Fashionable yes, but JOHN BELSHAM reveals that New Zealand’s cool-climate chardonnays also show elegance, complexity and restraint.
I FIRST MADE CHARDONNAY in New Zealand in 1983, when only a few of us trusted that our land could produce serious, cool-climate styles. In those days the best chardonnay makers were justifiably revered. It was not long before others followed and our little industry prospered.
Today, cool-climate chardonnay is a fashionable buzz in the wine world. It even has its own annual international conference in Canada, where winemakers and enthusiasts alike gather to sip, share and celebrate chardonnay’s cool factor. In New Zealand, chardonnay is the only variety that shines in every region, north to south. The best of the best have tension, structure, harmony and ageing potential.
We are delighted with the top wines this year. The overall quality reflects maturity, restraint and the patience of the makers. The elegance, poise, textured complexity and vibrant tempo of the best wines are testament that New Zealand chardonnay is very cool!
FOR THE PEABODY FAMILY, establishing Craggy Range in Hawke’s Bay was never just another business venture, rather it was the opportunity to create a legacy, where heart, skill and perseverance could flourish over time. Placing the winery in a 1,000-year family trust, meant it was imperative from the start that the company foundation was correct. The Peabody family gathered a team of great minds to build a wine company that could move, adjust and evolve from generation to generation. Not a small task but great things seldom are.
From the start, chardonnay has been a winery darling. For winemaker Julian Grounds, it is the varietal that offers the “greatest opportunity to reflect both place and philosophy.” ‘Place’ for Craggy Range means the Gimblett Gravels, as the land continues to prove herself, and the winemaking philosophy has stayed true. The 2018 season was tailor made for premium chardonnay from Hawke’s Bay, with classic warm days and cool nights yielding grapes with ripe flavours, generous acidity and structure; everything vignerons love about producing wines in a cool climate. As Craggy Range nears its third decade, chardonnay will continue to be an important wine in their portfolio, and she will no doubt become and remain a darling in many hearts.
Spicy, floral and lightly toasted aromas open to flavours of ripe nectarine and red apple with softly integrated nutty oak. Layered with generous warm fruit which is expertly balanced with fine acidity, this results in a wine that demands attention.
Grown from vines that are over 30 years old, this perfectly balanced …2
A punchy style with delicious fruit supplemented by well-integrated toasty oak. Despite …3
Generous and creamy with attractive warm and toasty aromas. The palate is …4
Beautifully ripe with richness, juiciness, savoury oak and a touch of light …5
Not shy in its expression of toasty oak and creamy fruit yet …6
Punchy, alluring and simply delicious this youthful and toasty wine with spice …7
A chardonnay for those that enjoy bold aromas of vanillin supported by …8
A very tight and focussed style with flinty and savoury aromas. Despite …9
Charming and well-defined with an exquisite youthful colour. The bouquet is engaging …10