edited by Sue Courtney
Wine Reviews - Chardonnay
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 4 Jun 2007
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.
[2008/2007]        [1999 and older] [index]
Akarua Otago Chardonnay 2002 There's a kind of bubble-gum nuance together with juicy stonefruit - apricots, perhaps, this is fruity upfront with spicy oak coming through on the smoky finish. 24Jul2003.
Alana Estate Martinborough Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Grapefruit aromas with a leesy biscuity character on the nose and citrus and melons in the palate. It's a lighter, slightly sweeter style with a toasty butterscotch finish, perhaps overall just a little lean. 14% alc. $30.95. 16Jun2004.
Allan Scott Prestige Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 The bright gold colour leads into a rich, full palate with a lovely, barrel-fermented yeasty influence with nutty oak and citrussy fruit and a long, creamy, butterscotch filled finish with savoury oak coming forth as it lingers. $32. 19Sep2005.
Alpha Domus AD Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Lanolin and malolactic-influenced milky, yeast lees aromas with a floral perfume wafting around as well. The milky character on the nose continues into the palate with a spritziness on the front of the tongue, smoky spicy oak, juicy nectarines and a lemon polished oak finish. Quite tight right now, I'd like to see it integrate further. 13.5% alc. $16.50. 11Apr2005.
Alpha Domus Lightly Oaked Chardonnay 2002 A bright refreshing wine with zingy fruit and a flinty smokiness. Stonefruit flavours come out and the wine becomes quite oily and rich as the acid seems to drop right away. Serve chilled to avoid flabbiness. 23Sep2002.
Ascension Matakana Chardonnay 2002 Buttery, mellow, soft and fruity with spicy oak that lifts the finish. It's an early drinking style. $21.95. 11May2003.
Ascension 'The Ascent' Matakana Chardonnay 2002 Richer in every sense than it's stablemate. Barrel fermented and lees stirred with nutty, tropical and citrus fruit, it's still quite tight and will develop well. $29.95. 11May2003.
Ashwell Martinborugh Chardonnay 2002 (cork) Creamy nose full of spicy vanillin oak leads to a creamy full-bodied wine with lots of mealy flavour and lots of depth. A toasy wine, a creamy dreamy wine, laden with butter caramel and finishing with spicy oak. Tasted at a magazine's tasting where I was helping 'out the back' - my top chardonnay at this tasting and the only one I bothered to write more than 3 or 4 words on. 8Dec2003.
Astrolabe Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Pale lemon. Ripe peach fruit, caramel cream and mealy nutty barrel-ferment characters and a touch of spicy oak characterise this mellow round wine. It's approachable, soft and easy, ready to drink now and the finish is long. 13.5% alc. $22.95. 5Nov2003.
Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay 2002 Ripe creamy nose, stonefruit, caramel, figs. There's a funky wild yeast influence, caramel flavours and a creamy texture, caramel corn, spicy oak, a rich and savoury wine with layers of grapefruit, pineapple and melon with proscuitto, a mouthfilling wine, awe-inspiring. Very smart stuff. 12Nov2003.
Ata Rangi Petrie Vineyard Chardonnay 2002 – Martinborough A gold coloured mealy, barrel fermented chardonnay, it builds on the palate with stonefruits, figs and savoury oak to a warm mouthfilling finish. Long and sophisticated. 14% alc. $29.95. 25Aug2004.
Auntsfield Cob Cottage Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Lots of oak, varnishy, polished oak, on the nose and in the palate, very dominating at this stage but it has a great finish that shows the potential once the oak has integrated to the full rich toasty stonefruit flavours that come through to linger. Let the wine open up, swirl it a lot and you get caramel crème aromas and toffeed stonefruit flavours. Rounded, smooth and toasty, just give this wine a little time. 14% alc. $29.95. 29Jun2004.
Babich Unoaked East Coast Chardonnay 2002 (screw) There's a flinty struck match character to the aroma of this pale yellow coloured oily looking wine. It's oily in texture too with stonefruit flavours and a mealy yeast lees character that adds complexity, then a refreshing and slightly salty, pineapple-like finish. It's like a wine of 2 parts. $15.95. 6Nov2003.
Beach House Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Buttery, slightly caramelly and an exotic fruit character on the nose, it seems a little "hard" when first in the palate – put that down to the screwcap - a lifted wine, a wine to evolve – and it does in the glass to show lemon butter, peaches, spicy oak and just a touch of pineapple on the creamy, smoky finish. 14% alc. $22.95. 16Jun2004.
Belmonte Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Yellow gold in colour, savoury oak, peachy fruit, a touch of butterscotch, warm & cuddly, lots of flavour, ripe & balanced, good length. It's utterly approachable and hits the spot. Made by John Forrest. 14.5% alc. $18.95. 31Mar2004.
Black Barn Unoaked Chardonnay 2002 Oily and fruity aromas an oily texture in mouth plenty of stonefruit flavours. Serve slightly chilled for refreshing summer drinking. 23Sep2002.
Brancott Vineyards Gisborne Reserve Chardonnay 2002 A medium-gold coloured, creamy textured chardonnay with toasty oak and bold, ripe stonefruit flavours and a sweet oak finish. 13.5% alc. $13.95. 29Jun2005.
Brookfields Bergman Chardonnay 2002 - Hawkes Bay. A pale chardonnay with delicate creamy, nutty aromas and spicy melon and stonefruit flavours. It's a lovely and ripe with a good citrus attack and a powerfully rich mealy and slightly hot finish. A honeyed complexity emerges to linger with the stonefruit flavours in this characterful well-worked wine. $15.95. 22Jan2003.
Brookfields 'Deco' Unoaked Chardonnay 2002 There's a leesy backbone to the creamy, full-bodied, lemon and stonefruit-flavoured wine that has a rich buttery backbone. Juicy melon and tropical fruits come forth and pear flavours linger with hints of toffee. Made in a Chablis-style but the full malolactic gives it heaps of body and structure. One of the best 'unoaked' chardonnays I've tried. Snazzy blue 'deco' label too. 24Jul2003.
Brookfields Marshall Bank Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Big, rich toasty, leesy wine with spicy oak, tropical fruit and citrus. Good palate weight with a malo influence coming through and linger stonefruit on the savoury mealy finish. 6Jun2003.
Brajkovich Chardonnay 2002 Mealy aromas with a hint of melon then buttery, stonefruit and tropical fruit flavours with a creamy texture and a lifted finish with a touch of spice. A clean, fresh wine with lees stirring and malolactic flavours evident, although perhaps for the first time, this wine did not see 100% malolactic fermentation. A blend of 75% tank fermented wine and 25% barrel fermented wine in 2-3 year old oak, all the wine was lees stirred, including the tank fermented portion. Michael Brajkovich explained that, although it is difficult to do, they have adopted a tank lees-stirring technique developed in Bordeaux quite recently. It has given this wine a full rich character. RRP NZ$18.95. 13Aug2002.
Cable Bay Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2002 There's melon on the nose of this mouthfilling fruity style with mealy influence from the yeast lees aging. It's slightly nutty with nicely concentrated melon and tropical fruit and a good persistence of mouthfilling flavour. 30% new French oak. No mlf. 13.5% alc. $34. 26Sep2003.
Cairnbrae Clansman Chardonnay 2002 Creamy and fragrant with pineapple and butter, it's a ripe and very drinkable style. There's some classy winemaking traits apparent. Good length, I like it. 24Jul2003.
Cairnbrae Unoaked Chardonnay 2002 has some underlying richness to the peachy fruit, the texture is creamy and melon and spice lingers on the finish. 24Jul2003.
Carrick Central Otago Chardonnay 2002 (sc) This pale gold barrel fermented wine smells of grapefruit, lemon, toasty oak and yeast lees. Citrus, pear and apricot fruits laud over this rich full-bodied, nutty, creamy, savoury meaty spicy wine with a hint of clove and a suggestion of butterscotch that emerges on the finish. It's a wine that has obviously had a lot of work. A good food wine to match seafood as well as chicken or pork. 5Aug2003.
Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Quite gold for its age, this is a juicy wine with a smooth, rich, creamy texture, well-integrated spicy oak and full-bodied peachy fruit flavour. Bright juicy citrus and tropical fruit flavours lift the finish and linger well. ***1/2. 14% alc. $19.95. 18Jun2003.
Chard Farm Judge & Jury Chardonnay 2002 - Central Otago (sc) Greenish tints to the straw gold hue, the nose emits caramel creams and nutty, marzipan-like oak. Quite citrussy in the palate, it's fresh, lively and zesty with a lovely creamy texture, underlying peach and melon flavours and a long, savoury oak finish. Showing its youth, with its bright acidity it will definitely cellar well. 13.5% alc. $34.95. 19May2004.
Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Savoury oak on the nose with the aromas of honey cured bacon and hints of cedar. Cedary characters quite dominant in the palate, lots of wheaty flavours, lots of mealy spice, ginger, stonefruits then some heat on the finish that gives some indication to its 14% alcohol level. Not a blockbuster, just an elegantly smooth wine with a great deal of finesse. Good food wine with a youthful lemony yeast lees influences at this early stage of its life. RRP$32.95. 16Sep2003.
Church Road 'Cuve' Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Restrained on the nose, not very aggressive, just slightly nutty and lemony. It seems very light at first in the mouth but builds up in the palate and the power of the wine creeps up on you. I find it exceedingly mealy with lots of lemon, lemon meringue and spicy oak and a subtle stonefruit richness on the creamy palate. It's a little biscuity and the finish is strong and persistent. Lovely mouthfeel and definitely made to complement food. 50% new oak. Made to develop slowly and gracefully in the bottle. 16Sep2003.
CJ Pask Gimblett Road Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2002 Citrus, pineapple sage and stonefruit on the nose. Crisp, dry, lifted, reasonable weight, nice fruity finish. Terrific aromatics develop as the wine sits in the glass and the wine becomes quite intense in its savoury flavour with peachy fruits and spicy oak lingering. 13.5%. 17/20. 19May2003.
Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Very Burgundian and mellow, smelling of nuts and figs there's plenty of smoky oak but it is beautifully integrated and balanced. It's rich, mealy, spicy and savoury with stonefruit, melons, figs, nuts and tobacco. The fruit is sweet and intense and the flavour is long. This is a huge wine emanates class. Gold Medal Air NZ 2003 14.5% alc. $42.95. 5Nov2003.
Clearview Endeavour Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Lovely fragrant aromatics of caramel and mealy buttery oak, rich and full in palate, mealy and buttery with vanilla and apricot, a spicy backbone and a long, drawn-out, sweet-fruited, full-bodied mealy finish. From an exceptional vintage, this ultra-premium wine spent two years in French oak before being bottled into magnums. 14.5% alc. $200 (1.5 litres). 9Aug2004.
Cloudy Bay Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Yellow gold. Quite complex smelling with a savoury, yeast lees influence to the bright grapefruit-like aromas and oily citrus flavours in the palate with nectarine and tropical fruit building to a steely finish with a fresh edge. The finish is long and savoury with lovely balance and length and nutty oak as it lingers. It is starting to garner some bottle aged characters but still shows its youth and has life ahead of it. 14% alc. $34.95. 15Mar2006.
Coopers Creek Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Alluring in its yellow golden cold colour and immediately appealing to the nose and mouth too. Rich and full-bodied with buttery oak, caramel, peaches and a spicy pineapple flavour on the smooth long creamy finish. A wine to drink now rather than cellar and enjoyable with or without food. 14% alc. $15.95. 2Jun2004.
Coopers Creek Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2002 Light yellow gold in colour, this is a super-ripe, intense chardonnay with lemon and buttery oak aromas and flavours. It's buttery, spicy, mealy, v.v. rich, concentrated and powerful with sweet tropical fruits, nectarines and citrus. A multi-layered wine that is creamy and smooth yet juicy and flavoursome. There's lots going on. I rate it as delicious though it absolutely needs food. Simon recommends Crayfish Thermidor. I recommend buttered potatoes. 3July2003.
Coopers Creek Swamp Reserve Chardonnay 2002 – Hawkes Bay Toasty, mealy, rich and ripe with good fruit definition in the stonefruit, apricot, pineapple spectrum, obvious but well balanced acidity, a suede-like slightly grainy texture and a leesy, malolactic influence throughout. The rich toasty flavours lead into a sweet fruit finish and a long savoury aftertaste. A very stylish wine. 14% alc. $30.95. 26Jan2005.
Corazon Wines 'The Collective' Gisborne Chardonnay 2002 Buttery tropical fruit on the nose, it's fruit, creamy and nutty in the palate with a dry finish and lingering toasty butterscotch, tropical fruits, a touch of spice and a salty aftertaste. Made by Shayne Cox from hand-harvested Waiohika Estate grapes, whole bunch pressed and 100% barrel fermented. Third time lucky for the first two bottles that were opened were faulty. 20Aug2003.
Cottage Block Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Light gold, lightly toasted oak aromas, creamy oak, mealy, leesy, malo flavours with peach and yellow plum. A soft, smooth, creamy wine with lovely balance throughout, a buttery finish and excellent length. 13.5% alc. $30.95. 28Jul2004.
Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2002 Not an 'in your face' wine, there's plenty of citrus on a creamy caramel backbone. Quite tight, it opens up in the mouth to reveal sweet stonefruit. 11Nov2003.
Craggy Range Seven Poplars Chardonnay 2002 A creamy smooth Chardonnay with all the bells and whistles superbly crafted into a seamless mouthfilling wine. Toasty oak, rich stonefruits and melon, a gorgeous texture and a creamy caramel toffee finish, it's fat and fleshy and just cruises across the tastebuds. 13.5% alc. 3Sep2003.
Craggy Range Te Muna Road Martinborough Chardonnay 2002 Big, bold, golden chardonnay, rich and oaky, no holding back, the flavours powerhouse through the palate. Creamy, peachy, mealy, it's got heaps going for it. The fruit is of incredible intensity, it lingers with the oak that mellows on the finish. 14.5% alcohol, it’s not for the faint-hearted. *****. 30Dec2003.
Crossroads Collectors Edition Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 A gorgeous creamy Chardonnay with ripe citrus and nectarine flavours melding with savoury oak and lingering with a long, buttery, mouthfilling finish. There's enough acidity to match to seafood but it is definitely robust enough for richer food. A lovely rich Chardonnay that delivers everything the classy label promises. 14.5% alc. $32. 10Sep2004.
Crossroad Destination Series Chardonnay 2002 with its mellow oaky aromas and lovely ripe peach, nectarine and summer stone fruit flavours is just delicious on its own. It's a beautiful Chardonnay showing the quality of the vintage. $24.95. 15Mar2003.
Daniel Schuster Petrie Vineyard Selection Rakaia Chardonay 2002 Light gold. Rich bready aromas. Bright citrus acidity in the palate. It's a rich creamy wine with savoury oak, citrus and apricot-like stonefruit and an almost sherbet-like finish. Peach sherbet perhaps. Slightly grainy texture. A mealy wine with acidity dominating right now but you can be sure it will give it the capacity to age and mellow nicely. 13% alc. $30. 14Feb2004.
Dashwood Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Easy going, nice mealy backbone with some caramel joining the citrussy, peachy fruit. Spicy finish. Has the age and is drinking nicely now. 11Nov2003.
Delegats Reserve Hawkes Bay Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2002 Mealy, lemony on the nose. Very mouth-filling and harmonious in the palate, peachy flavours, a touch of butterscotch and spicy oak on the mealy finish. Quite fleshy with just a touch of citrus peel and yeasty flavours as it lingers. 14% alc. $19.95 special. 16Jun2004.
Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Light gold in colour with smoky, leesy aromas that have a buttery nuance. A big, mouthfilling wine with full malo treatment that gives a rich, creamy backbone with toasty oak, pineapple, grapefruit, caramel and a savoury richness to the spicy finish. 14% alc. $31.95/$27.95. 25May2005.
Dry River Martinborough Chardonnay 2002 Light gold in colour with a touch of petillance in the glass. Smells fruity and just a little floral with a good backing of toasty oak and spicy stonefruits. In the palate toasty savoury oak, stonefruits, spice, honeydew melon, ripe, fruity and beautifully balanced. A mouthfilling style with plenty of oak influence, good length and wonderful persistence, a wine that opens up and reveals so much more with time, I would continue to cellar this if I had any more. 13% alc. Cork. 18/20. 7Mar2004.
Esk Valley Black Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Nutty, melon and barrel-ferment aromas, soft and creamy with good acidity, citrus and fruit salad flavours, spicy mellow oak and good length. Screwcap closure. 14% alc. 1Oct2003.
Esk Valley Reserve Chardonnay 2002 Lemony, leesy, hint of grapefruit, a big, rich, mealy chardonnay with lots of spicy mealy influences, roast peach and plum and a long savoury backbone with some salted nuts on the finish. A lovely rich wine in which oak is nicely integrated and the fleshy stonefruits come forth on the finish. ***** 7Aug2003.
Felton Road Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2002 - Bannockburn, Central Otago With its yeasty, freshly baked bread aromas, it's like putting your nose into a good Champagne. It's leesy with lots of citrus and grapefruit flavours indicating cool climate. It's ripe though, ripe and rich with terrific palate weight and a smooth creamy texture. Flavours of caramel, fresh crusty bread, buttered toast and creamy nuts wax and wane with the fruit. The acidic backbone gives structure. The finish is dry and makes you want more. Just like you do with Champagne! 14% alc. $35.95. 9Jul2003.
Felton Road Unoaked Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Pale gold in colour with creamy cashews on the nose, it's packed with citrus, apricot and juicy nectarine with just a smidgen of butterscotch creaminess to soften the lingering zesty finish. It's bright and breezy with a slightly nutty, yeastiness throughout and absolutely no oak. 21Jan2004.
Fiddler's Green Waipara Chardonnay 2002 This is a pale gold citrussy wine with a creamy backbone. It's smoky and seems a little dominated by custardy oak right now but it is a hugely rich, full-bodied wine with a ripe stonefruit richness and sweet alcohol on the finish. It's nutty and savoury and has an intriguing smoked apple, yeast leesy thing going on as well. Try it with smoked chicken. 5Aug2003.
Forrest Estate Vineyard Select Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Appealing from the outset with juicy, creamy, toasty, yum-pronouncing aromatics, the taste is not a let down. Toasty oak, smoke, powerful sweet ripe fruit, good acidity and behind this all a beautifully balanced mouthfilling richness brought about by barrel-fermentation, malolactic and lees-stirring. Very classy without overpowering. 14% alc. $28.95. 20Oct2004.
Framingham Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Toasty lemony oak, mealy stonefruit and a spicy backbone, warming in the palate, lovely concentrated fruit with stonefruit and just a touch of citrus to lift the finish. A wine with lovely juicy fruit sweetness and a toasty persistence with just a hint of a savoury character as it lingers. 14% alc. $22.95. 16Jun2004.
Gladstone Wairarapa Chardonnay 2002 A pale lemon wine that has slightly dull grapefruit and oily scents. There's lots of acidity in the palate with sherbet and nutty oak. Seems to be quietly lacking in oomph but has good palate weight and texture while citrus dominates the mellow finish. It's a citrus, oily, savoury, leesy style with lingering mandarin flavours. 5Aug2003.
Goldwater Roseland Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Fragrant honeyed oak aromas and a spicy palate with lots of lemon acidity balanced to the mellow oak flavour, this has quite a yeast leesy backbone and a sweet stonefruit finish that lingers with savoury nuances. 24Jul2003.
Goldwater Zell Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2002 Strong savoury oak aromas, perhaps a little salty on the nose, the influence of the maritime growing conditions, perhaps. Grapefruit leesy characters make this a Burgundian style to the taste. A wine that is more influenced by winemaking than fruit at this stage with underlying tropical and stonefruits. A creamy textured, savoury wine. 24Jul2003.
Greenhough Nelson Chardonnay 2002 (sc)Dry, mealy, lovely integration of oak, white honey, stonefruit, citrus and a hint of the tropics. An apealing wine that lingers well. Oct2002.
Greenhough Single Vineyard Nelson Chardonnay 2002 A richer sweeter wine than the Nelson sibling, lovely balance, savoury mealiness, oak backbone, subtle and harmonious, not overpowering, Sophisticated if you like, or just absolutely gorgeous. Now there's some caramel and toffee overlain with lemon that lifts the aftertaste in the palate as it lingers. 100% French oak. 11Nov2003.
Grove Mill Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Medium gold with citrus, lemon meringue and creamy oak on the nose, it seems a little light at first but opens up with sitting when some caramel flavours emerge. A lovely ripe, well balanced, sweet-fruited wine with everything you want but perhaps lacks a bit in weight which makes it easy to drink. Coming back to it, it definitely has weight and lovely sweet fruits influenced very much by citrus with a touch of honey, botrytis perhaps, it finishes like a Riesling. This is a chardonnay that will go well with white fleshed seafood and chicken dishes. 14% alc. Cork. 17/20. 7Mar2004.
Gunn Estate Skeetfield Chardonnay 2002 Full, rich, lots of spicy oak with quite juicy stone and melon fruit and a powerful finish. A very good wine, drinking well now but will develop. 24Jul2003.
Gunn Estate Unoaked Chardonnay 2002 Lots of acidity, melon-dominant flavours, tank ferment, no mlf, just a light and easy uncomplicated wine. 24Jul2003.
Herons Flight Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2002 Creamy mellow oak on the nose, full-bodied and dry in the palate with crisp stonefruits leading into a creamy finish with good length. Well balanced. Nice to drink on its own or with food. 31Dec2003.
Highfield Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Yellow gold. Smoky with rich creamy oak, stonefruit, citrus and a nutty, toasty barrel-ferment influence. Showing lovely development yet still very fresh with a powerful, full-bodied finish. 14% alc. $32.50.9Nov2005.
Huntaway Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2002 A lifted, barrel-fermented style not showing much on the nose initially but soft and creamy in the palate with ripe fig and stonefruit, mealy spicy biscuits and just a touch of caramel. Not over the top in oak and a great wine for social occasions. 13.5% alc. $17.95. 5Nov2003.
Lake Chalice Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay 2002 Lots of juicy tropical fruit flavours. An attractive, clean, fruity wine and 5 grams of residual sugar makes it very user friendly. It is an interesting alternative to the normal style of chardonnay. NZ$18.95. 22Jul2002.
Lawson Dry Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Grapefruit. Mealy, barrel-ferment aromas. Slightly burnt smelling. Smoky, with a hint of nougat, good fruit concentration, bright lifted tropical fruit and a hint of grilled pineapple and a savoury character as it lingers. A big wine with a long tasty, sweet oak finish, but slightly marred by Sulphur. However, the S will reserve the wine for the long haul. 14% alc. $24.95. 24May2005.
Lincoln Heritage Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2002 A warm mealy wine with vibrant pineapple and mandarin fruit, spicy vanillin oak, juicy, with lots of flavour, rich mealy creamy cashew fills out the body and lengthens the finish with flavours like the fresh burst of juicy fruit gum lingering. A little more simplistic than the 'Reserve' but very good and quite appealing, nevertheless. A couple of days later this is creamy, fruity and just really nice to drink. It's a little nutty on the finish. $20. **** 26May2003.
Lincoln Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2002 Strong mealy, nutty oak and fruit on the nose. Creamy, tropical and stone fruit flavours, vibrant and savoury with terrific fruit fleshing out the finish and a hint of butterscotch lingering. The promise the vintage offers is definitely here in this wine. A couple of days later this full rich creamy wine shows off its excellent melon, pineapple and nectarine-like fruit character. Lots of oak. $30. ****½. 26May2003.
Kaituna Valley Canterbury Chardonnay 2002 Bright gold with perfumed scents of spicy French oak and citrus, lots of class exudes from the glass. There's a touch of grapefruit and a creamy malolactic influence with biscuity, honeyed oak, green melons and limes. Slightly oily in the palate with mouthfilling richness, the acidity refreshes the palate while warm French oak and ripe stonefruit flavours linger. 14% alc. $18.95. 24Mar2004.
Kaituna Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Light yellow in colour with a malolactic influence and subtle yeast lees character on the nose, then grapefruit, lime, passionfruit and vanilla in the palate. Quite understated in its attack, what you'd call an 'elegant' wine but it becomes richer as the flavours build with tropical fruit, yellow plums and spicy oak leading into a warm full finish. A touch of butterscotch lingers. 14% alc. $18.95. 24Mar2004.
Kawarau Estate Reserve Central Otago Chardonnay 2002 Well-coloured medium gold. Yeasty barrel ferment influences on the nose with grapefruit zest, toasty oak and stonefruit - smells well worked. An immediately mouthfilling, full-bodied style with good acidity softened by creamy malo influences and rich flavours of citrus, apricots and toasty oak. A powerful wine with a long finish, it's a bit too big and funky to drink on its own but is terrific with food and will stand up to powerful flavours like smoked salmon. 13.5% alc. Cork. 18/20. 7Mar2004.
Kemblefield Signature Chardonnay 2002 Pale straw with a butter aromas, a little oily without much oak influence, a terrifically fruity wine with apple, citrus and stonefruit and a creamy finish. Easy drinking approachable style. 14% alc. 30Apr2003.
Kemblefield Distinction Chardonnay 2002 Lovely sweet fruited chardonnay, smoky, full of ripe stonefruits, figs and honey oak with a touch of tropical fruit and nicely balanced spicy oak that lingers. Lots of flavour, lovely balance of fruit to oak, a crowd pleaser. 14% alc. $23.95. 8Mar2004.
Kerr Farm Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Sweet nose, quite right and mealy in the mouth, aromatic, stone fruit richness, a little herbal, slightly bitter / grapefruit peel / finish. Good length, the wine grows on you but it lacks the depth of fruit that many 2002's from Hawkes Bay have. Good accompaniment to lamb braised in white wine. 15.5/20. 13.5%. 11May2002.
Kim Crawford Unoaked Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Well coloured for a 2002, this is a rich toasty buttery wine, although the wine has seen no oak. It has, however, had 100% malolactic fermentation and the butterscotch flavours were quite overpowering when this wine was tasted just two days after bottling. But the buttery flavours melt in the mouth to meld with the layers of tropical fruit and citrus. I love the textural complexity of this rich and concentrated wine. NZ$19.95. 22Jul2002.
Kim Crawford Doc's Block Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Shining bright lemon gold in the glass, this reeks of buttery oak and sweet stone fruits on the nose. It's a full-bodied, tasty, slightly oily textured juicy wine with lots of spicy oak, hazelnuts, butterscotch, caramel corn and ripe stone fruits that balance the bright youthful acidity. It gives an impression of sweetness but it is dry. Sealed with a screwcap, this is ready to drink now. 13.5% alc. $23.95. 23Apr2002.
Kim Crawford Tietjen-Briant Gisborne Chardonnay 2002 Light gold. Buttery tropical and stonefruit aromas. Well structured, smooth and creamy with juicy tropical and fleshy melon and peach fruit, popcorn, butter, smoke, spice and a polished oak finish. Lingers well with good acidity. Drink now or cellar confidently - it has a screwcap. 12.5% alc. $29.95. 30Apr2003.
Kim Crawford Te Awanga Chardonnay 2002 (screw) Yellow gold and a level up in structure, mouthfillingly tasty with heaps of power and heaps of flavour. It's full-bodied, rich and spicy with buttered brioche, butterscotch, honeyed oak, stonefruit, apricot and underlying mealy, barrel-ferment characters on a spicy oak backbone. The intensity doesn't let up at any time. Hot on the finish. 14.3% alc. $28.95. 5Nov2003.
Kumeu River Matés Vineyard Chardonnay 2002 - Auckland Clear and brilliant in the glass, this lemony-coloured wine has lots of leesy, yeasty, malo and grapefruit skin characters on the nose. In the palate there's pears, melons, lemons, hints of grapefruit, brioche and nuts. A multi-layered wine with a smooth creamy texture and an elegance that flows. Spicy oak lingers. 13% alc. $48.95. 9Jul2003.
Lincoln Reserve Barrel Ferment Gisborne Chardonnay 2002 Light yellow gold, vanilla bean & stonefruit on nose with a hints of musk and toasty oak, there's a youthful barrel-ferment influence with pink bubblegum, lots of tropical fruit, yellow guavas and banana passionfruit. Lots of interest in this long, juicy, flavoursome wine with good mouthfeel and linger flavours of spice, vanilla and stonefruits. We liked this and with its soft acidity it can definitely take chilling. 14% alc. $19.95. 24Mar2004.
Main Divide Canterbury Chardonnay 2002 A big rich golden buttery Chardonnay that is smooth, spicy and mealy with toasty ripe stonefruit, white raisin and pineapple. A great crowd pleaser and a delicious way to start the evening. 14% alc. 10Sep2003.
Martinborough Vineyards Chardonnay 2002 Buttery, lanolin, lactic (mlf) influences. The lactic character dominates the palate too. Cheesy with savoury oak, oak spice and stonefruit sweetness. Rich, full-bodied and mealy with emerging caramel that broadens the creamy finish. Needs to settle a bit at this stage. Has the potential to become excellent with time. Much improved the next day. 13.7% alc. $33. 21May2004.
Matariki Aspire Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Lemon gold. A fruit style, partially oaked, it's got a strong melon and citrus backbone with a yeasty complexity and underlying grapefruit and spice, some creamy pineapple lingers on the toasty finish. Quite mouthfilling for a light, fruity, drink now style. Very approachable. $19.50. 11Oct2003.
Matariki Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 This light gold wine smells quite sophisticated. Citrus aromas mingle with quite toasty spicy oak and there's a savoury mealy richness to the flavour. A dry wine, seamless in its flow, full-bodied in its power with grapefruit nuances on finish. A quality wine with lots of winemaker influences making it hard to pick the region but who cares, it's so enjoyable and will be a classy addition to that Saturday night dinner. 13.5% alc. $28.95. 2Jun2004.
Matua Valley Ararimu Gisborne Chardonnay 2002 Light gold. Rich, full aromas of melon and creamy oak, abundant melon and tropical fruit flavours with integrated nutty oak and well-balanced, nicely done malo. This finish is long, dry and elegantly spicy, nuances of passionfruit emerge to linger with melon. Still quite tight and has a long way to go. 13.5% alc. $42. 22Mar2005.
Matua Valley Eastern Bays Chardonnay 2002 Closed herbal aromas. Sour, dull and quite bland. Opens up a little to show some tropical fruit and mealy characters but overall a simple style with subtle oak in the background. 13.5% alc. **½ 19May2002.
Matua Valley Matheson Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 A rich creamy Chardonnay that has a solid fruit backbone with flavours of pears and stonefruit supported by mealy oak. It's been in the bottle 6 months and is developing nicely with potential to develop further. $21. 16Mar2003.
Matua Valley Judd Estate Chardonnay 2002 A pale gold, peachy, perfumed, fragrant wine, light, creamy with banana esters, peach and juicy tropical fruit. A simple easy-going style, perhaps a little uni-dimensional at this stage but it has a pleasing toasty bready finish and would be quite popular with the punters. It just lacks a little complexity at this stage. 5Aug2003.
Mills Reef Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Toasty oak on the nose and mellow toasting oak in the palate with well balanced melons, citrus and a touch of tropical fruits. Lively, full flavoured, smooth and creamy with mellow oak lingering. Unbelievable value at $13.95. 11Apr2003.
Mills Reef Reserve Chardonnay 2002 - Hawkes Bay A golden coloured wine with rather appealing aromatics, a big full-bodied leesy wine with lots of toasty pineapple, spicy oak and buttery vanillin oak. Slight chilling subdues some of the flavours but as it warms up, which it will quickly do in this weather, the stonefruit richness comes through. 13.5% alc. 7Jan2004.
Mission Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Pale gold, very bright. Nice easy drinking style with flavours of pineapple, stonefruits, nuts, a touch of mealiness and a little bit of buttery oak. A well-made wine and one that would go well with buttered corn on the cob this summer. Good value for under $15. 6Nov2002.
Mission Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Pale gold. Creamy buttery mellow oak aromas with hints of spiced peach, this is an immediately approachable and drinkable wine with a smoky influence from the spicy savoury oak and just enough citrus to leave a tingling sensation in the mouth. 10 months in French oak. 14% alc. $22.95. 30Apr2003.
Mission Estate Jewelstone Chardonnay 2002 - Hawkes Bay Pale yellow. Rich, nutty, leesy, mealy and toasty French oak aromas. Sweet, ripe peachy fruit with wonderfully integrated spicy, savoury oak and a rich creamy, mealy texture. It's creamy and rich with lingering peach and smoky savoury oak. This is a complex interesting wine but still tightly enclosed in its cocoon right now and has lots of developing to do. The signs are all there that this is a wine that will reward cellaring, it is a wine that will last and given enjoyable drinking for years to come. The intensity of sweet stonefruit and the incredible length of flavour in this wine is to me what the 2002 Hawkes Bay vintage is all about - profound fruit flavours and fantastic length. *****. 13.5% alc. $28.95. 18Jun2003.
Morton Estate Black Label Chardonnay 2002 - Hawkes Bay (sc) A deep gold coloured, rich, ripe, oaky style with a little age. There's citrus, stonefruit and perhaps a slightly flinty, struck match character on the nose and a spicy and savoury flavour with a creamy richness, a powerful finish and a long aftertaste. Despite it being almost five years old, there's still plenty of life ahead for this curvaceous beauty queen. 14.5% alc. $36.99. 17Jan2007.
Morton Estate Private Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Light gold in colour with subtle toasty scents that become quite creamy with a little time. The palate opens up well with toasty oak, stonefruit, spice and nutty melted butter leading into a long, full powerful finish with a sweet juicy fruit aftertaste and lingering flavours of ripe stonefruit. Quite creamy and mouthfilling, a wine with a little age. Matured for 12 months in new French oak. 14.5% alc. $19.95. 8Jan2005.
Morton Estate White Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Smelling of rich toasty oak, stonefruit and pineapple-like tropical fruit, this is sweet and ripe in the palate with a creamy texture and a long savoury finish with grilled stonefruit flavours lingering. An easy drinking style with a smoky, spicy oak aftertaste. 14% alc. $15.95. 8Jan2005.
Mount Riley Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Ripe tropical fruits, passionfruit on the nose. Sugary, buttery, tastes a little disjointed right now with a sweet, ripe fruit finish that lingers with banana and tropical fruit flavours finish. Good length. Opens up well and could be a better proposition in the Spring (i.e. September). ***½ . 19May2002.
Mount Riley Seventeen Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Lovely rounded creamy scents with hints of stonefruit lead into a smooth textured, quite savoury flavour with citrus and melons, a touch of tobacco and a spiciness to the finish. A beautifully made wine that is seamless in its balance but is showing a little restraint tonight. 14% alc. $32.95. 20Oct2004.
Mt Difficulty Chardonnay 2002 - Central Otago (sc) Bright yellow, fairly smoky, the mealy, yeasty, fig and spicy oak aromas hint to the 50% barrel fermentation that this wine has had. It's a big, full-bodied, ripe buttery wine, fairly warm in the mouth, with flavours of grilled pineapple and savoury oak leading into a dry, slightly spicy, prickly finish. Lingers well. 14.5% alc. $27.95. 19May2004.
Mudbrick Vineyard Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2002 Quite shy on the nose, there's a good citrus core to this mealy, rich wine building to a powerful biscuity finish. Tropical fruit and melon flavours linger with a touch of grapefruit as the flavour persists. 26Sep2003.
Muddy Water Waipara Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Immediately mouthfilling with its full-bodied caramel crème, caramel corn, mealy oak and tropical fruit with a sliver of sweetness on the finish. Lots of work has gone on here. Nice to drink on its own and great with a variety of foods. We enjoyed it with grilled crayfish and salmon that had been cut into pieces and marianted with fresh summer herbs, quickly cooked in butter and the pan deglazed with a touch of crandy an coconut cream. 7Feb2004.
Murdoch James Unoaked Martinborough Chardonnay 2002 Fresh and fruity, nice spice and palate weight, touch of oiliness and peach fruit complexity. 18Aug2002.
Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2002 Richly aromatic, a little reminiscent of butter icing-sugar on the nose. Sweet ripe stonefruits, good weight and length. Spicy oak, mealy finish. Rich and balanced. Very good. ****½ (18/20). 19May2003.
Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2002 A very tight, taut, mealy, leesy, wine, shy on the smoky nose at first but rich and powerful in the palate. A well-worked influenced by barrel ferment characters of figs, buts and yeast lees, it opens up in the glass to become rich and fruity with honeyed oak and a warm leesy backbone. It's multi-layered with a myriad of flavours on the firm citrus backbone. Ripe stonefruit flavours linger. Youthful and fresh, it's a stunning chardonnay that's very, very impressive. 25Sep2003.
Nga Waka Martinborough 'Home Vineyard' Chardonnay 2002 Well-coloured medium gold. Plenty of polished oak on the nose, it's rich and mealy with figs and stonefruit and perhaps just a whiff of sulphur that quickly blows off. Ripe and round in the palate, meaty and spicy with musk, fig and honeydew melon, rich and mouthfilling with absolutely everything in the right place. Has a touch of sweetness on the finish with good acidity to support it. The finish is savoury and long. Overall rating is 'delicious'. Excellent with smoked salmon, potatoes with Caesar dressing and salad - an all-rounder. 14% alc. 7Mar2004.
Ngatarawa 'Alwyn' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Light and fruity, pink bubblegum and fruit salad on nose with a light backing of toffee/toasty oak. Give this wine a little time to open up in the glass to reveal its true power, as it seems simple and delicate at first but builds well in the palate with ripe peach, citrus and spicy pineapple on classy finely integrated smoky French oak and a long savoury finish. There's an underlying mealy influence and the texture is creamy. Will be perfect with delicately flavoured food that does not overpower the wine. 13.5% alc. Cork. 17.5/20. 7Mar2004.
Ngatarawa Glazebrook Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Creamy toasty oak on the nose, mealy with lots of caramel, poached nectarine, pear, peach pie, soft acidity, a touch of pink bubblegum and a long spicy oak-filled finish. Mouthfilling and long. A good rich HB Chardonnay at a reasonable price. 13.5% alc. 18Feb2004.
Nikau Point Reserve Chardonnay 2002 - Hawkes Bay Pale gold with smoky spicy toast and citrus aromas, this is ripe, juicy and creamy with savoury toasty oak, bright tropical fruit and a warm mealy, hot tangy finish. 14% alc. $17.95 . 25Jun2003.
Nobilo Fernleaf Gisborne Chardonnay 2002 Lightly oaked, smooth and creamy, bursting with tropical fruit, citrus, stonefruit and melon, a lovely summery style to whisk away the winter blues, delicious for a social or pre-dinner drink or to match to seafood, chicken or salad. $10.95. 25Jun2004.
Nobilo Icon Chardonnay 2002 A warm deep wine with a mealy barrel ferment influence, mouth filling, full-bodied and toasty with a lovely peachy character throughout and a long toasty finish. A blend of Gisborne and Hawkes Bay, drinking well now. 14% alc. $20.95. 16Jun2004.
Nobilo Poverty Bay Chardonnay 2003 Ligthly smoky, fresh and fruity to the nose. Light, smooth and creamy to the taste with a tropical fruit, zingy, pineapple-like fresh flavour with a lingering creamy finish and a subtle oak aftertaste. 13% alc. (cork) 26Dec2003.
Northrow Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 (sc ) A big mealy style, full of mellow oak, butter, pineapple and creamed nut on the nose. A rich, fat, full-bodied, rounded chardonnay with lots of malolactic, buttery layers coating the fruit. A powerful wine that's made to go with food. Chardonnay drinkers will just love it. 25Oct2003.
Okahu Estate Clifton Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Medium gold, a little closed on the nose at first, there's a touch of matchstick (sulphur) and apple. It's light and fruity in the palate with stonefruit and citrus on a smoky, mealy backbone with creamy oak and loads of fruit on the finish but overall just a little hard. 13% alc. 15.5/20. 7Mar2004.
Okahu Estate Shipwreck Bay Northland Chardonnay 2002 Aromatic, lemon citrus scents. Mealy style, creamy, milky with solid lemon acidity and sweeter pineapple. Seems quite lean at first opens up well to become quite warm and rich in the mouth. Tropical fruit flavours linger. 12%. *** (16/20). 19May2002.
Palliser Estate Martinborough Chardonnay 2002 (sc) You know you have a mouthful when you taste this thick textured light gold-coloured wine with its peachy stonefruit flavours. Spicy oak, lots of acidity, tropical and stone fruits, really nice syrupy mouthfeel, good weight and length. Mealy, yeasty, spicy, and nutty with lots of acidity. A very well made wine. Warm and rich with a peach nectar finish goes on and on. **** (17.5/20). 19May2003.
Pegasus Bay Waipara Chardonnay 2002 Rich, mealy and spicy on the nose, a little earthy too from the yeast lees. Round and harmonious, it is settling down since last tasted. Lively fruit lingers on the finish with a cool, smooth caramel crème richness. 11Nov2003.
Pencarrow Martinborough Chardonnay 2002 (sc) A bright light tropical fruit flavoured chardonnay with definite pineapple flavours. Mealy, tropical fruits, creamy texture, subtle oak influence. Very easy to drink. A crowd pleaser. It went fabulously with a herb seasoned roasted chicken one night and then the next with chicken breasts in a pineapple sage sauce. 5May2002.
Peregrine Central Otago Chardonnay 2002 - Central Otago Light onion-skin gold in colour, this smells quite oaky with caramel overtones. It's a rich full-bodied wine that tastes a little developed with its mellow mealy woody flavours, peach, nectarine, apricot, pear, savoury oak and lingering tropical fruit, a pleasant 'drink-now' wine but showing some bottle variation tonight. 14% alc. $24. 27Aug2003.
Rimu Grove Nelson Chardonnay 2002 Medium gold. This reeks of lactic traits on the nose and almost seems oxidised but opens up a bit with sitting to reveal peachy fruit and smoky mellow oak. It's a big weighty wine, quite oaky with funky yeast and sweet spicy stonefruits and almost seems overworked. Spicy oak lingers. But the milky malolactic influences detract for me. 13.5% alc. Cork. 15.5/20. 7Mar2004.
Rockburn Central Otago Chardonnay 2002 Quite shy on the nose with some yeasty bread and caramel scent. It's a leesy wine with tropical fruit flavours, toffee, caramel and toasty oak. A very balanced wine, it's rich but not OTT in flavour. 24Jul2003.
Sacred Hill 'Riflemans' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Pale gold. Peach and cashew nuts on nose, well integrated sweet oak in palate, lots of malo gives a full-bodied creamy texture, citrus and spicy oak comes out on the finish. Powerful and long, very harmonious throughout. Shows its class. 14% alc. $33.95. 3Mar2004.
Sacred Hill Barrel Fermented Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Quite a fragrant wine with citrus, melon and 'unwrapped grapefruit' aromas. Lifted acidity and spicy oak in the palate with stonefruits, tropical fruits and a touch of butter caramel on the long smooth finish which lingers with a lemon bread biscuity character. 13.5% alc. $18.95. 16Jun2004.
Saint Clair Unoaked Chardonnay 2002 A rich, full-bodied fruity wine with attractive juicy fruit aromas and citrus and stonefruit flavours on a creamy, caramel backbone. Some pineapple develops and lingers on the finish. Has no oak but a toasty richness nevertheless from the 100% malo and extended lees contact. $18.95. 12Feb2003.
Saint Clair Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 The appealing smoky nose reminds me of summer fires and fresh ripe figs while the savoury, wheaty flavour with lots of malo influence has hints of ripe nectarines. Made with American oak, this is a terrific easy drinking well-balanced chardonnay with spicy oak and a lovely creamy texture. $17.95. 12Feb2003.
Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2002 Tasted from a barrel sample: With the colour and appearance of pineapple juice, the suggestion of this fruit definitely carries through to the palate. There's plenty of acidity in this unfinished wine, with hints of butterscotch and a terrific balanced oaky flavour that is a hallmark of the Saint Clair Omaka Chardonnay. One to look out for when it is finished for bottling late next month and released soon thereafter. 12Feb2003.
Sanctuary Chardonnay 2002 A light and easy style full of ripe stone and citrus fruit. Zingy and refreshing. Little influence of oak. 9Sep2002.
Seifried Nelson Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2002 (sc) There's some development and complexity to the fragrant, toasty oak aromas of this bright, citrine-hued wine with lots of mouthfilling, rich, creamy buttery oak flavours good citrus acidity, toasty stonefruit, hints of grapefruit on the long full finish and cinnamon on the spicy aftertaste. A big oaky Kingsley style, for sure. 14.5% alc. $26.95. 9Feb2005.
Selaks Founders Reserve Chardonnay 2002 - Marlborough Pale gold with a gemmy glow. Inviting peach, melon and mellow mealy oak aromas. Good dollop of spicy oak leads into a beautifully textured, warm, mealy, rich wine with a lovely toastiness and lots of fruit. It's a big full style that is warm, round, textured, with terrific length. Simply a great chardonnay. Drink & enjoy for the next 3 years. 14% alc. 8Oct2003.
Selaks Premium Selection Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Fig, lemon and spicy oak aromas. Ripe tropical fruit, hints of bananas and vanilla custard. Citrus flavours linger. 13% alc. ***. (16/20) 19May2002.
Shepherds Ridge Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Straw gold in colour with smoky, mealy, melon, stonefruit and savoury oak, the palate fills out with tropical fruit. It's a dry medium to full-bodied wine, full of spice with honeyed oak and a creamy backbone, finishing dry and flinty with lingering smoke and a touch of lemon on apricot. 14% alc. 22Oct2003.
Shingle Peak Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Spicy oak, vibrant tropical fruits, bananas and baked apples. Bright and breezy, easy style. 13% alc. *** (15.5/20). 19May2003.
Sileni Cellar Selection Chardonnay 2002 (screwcap) Pale yellow gold. A warm rich toasty wine with mouthfilling stonefruits, apricot and custard and bright citrus on the spicy lees-influenced finish that is crisp and refreshing with lingering tropical fruits. A blend of 55% Hawkes Bay and 45% Gisborne fruit, 80% was fermented in tank and the rest in oak. 13.5% alc. $21.95. 19Nov2003.
Sileni Estate Selection Chardonnay 2000 Yellow gold. Mellow spicy oak and butterscotch on the nose, creamy butterscotch caramel in the palate. It's a lovely rich mouthfilling wine with a firm acid backbone, a creamy texture and plenty of oak but it is well-integrated oak and lets the concentrated stonefruits sing. Spicy grilled peaches and nutty nougat flavours linger on the deliciously savoury finish. You need a big glass of this to appreciate all that's going on. Then another to experience it all again. 60% new French oak. 13.5% alc. $34.95. 19Nov2003.
Sileni 'The Lodge' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 (screwcap) Light gold. Creamy smelling with sweet seductive oak, wheat, lemon tart and vanilla pod, after the Leeuwin this is so ready to drink. It does have lots of oak but it is all in harmony with the tropical and stone fruits. A wine with lovely mouthfeel and terrific length with a touch of caramel and warm spicy oak lingering. 14% alc. $34.95. 24Mar2004.
Soljans Barrique Fermented Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 A fruity smelling, sligthly smoky wine that is ripe and creamy with a good concentration of peachy stonefruits and nutty oak which is nicely mellow and lingers with a creamy butterscotch richness. The finish is dry and slightly savoury and salty which makes it quite more-ish. Nice use of spicy vanillin oak. A wine I'd be happy to take to dinner as most people will drink it and enjoy it. 21Aug2003.
Spencer Hill Coastal Ridge Chardonnay 2002 (cork)Wheaty with white peach and mellow oak on the nose. Warm and full-bodied in the palate, mealy and rich with toffee, honeyed oak and stonefruits. Good length, spicy oak, lovely richness of stonefruit, a touch of apricot (which gives the acidity). A big mouthfilling wine with a great deal of finesse and power. However it is very tight when first opened and needs time to evolve. This note was made when the bottle had been open 2 days. 19Mar2004.
Spy Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Lemon gold with an oily appearance, the sweet, mealy, savoury, honeyed oak aromas will be ultra-appealing to Chardonnay lovers. Hot and spicy with stonefruits, marzipan and mealy flavours filling the palate, its smooth and rounded, long and savoury with a citrussy backbone and a touch of spiced tobacco on the lingering smoky finish. 14% alc. $20.95. AirNZ Gold Medal tasting. 26Nov2003.
St Arnaud 'Gravitas' Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 From a new vineyard on State Highway 63 heading west from Renwick up the Wairau Valley, this big, full, rich, powerful wine has barrel-ferment and leesy oak together with the scent of grapefruit on the nose, a lovely creamy mouthfilling texture and sweet ripe citrus and stonefruit on the warm and lengthy finish. It's a classy wine that's made to go with food. 14.5% alc. 26Aug2003.
Stonecroft Chardonnay 2002 Very subtle on the nose, dominated by the paint fumes in the tasting room at the Hyatt. Oak, melon perhaps. But there is no let down in the mouth. This is a rich, full-bodied, powerful wine with spicy oak and nectarine, pear and orange melon fruits. It has a lovely polished and creamy texture with good fruit, good weight and good concentration. The finish is long and spicy and delicate honey emerges to longer as well. Still tight, it should unfold well. Tasted with a piece of rockmelon wrapped up in Parma Ham, the match went well. I have always like the Stonecroft Chardonnays and this one is one of the best yet. Perhaps the 20-year-old vines have something to do with it. $35 on mail order. 17Feb2003.
Tasman Bay Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Straw gold in colour with butterscotch, tropical fruit and spicy oak aromas and fresh juicy fruit gum, oatmeal, buttery malo and well integrated spicy oak flavours. A soft and stylishly smooth medium-weight chardonnay with a hot spicy oak finish that lingers well. Drinking well now. 13.5% alc. $17.95. 30Apr2003.
Te Awa Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Sweet nutty aromas and savoury nut flavours intermingle with citrussy oak and spicy stonefruit. Nicely balanced with a long full finish and a ripe fruit aftertaste, this is exactly what one expects of a big, round, flavoursome Hawkes Bay chardonnay. 14% alc. $29.95. 16Dec2004.
Te Mata Elston Chardonnay 2002 - Hawkes Bay At first this smells like a Burgundy but the attractive toasty stonefruit aromas hint of Hawkes Bay. A creamy textured wine with citrus and stone fruit, vanillin oak and strong leesy flavours, Burgundian in style, this is a beautiful Chardonnay with all components in balance The powerful finish lingers with spicy, earthy oak flavours. Terrific wine, built to last but drinking well now. 2Apr2003.
Te Mata Woodthorpe Chardonnay 2002 Lemon gold, smelling smoky and perfumed, it's a fruit-driven wine full of tropical fruit, melon and citrus on a soft creamy palate. Not a big oaky style, just harmonious in its flow and building in power to a lengthy, slightly nutty finish. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 5Nov2003.
Tiritiri Reserve Chardonnay 2002 (screw) From one of country's tiniest vineyards high in the hills above Gisborne comes this rich, creamy, leesy wine that's full of tropical fruit, spices and toasty oak flavours. Give it time to open up and it will develop a mellow nuttiness and a sweet stonefruit richness with just enough acidity to balance it perfectly. Wines like this may yet reclaim Gisborne the title of 'Chardonnay capital of New Zealand''. $32. 11Jul2003.
Tohu Gisborne Chardonnay 2002 Pale gold. Buttery aromas with peaches and melon while citrus, fruit salad, custard and butterscotch flavours dominate the palate of this full-bodied creamy textured wine. It's soft, attractive and easy to drink and great for the summer as it will suit chilling. "Lightly oaked" says the label, the richness comes from the full malo treatment. 13% alc. $17.95. 6Aug2003.
Tohu Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2002 Medium gold colour. Spicy oak, biscuity aromas. Dry and mealy with stonefruit, spicy tropical fruit, spicy oak and hot butterscotch on the smooth aftertaste, there's a lovely fatness to this rich, creamy, buttery, soft wine with a warm rounded finish. A wine that will definitely handle chilling. 13.5% alc. $23.95. 28Jul2004.
Trinity Hill Black Label Gimblett Road Chardonnay 2002 Golden hued, toasty, full-bodied, dry and nutty with a firm acid bite and underlying fleshy peach, there's a textural softness to the creamy palate and although the oak is quite dominant in this tight new release, it will settle with time. Great potential. 14% alc. 3Sep2003.
Trinity Hill Homage Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 Bright gemmy citrine colour. Nutty scents laced with fig. A creamy opulent wine packed with flavour. There's toasty cedary oak, nougat, peach, apricots, nuts, figs and clarified butter. Rich, mouthfilling and complex with fine acidity, reasonably high alcohol and a flinty nuance to the finish with a savoury aftertaste. 15 months in new French oak. Made as a Homage to Burgundy and to John's many years in the NZ wine industry starting at Delegats in 1981 with that Chardonnay winning many gold medals. 14.8% alc. 6Dec2004.
TW Unoaked Gisborne Chardonnay 2002 Peachy, oily and a little spicy with grapefruit on the finish and a lingering butter, caramel flavour. A refreshing drink for pre-dinner. 18Aug2002.
Vavasour Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 A richer more mealy wine (than the Dashwood), seems a little disjointed at first but there's a rich powerful finish. 11Nov2003.
Vidal Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Light lemony chardonnay, bright and fruity almost sauvignon blanc-like, the colour gives it away . Peach and lightly honey oak flavours linger. 9Jun2003.
Vidal Estate Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 (sc)Pale gold. Quite powerful. Smoky savoury oak on nose, a little toasty and creamy. Well-integrated - nothing sticks out. Mealy, nutty, dry, tight, it opens up to reveal stonefruit and tropical fruit with lemony oak on the warm long finish. Powerfully persistent with the essence of apricot liqueur. 12.5% alc. $34.95. 7Jul2004.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 (sc) A brilliantly hued, pale straw wine with rich, ripe peachy fruit, smoky savoury oak and lots of spice. It has a juicy, almost peach syrup-like texture and a long lingering mealy, biscuity finish. A rich and flavoursome Chardonnay that I rate as very good. (****) 19Jun2003.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Shows a tad more colour than its Hawkes Bay twin but has noticeably more acid in the form of citrus and pineapple together with toasty oak. There's tropical fruit, bananas, citrus and spicy oak and although the wine seems a little estery and disintegrated at first, as it develops in the glass flavours of peaches, cream and smoky oak emerge and linger. (***1/2) 19Jun2003.
Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Lovely aromatics with smoky, mealy, savoury oak that does not overpower together with stonefruit and pineapple characters and a slightly caramel note. Peaches and tropical fruit come through in the palate, the robustness of the fruit sitting in well with the oak. A beautifully structured wine with a rich, spicy, mealy finish - think creamy porridge, lemon and tropical fruits that linger deliciously on the lengthy palate. With its length, concentration and intensity of flavour it is going to age well. Screwcap. 23Sep2003.
Villa Maria Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2002 (sc) The oak is softer in this wine. Terrifically smooth texture - getting to that fruit juice texture. Lots of fruit backed up by mealy rather than oak characters. Tropical fruit with a myriad of tropical flavours and a touch of peach. There's a smoky character on the finish. of the three Villa Reserve '02 Chardonnays, this is most ready to drink. "If you get healthy fruit and ripe fruit out of Gisborne, the wines make themselves" said Corey Ryan, the Auckland-based winemaker. Screwcap. 23Sep2003.
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Savoury smoky oak, poached spiced stonefruits layered with citrus and a touch of pineapple too. Creamy flavours with terrific length in which the spicy oak and pineapple flavours linger. The wine opens up well in the glass, it's one to look forward to a little later on. Cool nights resulted in high acids, low pH and a good core of solid citrus fruit. Tightly structured right now and will reward longer cellaring. Screwcap. 23Sep2003.
Villa Maria SV 'Keltern' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Pale gold and smelling of warm buttered toast, it’s spicy and zingy with grapefruit and lime then mouthfilling melon and stonefruit layered with mealy savoury flavours from the funky natural yeasts. Creamy textured with a long savoury finish, the sweet honeyed oak is more obvious as the wine lingers. Youthful right now with plenty of heat from the alcohol, it’s a wine you can cellar with confidence. Screwcap. 14.5% alc. $36.95. AirNZ Gold Medal tasting. 26Nov2003.
Villa Maria SV 'Waikahu' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Well-coloured gold with a honey-coloured hue, grapefruit peel, spicy oak, barrel ferment and malolactic characters dominate the nose and the palate. 'Burgundian' said someone - and because of the dominant winemaking influences it was hard to pinpoint the region, although undoubtably from NZ. It took a while to open up in the glass but soon revealed its rich, mealy-influence stonefruit flavours with spicy oak, a wild yeast funkiness and a long, long, finish. 14.5% alc. $36.95. 12May2004.
Villa Maria SV 'Waldron' Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Pale gold. Mellow oak and stonefruit on the nose, well-defined spicy oak in palate with figs, stonefruit, caramel and butterscotch. Soft, round and harmonious with tropical fruit lift on the long savoury finish. Balanced throughout. 14% alc. $36.95. 3Mar2004.
Vin Alto Clevedon Chardonnay 2002 Steely, Chablis-like style, quite fragrant on the nose with a little lanolin and a touch of lemon and honey in the palate. 26Aug2003.
Waipara Hills Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay 2002 Unoaked, light, fruity, lots of melon flavours. Nice and easy with good length. The wine had had 40% malolactic which gives structure to the palate. 24Jul2003.
Waipara Springs Barrique Ferment Chardonnay 2002 My colleague described the golden yellow as an 'enthusiastic colour'. It's savoury, smoky and spicy, quite rich in the palate with a creamy texture and a mealy flavour, a touch of sweet corn too with underlying citrus - perhaps grapefruit. A full-bodied, full-flavoured wine just needing a little time to let the astringency meld, but the finish and lingering taste is lovely, full and long. Made to go with food, this went well with pastry, not so great with the chilli chicken inside the pastry. 9 months in barrel, 30% malo, 20%new barrels. 13Oct2003.
Waipara Springs Lightly Oaked Chardonnay 2002 There's good palate weight to this tropical fruited wine, a touch of oily fruit, this is fresh and quite zingy with a ripe stonefruit finish. 23Sep2002.
West Brook Barrique Ferment Chardonnay 2002 There's a blend of Marlborough and Gisborne in this smooth creamy wine with buttery oak and a myriad of fruit flavours from stone and tropical fruit through to citrus. A medium to full-bodied wine with a touch of mealiness, it will take chilling, which makes it perfect as a beverage or food wine this summer. ****. 14Jan2004.
West Brook Blue Ridge Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 Pale gold. A rich, full-bodied, wheaty wine with caramel, butterscotch, stonefruit, citrus, a lovely integration of oak, lots of barrel-ferment nutty characters and a lovely stonefruit sweetness on the sumptuous finish. A wine with all the bells and whistles. 14.5% alc.$26.95. 6Aug2003.
William Hill Central Otago Chardonnay 2002 Light gold in colour, warm and leesy to the taste with a flannelly texture, lifted acidity, melon, exotic fruit and a long finish with a touch of toffeed nectarine lingering. This medium weight wine has nice balance and length and I would enjoy drinking it in the Central Otago sunshine on a summery day at the Shaky Bridge Café. 13.5% alc. $23. 10Aug2004.
William Hill Central Otago Reserve Chardonnay 2002 Yellow gold in colour with nutty oak aromas and mealy, citrussy, nutty flavours, lactic influences, a hint of toffee and a long lemony, slightly tart finish. The smoky savoury oak is well integrated and the wine is understated in its power. A well worked but not outstanding wine that would calm the nerves after crossing the Shaky Bridge to the William Hill Café. 14% alc. $36. 10Aug2004.
Wither Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 A full-bodied, powerful yellow gold Chardonnay with a sweeter, ripe and obvious glycerol component. Rich, mealy and spicy with toasty oak, honeyed fig, creamed nuts and stonefruit, there are hints of grapefruit and tangelo citrus too. It's got underlying warmth, a powdery velvety texture and terrific length and will develop honey butterscotch characters with time. Right now it's mealy and vibrant. A wine for drinking on release but with great potential to cellar. 14.5% alc. 22Oct2003.
Woollaston Estates Nelson Chardonnay 2002 (sc) Ripe, peachy and full-flavoured with a creamy texture, juicy stonefruit, spicy oak and a long full finish. Approachable and nicely balanced with a lactic influence throughout, a long, savoury, fruity finish, sweet vanillin oak and a mealy aftertaste. An easy going, easy drinking style, it has taken a couple of years to hit its straps but has now blossomed. 14.5% alc. $19.95. 24Nov2004.