4 STARS (91 pts)
The grapes of superior budwood clones for this classical variety were sourced from selected vineyards across the Hawkes Bay region: the low vigour freedraining alluvial loams of Bridge Pa, the gravelly soils of Gimblett Gravels and Ohiti wine growing districts, and the sandy soils of the Meeanee district.
Harvesting of the chardonnay grapes began on the 18th of March and finished on the 27th of March 2018, the fruit arriving into the winery in excellent condition.
Each vineyard parcel was vinified separately. The juice was barrel fermented, with 48% undergoing malolactic fermentation to achieve an integrated buttery texture. Thereafter each parcel spent ten months in oak (86% French, 14% American, of which 24% was new wood), with frequent lees stirring for enhanced complexity. The final wine was composed from selected batches to achieve the desired wine style, then rested for a month before bottling under screwcap on the 20th of February 2019.
This excellent Chardonnay is highly appealing, with pronounced yellow stonefruit, rock melon, nashi pear and ginger spice flavours, finishing with toasty oak and butterscotch notes. Fermentation and ageing in quality oak barrels has conferred lovely creamy weight, length and complexity. Enjoy with your favourite chicken or pork dish, or cellar judiciously for 3-4 years.