choose just let us know what you think!

 

 

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Posted on December 8, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. It could be argued that I cheated a little bit this week, going for one of my favourite wines when #newwinethisweek is all about discovery… but I seriously just don’t care! Any excuse to pop open a bottle of Felton Road Chardonnay and I’m in.

    It was also an excuse to head for Roberson, round the corner from my workplace for only another 4 days now! I open for the Bannockburn 2011 for £24.95 and it met all of my expectations.

    Many of the reviews I’ve read about this wine liken it to Chablis, but I have to disagree; I know that we’re exploring new regions and all that but it really reminds me of a Premier Cru from Puligny. There is a wonderful balance of richness and tension here. On the nose the aromas are very rich; there is plenty of oak and lees bursting out but also lots of citrus and a delightful mineral not. on the palate the weight is very good and the fruit is peach and citrus, with perhaps a hint of the tropics. But what really makes this wine stand out is the blast of cool acidity that provides a real tension, precision and purity; the acidity hold everything together in perfect balance and leads to a long, fruity and slate-like finish.

    I am a big, big fan of Kiwi Chardonnay and there are many great winemakers out there, but in a world where top quality Chardonnay doesn’t come cheap, £25 really is a steal for a top notch drop that sits in the same bracket as Premier Cru Burgundy. Lovely stuff; 9/10

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