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edited by Sue Courtney

Wine Reviews - Chardonnay
2004 vintage
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 9 Apr 2011

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.

Click on year to go to reviews for that vintage
[2008/2007] [2006] [2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [1999 and older] [index]

2004 Vintage [top] [index]

Allan Scott Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Creamy, fruit-driven with well-integrated oak (35% new) and butterscotch and caramel lingering on the lightly spiced finish. 14% alc. $21. 19Sep2005.
Lightly oaked peachy aromas with fruity, tropical flavours of pineapple and citrus, a creamy texture, a fresh, tasty finish and spicy oak kicking in as it lingers. 14% alc. $16.95. 11Jan2006.

Anchorage Nelson Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Pale lemon gold. There's some lovely exotic fruit aromas with hints of guava but it is lollyish and confectionary in the palate - there's sulphides in there as evidenced by the struck match character that leaves a burning sensation and overpowers all other flavours on the finish. It seems quite fruity without too much influence of oak. 13% alc. $17. 7Jul2007.

Ascension 'The Ascent' Reserve Matakana Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Reeking of milky, lemony, malo flavours that overpower the wine at first, quite juicy tropical fruit with lots of acidity that bring citrus and apple into the fruit salad mix. Creamy textured with dusty, earthy oak and lingering apples, pineapple and citrus peel on the perfumed finish. 13.5% alc. $29.95. 11Apr2005.

Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A rich, savoury smelling wine crammed with barrel-ferment and yeast lees flavours with stone and citrus fruit emerging to make a strong statement on the smooth, seamless finish with a rich, savoury aftertaste. Powerful all the way through with a deliciously long aftertaste and fantastic length. 14% alc. $38. 19Sep2005.
Light gold. Perfumed sweet cedary oak leads into a smooth, silky-textured palate with buttered lemon, toasty oak and a mealy richness. Beautifully balanced with a stylish elegance, and concentrated stonefruits coming through to linger on the seamless finish. 14% alc. $38. 5Nov2005.

Ata Rangi Petrie Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Aromatic, leesy smelling with a delicate apricot nuance over savoury oak. Creamy textured with spicy oak in the palate and a nutty Burgundian influence to the spicy finish where lots of biscuity oak lingers. Delicate to start but with underlying power. 14% alc. $25. 19Sep2005.

Babich Irongate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (c) Lemon gold. Smoky, savoury aromas with the merest suggestion of apricot nectar and orange zest. Dry, slightly astringent and buttery in palate with tropical fruit, hokey pokey, nuts and a hot spicy finish driven by malolactic processes. Reasonable complexity and lots of power but suffering a little from a touch of oxidation with a mellow custard and apricot aftertaste. This bottle has a cork closure, which may be the cause for that oxidative note. Other bottles may be better. 13.5% alc. $34.95. 18Nov2007.

Bascand Waipara Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light gold coloured with a powerful aroma of savoury oak and citrus and a ripe creamy flavour of sweet oak, melon and stone fruit. Medium to full-bodied in weight with a smooth texture that creates a lovely mouthfeel and a long savoury finish with a mouth-filling creamy richness to the aftertaste. 13% alc. $18.95. 10May2006.

Bensen Block Unoaked Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Wonderfully ripe juicy fruit full of pineapple-infused tropical flavours on a creamy backbone with a pleasing buttery influence. Nicely balanced. Drink on its own or match to chicken. 13% alc. 2g/L rs. $16.95. 18Oct2004.

Black Barn Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2004 - Hawkes Bay Smelling of honeyed oak with a leesy, creamy overtone, the stylish Burgundian winemaking techniques are apparent from the outset while the concentrated fruit shines. It is utterly delectable with butterscotch, cedar, creamed nuts, ripe fig, stonefruits, beautifully integrated oak and fruit and a long, dry, seamless finish with just a hint of caramel. A full-bodied, stylish, tasteful wine. 14% alc. $29.95 special. 21Sep2005.
Rich and mouthfilling with deliciously concentrated stonefruits, butterscotch, spicy oak and a long creamy finish. Very classy. 14% alc. $29.95. 9Nov2005.

Black Estate Waipara Chardonnay 2004 (c) Light yellow gold colour, quite youthful looking for its age. Quite citrussy on the nose - a mandarin / tangelo scent with the zesty aromatic brightness carrying through to the nutty, mealy, creamy-textured palate. Spicy oak is well integrated and balanced and the wine is picking up some pleasing mellow bottle complexities with age. 14% alc. $29.95. 22May2008.

Borthwick Wairarapa Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light gold coloured. Savoury, mealy aromas interlaced with stonefruit and sweet oak, then in the palate there are nutty, mealy, savoury flavours with a spiciness to the citrus and tropical fruit flavours. The aftertaste is long with sweet nutty oak lingering on the full-bodied, leesy finish. 13,5% alc. $21.95. 5Nov2005.

Boundary Vineyards Tukituki Road Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A rich, mealy, smoky smelling wine with a hint of sweet fig. Quite rich and complex in the palate with warming alcohol, sweet vanillin oak, fruit concentration and citrus nuances on the finish. Well made and satisfying to the taste. 27May2005.

C J Pask Reserve Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A ripe, rich, barrel-fermented wine with creamy, buttery oak, grilled stonefruit, a touch of nougat and a savoury finish. Classy and sophisticated with a long, dry vanilla bean and cedar finish. Very drinkable. 14%. $35. 9Nov2005.

C J Pask Declaration Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A fragrant, smoky wine with a nuance of incense then in the palate bright tropical fruit with a touch of pineapple and buckets of spicy oak that almost hides the rich stonefruit and melons emerging from behind it. A huge polished Chardonnay with a hint of coconut and a touch of cornmeal on the long, savoury finish. 14% alc. $38.95. 22Mar2006.

Cable Bay Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Spicy, crisp, youthful with vanillin oak and savoury yeast lees influences with hints of stonefruit and melon and a long, savoury, mealy finish. Very tight right now, it will unfold beautifully with a little more age. 12% alc. $32. 19Sep2005.
Light yellow gold. Lemony, leesy, sophisticated savoury, barrel-ferment aromas - with a slightly reductive whiff. Dry and grainy textured in the mouth with dominant yeast lees characters together with citrus and tangy tropical fruit that imparts a slightly spritzy, sherbet feel to that hangs around the front of the mouth and the cheeks. At this stage it seems a little light and more suited to seafood than steak, however when matched to chicken stuffed with apricot and blue cheese, this wine really excelled. 13% alc. $32. 11Aug2006.

Cadwallader's Riverside Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light gold in colour. Spicy melon and tropical fruit characterise the nose and vibrant fresh juicy melon, stonefruit and tropical fruit fill the palate with a vinous spiciness to the finish. Though a portion of the wine was barrel fermented, it is hard to detect the oak flavours the fruit is so forthcoming, I thought it an unoaked wine. A nicely rounded summery style that is clean and fresh. 14% alc. $15. 16Dec2004.

Cape Campbell Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Crisp and lemony with an oily texture, a creamy richness, a lightly caramel finish and a melon and fruit salad aftertaste. A nicely balanced easy going style that shows the quality of the vintage. 13.5% alc. $16.95. 23Feb2005.

Cape Campbell Limited Edition Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A pale-coloured wine with smoky aromas and nutty flavours, a slightly milky influence from the malolactic in the mid-palate, fleshy peach and melon fruit and a touch of honey lingering with spicy oak on the long, lifted finish. 14% alc. $22.95. 15Jun2005.
A sophisticated barrel-fermented, leesy, malolactic style with grapefruit, nectarine and tropical fruit - dry, savoury and seamless with a nutty burnt butter finish and a long crème caramel aftertaste. Fattening up nicely since last tasted and becoming quite yum. 14% alc. $19.95. 7Sep2005.
Chardonnay as we like it …. golden coloured with alluring butterscotch aromas and smooth butter-caramel flavours, ripe peach, melon and just a touch of citrus. There's lots of spicy vanillin oak but it's beautifully balanced to the fruit and the finish is rich and mealy. This wine gets better every time we taste it. 14% alc. $18.95. 23Nov2005.

Carrick Central Otago Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Mealy, barrel-ferment style with nutty oak, spice and fig0like fruit adding richness. Very much a winemaker-driven style that is tight and youthful at this stage but the finish is powerful and creamy. $23.50. 19Sep2005.

Castle Cliffs Unoaked Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Pale lemon. Crisp, fresh fruit salad aromas. Fruity flavours, spicy, with a touch of hokey pokey ice cream with vanilla lingering on the finish with some energising citrus-like acidity on the aftertaste. 13.5% alc. $18. 11Apr2005.

Chard Farm Closeburn Chardonnay 2004 - Central Otago (sc) Straw gold with neutral, grapey aromas that hint of milky yoghurt, it's creamy textured with melon and stonefruit over a spicy, slightly nutty backbone with caramel notes on the finish. A nicely balanced unoaked style. 13% alc. $22.95. 5Jul2006.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (c) A touch of apple on the nose and perfumed, apple flavours in the palate, with a cedary oak backbone and a creamy note to the lemony finish. It's quite an earthy grainy-textured style but overall just a little dull, which could be due to the cork. 14% alc. $34.95. 6Mar2006.
Deeper gold in colour with lemon oil and lanolin-rich scents and oily, burnt oak, buttery flavours, it seems to have lost its youthful flair as it fatten outs with age. Think Burgundian funk and mealy malo characters over a spicy mellow backbone with peachy fruit and something reminiscent of milking sheds and hay. 14% alc. $28.99. 16Apr2008.

Clearview Beachhead Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light yellow gold. Rich and buttery smelling and mealy flavoured with lots of citrus and savoury oak. Thick textured, like fruit juice syrup, with mouthfilling stone fruit flavours lingering on the spicy finish. A big oaky style with excellent fruit concentration and canned apricots on the aftertaste. Immediately appealing. 14.5% alc. 14.5% alc. $22. 24May2005.
Light yellow gold with nutty, marzipan-like aromas and full rich flavours that are packed with stonefruit, melon and citrus and beautifully balanced to the crèamy texture and toasty caramel-like oak. It’s a full-flavoured wine with excellent fruit concentration, a nice touch of spice and a terrifically long finish. Drinking beautifully already. 14.5% alc. $20.95. 22Jun2005.
Bright gold coloured with stonefruits and integrated honeyed oak on the nose and a luscious flavour full of concentrated fruit and toasty oak with a reasonable whack of alcohol that gives a rich, glycerolic mouthfeel, and a long, mouthfilling, creamy finish. Superb. 14.5% alc. $20.95. 24Aug2005.

Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 Creamy, buttery aromas and a full-bodied, creamy texture. Mealy and savoury with excellent fruit concentration, sweet oak and a rich, spicy, mealy, leesy finish. It takes a while to open up in the glass, but it is worth the wait as the wine gets better and better, round and full, toasty, mealy and rich with terrific fruit concentration and a smoky finish. One of those wines that is hard to describe because it is so beautifully integrated and very complete. 14.5% alc. $35. 24May2005.
A golden coloured wine smelling of classy French oak and richly concentrated fruit. In the palate it is even better with toasty vanillin oak, peach and nectarines with a nuance of pawpaw, a creamy texture and a rich, toasty, sweet fruited finish. A beautifully crafted, powerful, seamless wine. 14.5% alc. $42.95. 15Jun2005.
Big, fat, oily and exotic with polished savoury oak, concentrated fruit and great mouthfeel with butterscotch coming through on the powerful spicy finish. Brilliant. 14.5% alc. $37.95. 7Sep2005.

Clevedon Hills 'Chiara' Chardonnay Arneis 2004 (sc) Mid gold, buttery aroma with good acidity, plenty of malo and a warm oily texture. Heading toward the citrus / tropical fruit / pineapple spectrum in its flavour, it finishes dry and the nutty, slightly savoury and lighty saline aftertaste is long. 12.8%alc. $25. 19Mar2004.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Leesy, dry, earthy flavoured with a lactic influence from the malolactic fermentation on both the nose and in the palate. The malolactic and oak seem quite predominant at the moment, however the palate is tight and focused and there's some delicious butterscotch on the long, persistent finish. 14% alc. $35.95. 6Mar2006.
Light gold in colour with peach and vanilla on the nose, this is a big, rounded, glycerolic, oily textured wine with spicy oak, juicy grilled peach fruit, lots of creamy butterscotch and a smidgen of grapefruit to balance the richness and natural fruit sweetness of the long, toasty, mouthfilling finish. Starting to open up nicely - a delicious main course wine. 14% alc. $34.95. 5Jul2006.
Light yellow gold with a toasty, fleshy, grilled yellow peach aroma and a big, ripe, mouthfilling flavour. It's rich and creamy with lots of oak, a spicy wheaty biscuity backbone, peach and citrus fruit, and butterscotch on the full-bodied, mealy finish. Powerful, long and rather opulent at this stage of its life. 14% alc. $34.99. 31Jan2007.

Coopers Creek Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light gold in colour with creamy, toasty oak aromas and the vibrancy of youthful, fruit-driven chardonnay in the palate. There's good definition of peachy fruit and buttery vanillin oak with a lingering creamy finish and a savoury, spicy aftertaste. 14% alc. $16.95. 10Aug2005.
A fruit-driven wine with smoke in the distance, spice, tropical fruit and a fullness to the ripe, weighty stonefruit finish where butterscotch comes forth in abundance. Fantastic length. Ready now. And it can be chilled! 14% alc. $16.95. 7Sep2005.
Smoky aromas with a slightly mustiness (note screwcap closure!) and smooth-textured, creamy, toasty, oaky flavours. A big savoury style with a funky, earthy character, citrus, stonefruit and a mellow, fading finish. 14% alc. $16.95. 14Dec2005.

Coopers Creek Swamp Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light gold coloured with nutmeg on the nose and fat, juicy apricots in the palate that is smooth, clean and balanced with spicy oak, juicy fruit, good acidity, excellent palate weight and a long, rounded, savoury finish. 14% alc. $30.99. 2Aug2006.

Corbans Private Bin Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (c) Lemon, apple and tropical fruit aromas carry through to the palate that is a little lean to start with but opens up nicely with a rounded full-bodied finish and a long persistent aftertaste where smoky, nutty oak lingers. It opens up nicely with sitting in the glass. 14% alc. $21.95. 6Mar2006.
There's a lime glint to the clear bright golden yellow colour, the aromas are rich and toasty and the mellow ripe fruited flavours of figs and stonefruit are creamy and buttery. With wild yeast fermentation in barrels, this is a big oaky, spicy, savoury style with terrific length. 14% alc. $18.99. 22Nov2006.

Corbans Cottage Block Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (c) Light gold coloured with soft, mealy aromas, peach and melon fruit, hints of butterscotch and citrus, well-balanced, toasty and creamy with a spicy oak finish. Delicate to start but with a powerful finish and a lingering aftertaste. Drink in a big glass and don’t over chill. 14% alc. $32.95. 21Dec2005.
Quite oaky on the nose but bright, fresh and spicy in the palate with a warm toasty backbone, well-balanced stonefruit and caramel flavours and a lingering, sweet fruit finish. Tight and focussed right now, it needs some time to unfold. 14% alc. $32.95. 6Mar2006.
Light gold with citrussy scents and zesty, spicy and warming flavours where grapefruit, butterscotch and savoury oak build to a rich, rounded, peaches and cream finish. 14% alc. $32.99. 27Dec2006.

Cottage Block Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 A lovely rich, ripe-fruited chardonnay with spicy oak, zesty acidity, pineapple and tropical fruit building to a big, rich, creme brulee finish. A big, creamy, delicious wine, seamless in its flow. "A little like a pineapple fruju," said a friend. Yes I can see that. French oak fermented with 20% wild yeasts. 14.3% alc. $32.95. 28May2007.

Crab Farm Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 Apples! Apple and fig aromas and a baked apple flavour in the palate with a strong malo influence and warming alcohol that provides good palate weight. Sweet toasty oak and juicy stonefruits take over and the finish is spicy though the savoury oak is just a little raw-edged as it lingers. 14.5% alc. $25. 11Apr2005.

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Vineyard Chardonnay 2004 Pale gold. Powdery smelling, fragrant, figs and stonefruits with a smooth, buttery, creamy oak backbone. Fresh and lively with terrific fruit throughout, and a grainy finish. Very classy. 14% alc. $26.95. 11May2005.

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Chardonnay 2004 - Martinborough Light gold with a greenish glint, oily, nutty oak aromas and rich, broad flavours with a soft, creamy palate, a ton of stonefruit and tropical fruit, a touch of muesli and a nutty, full-bodied finish with lactic flavours, from the malolactic fermentation, lingering. Ready now. 13% alc. $27.95. 14Dec2005.

Crossroads Destination Series Chardonnay 2004 (c) Light gold in colour with lightly fruity, winey aromas and sweet nut, citrus and stonefruit flavours with a creamy texture and savoury oak coming through to linger on the finish. Medium-bodied with a slightly spritzy freshness. 13.5% alc. $18.95. 5Nov2005.

Distant Land Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light golden coloured, with grapefruit on the nose and lovely, ripe, rounded mealy barrel-ferment flavours filling the palate, this is a chardonnay-lovers wine with plenty of toasty oak, plenty of winemaking complexities, good attack of peach and citrus fruit and a Burgundian nuance to the long, dry, spicy finish. Powerful, classy, stylish, and maturing beautifully with lovely integration and juiciness to the warm and mouthfilling aftertaste, I like this a lot. Mendoza clone Chardonnay grapes fermented and matured in French oak, 50% new. My rating 5 stars. 14% alc. $30.

Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (c) Tasted out of a too warm bottle so a little volatile on the nose but tight, rich and focussed in the palate where citrus forms the backbone with subtle oak, mellow yeast lees flavours and nectarine and apricot emerging to linger on the finish. Fine textured, full-bodied and rich. 14% alc. $33. 21Feb2006.
Earthy, lemony, slightly sherbet nose and an earthy, leesy character to the taste with good acidity which balances the weighty palate. It's a wine with the works - wild yeasts, full malo, lees stirring and there's a honeyed almost caramel note to the finish. Rich and complex and made to go with food. 14% alc. $33. 6Mar2006.

Domaine Georges Michel Golden Mile Chardonnay 2004 (D)Deep gold in colour with a rich, smoky aromas and hints of pineapple in the palate, it is a completely different style to what we are used to from New Zealand. It's full-bodied and mouthfillingly complex with upfront fruit sweetness, stonefruit and citrus padding out the mid-palate then a savouriness taking over to linger on the long, smoky finish. A wine with power and length. Diam closure. 14.5% alc. $24.95. 5May2006.
Golden coloured with a spicy, oily oak aroma and a mellow, tropical fruit flavour, I find the texture a little hard and the alcohol a little unbalanced at first but it fills out with a barrel fermented richness, a creamy stonefruit sweetness and a long buttery finish with a lemon biscuit overlay. 14.5% alc. $15.99. 4Jul2007.

Dry River Martinborough Chardonnay 2004 Creamy textured with concentrated stonefruit on a rich, mealy backbone with toasty, nutty oak and long, seamless flavours. A wine with all the bells and whistles and although seemingly restrained to start with in the XL5 tasting glass, it opens up beautifully with a spicy mealiness to the mouthfilling, biscuity finish. 13% alc. $56.95. 12Oct2005.

Drylands Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A little dull on the nose to start but after a while the fruit emerges. In the palate there's citrus with spicy oak and tropical fruit, sherbet, a touch of honeycomb and a bright citrussy, mealy finish with a touch of caramel and a perfumed, floral, musky character lingering on the end. 13.5% alc. $19. 7Jul2005.

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Reserve Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Rich, smoky, mealy barrel-ferment aromas - complex and inviting. Very tight knit, wheaty, with rich peachy flavours pushing through and a lovely aromatic lift to the full-bodied, mealy finish with just a touch of citrus. 14.5% alc. $34.95. 6Sep2005.

Escarpment Chardonnay / Pinot Blanc 2004 (c) Light gold coloured. Citrussy aromas and citrus and sweet apple flavours with white peach, a hint of pineapple and a touch of custard in the background. A smooth-textured wine with an earthy, savoury finish and lots of mealy, smoky overtones, then the fruit emerges again to linger on the juicy aftertaste. 13% alc. $29. 5Nov2005.

Fairhall Downs Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light yellow gold. Honeyed oak and butterscotch on the nose and ripe citrussy flavours in the palate with custard, peaches and cream. Ripe and balanced with a long toasty finish. One that chardonnay fans will like. 13.5% alc. $15.95.29Mar2006.

Fairmont Block One Chardonnay 2004 - Wairarapa (sc) Showing a little restraint on the nose, this tastes tight and ctirussy at first (perhaps because it is tasted immediately after the Wolf Blass) but the palate quickly fills out with a ripe fruit richness of stewed stonefruit, figs, honey and nougat that combine with toasty oak. The fruit is sweet but the wine is dry and the aftertaste is long and complex. 14% alc. $18.99. 20Dec2006.

Felton Road Barrel Fermented Central Otago Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Pale gold coloured with polished, toasty oak and mealy aromas and full-bodied, creamy stonefruit flavours with a rich mealy, nutty influence from aging on yeast lees and bright acidity on the toasty, creamy-textured finish. Well-balanced with plenty of length, quite Burgundian in many respects. 14% alc. $34.95. 22Jun2005.

Five Flax Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Mealy smelling. Citrus over savoury, mealy oak, smells quite work. It gets more buttery as it opens up in the glass with a touch of butterscotch coming through as it lingers. Spicy oak, sweet vanillin oak, citrus and nectarines, and a creamy texture, nicely balanced with integrated, not too overpowering oak and a clean finish. Ripe and fresh and excellent value for the price. 13% alc. $11.95. 24May2005.

Forrest Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A mouth warming, fruity style crammed with melon and nectarine with a touch of tropical fruit, a spicy, yeast lees richness and creamy oak. It's a well-made well-balanced wine with a long pleasing finish. 13% alc. $17.99.

Foxes Islands Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (c) Straw-lemon gold. Rich and toasty with mealy, leesy, savoury oak aromas and leesy-influenced, citrus and stonefruit flavours with a lifted, creamed nut finish. The wine has had malolactic treatment, which is obvious in the taste and imparts a caramel richness to the finish. 14% alc. $33.95. 5Nov2005.

Framingham Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Toasty, mealy, rich and mouthfilling with lots of bells and whistles - everything going for it. Creamed nuts, nougat, grilled stonefruits, figs, savoury oak and a hint of musk. A chardonnay-lover's wine. Yum! 13% alc. $22.95. 5Nov2005.

Jackson Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light gold coloured, nutty oak and a hint of sherbet on the nose, and quite lifted in the palate with mandarin, lemon and green melon fruit, a lightly creamy texture and a savoury oak finish. A clean, fresh, fruity, medium-bodied style. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 5Nov2005.

Gibbston Valley Reserve Central Otago Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light gold coloured and powerfully fragrant with tropical fruit, toasty oak, grapefruit zest and later nougat, it's smoky and leesy with a lemon butter backbone, a creamy texture, hints of apricot, nougat and perfect acidity that results in a brightness to the rich, complex aftertaste. The care and attention in the making of this rich, delicious, barrel fermented wine is evident. Match to seafood. A great cellaring proposition too. 13.5% alc. $32. 13May2007.

Goldwater Zell Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Deep yellow gold, hinting of age, this mellow toasty wine is oily and spicy with fleshy peach over a nutty backbone with a grapefruit undercurrent and hints of lanolin. Rich, full-bodied and savoury with power and length, but unfortunately drying out just a little. Needs food. 14% alc. $30.99. 6Feb2008.

Grove Mill Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) High toned with cornmeal on the nose, there's a bottle developed character coming through too together with tropical fruits trying to ease their aromas out from behind the shroud. Very dry with quite high acidity, there is smoky nutty oak and fig in the palate and a 'hot', leesy undercurrent with citrus and tropical fruit and spicy mellow oak lingering on the bread and butter pudding finish. Call it complex because it's changing all the time in the glass - and it's amazingly long. Fascinating wine. 14% alc. $20. 18Nov2007.

Gunn Estate Skeetfield Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Ripe, appealing, citrussy, mealy, spicy oak aromas and very appealing textural qualities and mouthfilling flavours of spicy oak, juicy melons and stonefruit. Toasty, mealy, full-bodied and creamy with good fruit concentration - a lot of everything - with a rounded finish and a spicy aftertaste. One of the best so far this vintage. 14% alc. $24.95. 7Jul2005.
Rich and full-bodied with buttery oak aromas and concentrated flavours of stonefruit, citrus and butterscotch melding into the beautifully balanced mealy backbone with a long toasty finish and a deliciously long, stonefruit and butterscotch aftertaste. 14% alc. $25.95. 28Sep2005.
Yellow gold in colour, rich and buttery smelling - immediately identifiable as chardonnay - and packed with concentrated peach, nectarines, hints of pineapple, creamy oak and a beautifully balanced mealy finish. Powerful and mouthfilling and yes, it can take serious chilling. 14% alc. $22.95 special. 2Nov2005.

Hatton Estate EC2 Chardonnay 2004 A perfumed unoaked wine with an oily, rich, plush texture, pear and peach fruit, a tangy, crisp, lime citrus finish and a savouriness to the aftertaste. EC stands for 'experimental chardonnay' and is evidently an incredible match to crayfish. I would have loved to experiment the combo. $22. 25Mar2005.

Huntaway Reserve Limited Edition Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light straw gold with ripe peach and vanillin oak aromas and full-bodied toasty oak flavours with delicious peach and citrus fruit melding into the creamy, leesy backbone with a yeasty nuttiness joining in. It has a lovely freshness to it that perfectly balances the wine's richness, while tropical fruit lingers on the lengthy finish. A good food wine. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 6Mar2006.

Hunters Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Rich buttery aromas laced with spicy oak and full, rounded creamy flavours with polished oak, mealy, savoury winemaking influences and peachy fruit. With good acidity, lots of malo, caramel on the finish and a full-bodied ripeness, this is an in-your-face style that is smooth and easy to drink. 13.5% alc. $21.95. 16Mar2005.
Light gold with delicately toasty aromas of spiced citrus leading into a creamy, savoury palate with nutty oak and delicious ripe, rich flavours of fleshy stonefruit with a nice sprinkling of spice on the lingering finish. Very tasty and deliciously drinkable. 14% alc. $16.99. 30Nov2006.
Bright lemon gold, powerful and fragrant with mealy, toasty oak aromas and rich, toasty flavours, this is a rich, spicy style with a little hint of age, creamy buttery oak, a mealy, nutty undercurrent and firm citrus acidity on the concentrated finish. Full-bodied and harmonious, delicious now and fantastic value. 14% alc. $15.99. 14Mar2007.

John Forrest Collection Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Immediately appealing with its honeyed oak aromas and creamy palate filled with luscious tropical fruit, a touch of spice and a warm, toasty, bready finish. Gorgeous. I could drink a big glass of this. It's made with one and two year old oak. 5g/l rs. 13.9% alc. $50. 26Jul2007.
An older wine, not so much from the green-tinged golden yellow colour but also from the mellow, more refined savoury flavours. Tropical fruit combines with mellow oak and lime-infused butter on the nose, the flavours are reminiscent of melon, grilled pineapple, savoury oak, pan-fried brioche and salted nuts and the finish is dry with a hint of honey / caramel as the flavours linger for ages. Remarkable wine and a treat to try. 14% alc. $44.99. 18Nov2009.

Kaimira Unoaked Nelson Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Pale straw with citrussy influenced aromas and sweeter light fruity flavours of melon, stonefruit and citrus. Lots of brightness and zest on the finish, this wine is made to be consumed well chilled this summer. 14% alc. $15. 19Dec2004.

Kathy Lynskey Godfrey Reserve Chardonnay 2004 - Marlborough Burgundian-influenced, leesy, malo flavours at first with tropical fruit, nutty oak and a tight savoury finish, after two or three mouthfuls it becomes rich, round and delicious with a touch of caramel as it lingers - this really needs a big glass right from the outset to do it justice. 14.5% alc. $32.95. 5Oct2005.

Kemblefield The Distinction Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 Soft and round, spicy and nutty with lots of toasty oak, a ton of ripe stonefruit, a mealy backbone and a rich, spicy, smooth creamy finish with butterscotch lingering on the long toasty aftertaste - a big chardonnay that can be well chilled. 14.5% alc. $19.95. 5Oct2005.
Rich and buttery smelling with lots of savoury, spicy oak flavours, a ton of concentrated stonefruit, a smooth, creamy texture, soft acidity and butterscotch lingering on the long toasty finish. A big expressive Chardonnay that can be well chilled. 14.5% alc. $19.95 special. 7Dec2005.
Yellow gold with buttery oak aromas and rich oaky flavours joining stonefruit, melon and a hint of citrus with a bright spicy backbone and a rich toasty finish. It's full of flavour with plenty of fruit and plenty of oak and drinking well now. 14.5% alc. $19.95. 26Apr2006.

Kim Crawford Tietjen-Briant Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Richly concentrated aromas of ripe fruit and sweet toasty oak lead into a creamy mouthful of terrifically concentrated ripe fleshy melon and stonefruit with a nutty backbone and a dry smoky finish. Smooth and seamless with lots of power. 14% alc. $30.95. 15Jun2005.
Light gold in colour with a ripe appealing aroma of pink bubble gum, tropical fruit and fresh toasty oak. Young, fresh and juicy but rich and powerful at the same time with lovely tropical and melon fruit and a nicely balanced mealy backbone. 14% alc. $30.95. 26Oct2005.

Kumeu River Kumeu Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Straw gold with toasty oak aromas overlain with ripe figs and juicy nectarines. Lovely richness in the palate with a creamy backbone, spices, mandarin and stonefruit and the elegance of polished oak coming through on the finish with a mealy creaminess as it lingers. There's a nuttiness to the citrussy aftertaste with hints of grapefruit. It seems more rounded - more toasty - than ever before and is delicious to drink already, but has the potential for a long cellar life. $36 ex winery. 26Apr2005.
Straw gold. Rich and toasty on the nose with smoky oak, figs and nectarines. Mealy and spicy in the palate with stonefruits, melon, fresh tropical fruits, toasty oak and a creamy texture. Very polished, rather delectable with butterscotch lingering on the citrussy finish. One of New Zealand's finest. 13.5% alc. $37.95. 4May2005.

Kumeu River Mate's Vineyard Kumeu Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Straw gold. Rich and appealing on the nose with an intriguing smokiness, spices, hints of grapefruit peel and baked pear. A very polished wine in the mouth with a seamlessness as it flows across the palate and balanced acidity that gives it lift throughout. Lovely fruit concentration with melon and pear to the fore and a deep, complex, savoury finish. Very understated in its power, drink now if you really want to but it will develop beautifully with bottle age. 30% new oak. 13.5% alc. $47 ex winery. 26Apr2005.
Straw gold coloured with hints of nougat on the nose together with delicate, mealy- influenced, smoky Burgundian oak. Dry, citrussy and mealy with spicy oak, a wonderful purity of melon and tropical fruit and a seamless, silky texture, it builds in power to a long, rich, full-flavoured, lasting, refined finish. A classy wine. 13.5% alc. $48.95 . 22Jun2005.

Kumeu River Village Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Lemon and pear scents with a mealy spiciness. High acidity in palate, Chablis-like with little oak influence, fruit in the melon, pear and citrus spectrum and a spicy, mealy aftertaste. A lightly oaked style that lets the fruit speak. $17.50 ex winery. 26Apr2005.

Isabel Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Toasty, leesy, a little funky with possible wild yeasts and hints of pineapple on the nose. The palate is creamy and bright with lots of citrus, tropical fruit, savoury oak and a touch of orange zest, while a caramel flavour emerges to linger on the ripe-fruited finish. 13.5% alc. $29.95. 15Dec2005.

Lake Chalice Unoaked Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 The first chardonnay of the vintage for me and one that shows the quality that we can look forward to. There is no oak in this wine, it's all fruit salad and grapey flavours with a touch of citrus to add some new vintage zest and a long creamy finish. Easy to drink on its own as an aperitif, it doesn’t have the pungency of sauvignon blanc so if you want something new, then this may be for you. 13.5% alc. $18.95. 2Aug2004.

Landmark Estate 'Earls' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 Rich, toasty oak aromas lead into a luscious, full-bodied palate with ripe concentrated stonefruit, nutmeg and a toasty, creamy, buttery oak finish with lovely sweet fruit lingering on the aftertaste. $35. 9Nov2005.
Golden coloured, rich, ripe and creamy smelling with cedary, smoky French oak on the nose and a full-bodied, fat, rich, creamy palate full of honeyed oak, luscious stonefruit, caramel and hints of pineapple. Beautifully balanced and seamless with peach fruit salad on the long, juicy finish. 13.3% alc. $35. 13May2007.

Lawson’s Dry Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Deep gold. Spicy toasty and full of flavour, there doesn’t seem to be any fear of oak from the winemaker’s perspective. A rather intriguing salty savouriness emerges from underneath the nectarine-like fruit and provides a lively to the finish with citrus zest coming into play. Creamy with some nutty mellow tones and a long savoury finish. 19May2008.

Lawson's Dry Hills Unoaked Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Fruity with melon aromas and a lightly creamy, fruity backbone. Some nice savouriness comes through to balance the fruit sweetness. Slightly oily in texture. A clean, refreshing light style of Chardonnay with a citrus/melon aftertaste. 14% alc. $18.95. 19Dec2004.

Lincoln Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc)Ripe, rich oak and toasty peach aromas - it smells complex and inviting and tastes even better with a lovely balance of oak and fruit in the palate. French oak combines with stonefruit, melon and a touch of pineapple to build to a buttery finish with butterscotch lingering on the aftertaste. Very smart indeed and very enjoyable on its own as well as with food. Try spicy, marinated fresh salmon kebabs. 13.5% alc. $27. 5May2006.

Longbush Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Bright, clear, light green gold with sweet oak aromas and ripe nectarine and tropical fruit on a mealy backbone with a long, juicy finish. Easy-going style, delicious at the price. 13% alc. $9.95. 22Feb2006.

Ma Maison Martinborough Chardonnay 2004 (c) Aromatic, mealy notes, packed with ripe stonefruit - peach, apricot, nectarine, subtle but powerful, Lovely palate weight and length with figs and nougat and just a hint of pineapple. Very smooth. 14%. 9Oct2006.

Mahi Marlborough Twin Valleys Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) This glistening gold coloured wine smells inviting with its rich toasty aromas and tastes rather good with its smooth, seamless palate. Fine, dry and warm textured, it's creamy and mealy, spicy and just a little spritzy with lovely grapefruit barrel ferment complexities, citrus and tropical fruit flavours, nutty oak and lemon butter. Rich, mouthfilling and long, very dry, very nutty, very classy. Call it stellar. There are not many wines made as well as this. A single vineyard wine from the western end of the Wairau Valley, this is Clone 95 that was fermented in French barriques with wild yeasts and aged in bottle before release. My rating 5 stars. 13.5% alcohol. $28. 18Nov2007.

Main Divide Canterbury Chardonnay 2004 Fig and stonefruit and hints of grapefruit, quite juicy, nicely integrated toasty oak, rich and creamy. Shows some pedigree. 14% alc. $19.95. 11Apr2005.
Bright yellow gold with toasted nut aromas and mouthfilling, reasonably rich, ripe stonefruit flavours with an earthy, leesy complexity, a touch of butterscotch, a lightly grainy texture and a touch of grapefruit on the long, toasty finish. Lovely drinking now. 13% alc. $17.95. 26Jul2006.

Matahiwi Unoaked Nelson Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Showing little on the nose, the fruity melon flavours fill the palate with a creamy buttery influence and just a touch of butterscotch on the finish. A well-balanced, well-structured unoaked Chardonnay that is fresh, clean and enjoyable. 13% alc. $15. 19Dec2004.

Matariki Aspire Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Bright yellow gold, spicy and mealy with a touch of custard over peachy fruit and a caramel note to the finish, this is a tasty, mouthfilling chardonnay with citrus emerging right on the end and lots of well-integrated lightly toasted oak. 13.5% alc. $18.95. 19Jul2006.

Matariki Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 Bright yellow gold with abundant toasty oak on the nose and sweet toasty oak and rich, ripe stonefruit in the palate a big fat wine with a slightly oily character and a powerful finish with lots of mellow spice and a touch of caramel as it lingers. 13.5% alc. $26.95. 19Jul2006.

Matariki Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 A rich-smelling, broad, fleshy spicy wine with mealy, barrel-fermented flavours, a touch of grapefruit and a ton of smoky, nutty oak. Very powerful and rich with sweet tropical fruit and hints of passionfruit on the long, smooth, creamy finish. 14% alc. $36.95. 15Jun2005.

Matua Valley Matheson Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Yellow gold coloured with lactic influences on the nose leading into a rich, full-bodied, thick-textured wine with spicy oak, mealy characters and mouthfilling fruit in the stonefruit, apricot, melon and citrus spectrum and a bright, savoury, wheaty finish. 12% alc. $20.95. 7Jul2005.
Nutty oak aromas and citrus-influenced, mealy flavours. There's a touch of apricot and just a hint of musk in this clean, fragrant, lifted, medium to full-bodied wine with tropical fruit taking over the creamy finish and sweet toasted oak and mealy flavours lingering nicely. 13.5% alc. $20.95. 5Nov2005.

Matua Valley Eastern Bays Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Subtle smoky oak on the nose and sweet buttered fruit in the palate where peach and pear are coated in tangelo juice and topped with passionfruit, with the oak coming through on the finish to add a savouriness to the aftertaste. Quite an easy drinking, medium-weight style. 13.5% alc. $13.95. 31Oct2005.

Matua Valley Matheson Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light yellow gold with rich, full-bodied, buttered peach and toasty oak aromas and a rounded, full-bodied palate with bright apricot and peach fruit, lots of yeast lees influences and caramel emerging on the long, rich, finish. A rich, fleshy, oaky style. 13.5% alc. $18.95. 6Mar2006.

Matua Valley Settler Series Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Nice mature, creamy, buttery aroma indicative of Chardonnay and warm climate, tropical fruited, pineapple and citrus flavours with a raisin bread backbone, it's holding out very well for a 2004 wine tasted in 2007, the reasonably high acidity seemingly keeping the wine fresh. There's a touch of toffee butterscotch on the mellow, creamy finish and the aftertaste is buttery and savoury. A surprisingly rounded, 'drinking well' wine that sells for under $10 on special. 13% alc. 3.8g/l rs. $10-$12. 7Jul2007.

Mills Reef Cooks Beach Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Tropical fruit characters characterise this light creamy Chardonnay with fruit salad and subtle oak. It is nicely balanced and refreshing for a summery drink. 12.5% alc. $15.95. 19Dec2004.

Mills Reef Elspeth Chardonnay 2004 - Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay (sc) A full-bodied, mealy, toasty, barrel-fermented style with fantastic fruit weight that tantalises with its fig, melon, citrus and stonefruit flavours. Beautifully concentrated with sweet oak and malo in balance, and caramel lingering on the dry finish. Excellent. A classy wine. 14% alc. $29.95. 13Apr2005.

Mills Reef Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light gold. Well defined fruit, citrussy, a touch of grapefruit and a mealy backbone. Easy going smooth style with very little influence of oak. Recommended quaffer. 13% alc. $15.95. 11Apr2005.
Toasty, brash, in-your-face fleshy wine with a light gold colour, an oily texture and butterscotch on the spicy pineapple finish. Not overly complex, easy to enjoy. 13% alc. $11.95. 11May2005.

Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Reminding me of juicy fruit chewing gum, this fruit-driven wine has nicely integrated nutty savoury oak alongside the pear and stonefruits mid-palate and the tangy tropical fruits that emerge on the finish. An early indication of the quality of the 2004 Hawkes Bay vintage, this smooth, creamy wine is already delicious. It will continue to develop nicely over the next 12 months. 1Dec2004. 14% alc. $21.95.
Fruit driven aromas with some rich, dried fig coming through. Nicely balanced citrussy fruit, lots of acidity, a quite creamy texture with toasty oak coming through. Very good fruit with stonefruit, melon and figs, toasty oak, a touch of bubble gum on the finish. Grapefruit and mealy characters linger on the aftertaste. Well made. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 11Apr2005.
Light yellow gold. Ripe, round and toasty, very well made with a mealy, creamy, spicy vibrancy, lovely fruit weight and concentration,. Lightly toasty with caramel on the finish and rich stonefruit and citrus flavours lingering. Very smooth with good length. 13.5% alc. $16.95. 4May2005.
Fruity and juicy with good stonefruit concentration and bright spicy oak with a smoky savouriness to the citrus-infused, tropical fruit, finish. It is not too oaky but has lots of acidity so it doesn’t want to be over-chilled. 13.5% alc. $16.95. 7Sep2005.
Rich bright golden yellow. Oaky, buttery and nutty with a rich spicy, mealy influence, an oily creamy texture, figs, golden queen peaches, a touch of apricot and a long savoury finish. Full-bodied, smooth and long. 13.5% alc. $16.95. 18Jan2006.

Millton Clos de Ste Anne Chardonnay 2004 - Gisborne Rich lemon gold with nutty oak, citrus and nougat aromas, it has a slightly lemony buttermilk character and interesting subtle stonefruit flavours of apricot and nectarine with a touch of hokey pokey. It's very dry with a wheaty backbone and a ton of savoury oak on the juicy finish where that nougat character emerges again to linger. Warm textured and mouth coating. 14% alc. $51.99. Cork. 31Jan2007.

Mission Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 This is a cruisy little fresh and fruity pale gold number with ripe peach, melon and tropical fruit on a lovely creamy texture with integrated but subtle toasty oak and a spicy pineapple aftertaste. Lovely balance, good length and great drinking at the price. 13.5% alc. $12.95. 2Feb2005.
A bright gold, fruity smelling, fresh, tasty wine with citrus and tropical fruits, a creamy backbone, a lightly oaked finish and just a touch of caramel. 13.5% alc. $14.95. 29Jun2005.

Mission Jewelstone Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 Pale coloured with buttery, toasty oak aromas and rich stonefruit flavours with firm citrus acidity and a nuttiness on the full-ripe, mouthfilling finish - a very stylish barrel-fermented wine. 14% alc. $27.95. 5Oct2005.
Lemon gold with an oily, lanolin-like, smoky, flinty and mellow oak aroma, there's plenty of toasty flavours in the full-bodied palate with nuts, figs, stonefruit, a bright citrussy undercurrent, a fair whack of malolactic, a leesy richness and a cedary finish. Now three years old and showing a little bottle development. 14% alc. $27.99. Diam closure. 6Jun2007.

Monkey Bay East Coast Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A light-weight wine with no influence of oak, peach and melon fruit and a crisp, citrus rind finish. Serve slightly chilled and enjoyed as a refreshing drink on a sunny afternoon. 12.5% alc. $14.95. 10Oct2005.

Montana Ormond Estate 'O' Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A big, full-bodied, ripe fruity style. Lots of tropical fruit and toasty oak with a spicy, mealy finish and a long, powerful aftertaste. Well-balanced and definitely approachable. 14% alc. $26.95. 14Dec2005.

Montana Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc)Oaky, a little astringent smelling at first, then later it smells quite peachy and fruity. It is crisp in the palate with a leesy undercurrent and a full-bodied smoky finish where glace pineapple lingers on the aftertaste. A tasty quaffer, this doesn’t really need food. 14% alc. $19.95. 5May2006.

Montana Terroir Series Stuart Block Gisborne Chardonnay (Patutahi) 2004 (sc) Lovely toasty aromatics with ripe stonefruit, a hint of butterscotch and a delicious mealy influence. Rich and mouthfilling with an earthy, mealy backbone, lovely concentrated fruit and a toasty oak finish with good acidity carrying the length. 14% alc. $26.95. 12Oct2005.
Lovely toasty, mealy aromatics with ripe stonefruit and a hint of butterscotch leading into a rich, mouthfilling palate with an earthy, mealy backbone, mellow tropical fruit and a spicy, toasty oak finish. Stylish and long. 14% alc. $26.95. 7Dec2005.
Light yellow-gold with alluring nutty French oak aromas flushed with oatmeal and ripe, creamy flavours of stone and tropical fruit with a mealy undercurrent and a hint of citrus, it's full-bodied with a touch of spice and beautifully balanced throughout. A gorgeous, seamless wine and a stunning example of the Gisborne style. 14% alc. $22.99. 27Sep2006.

Montana Terroir Waihirere Gisborne Chardonnay (Ormond) 2004 (sc) A more restrained style with Burgundian aromas and a tight, lean palate, but it opens up beautifully with apricot on the nose as it warms up and in the palate are ripe stonefruit flavours with a caramel influence on the smooth, seamless, mealy, smoky finish. Very smart. 14% alc. $26.95. 12Oct2005.

Morton Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc)Light oak, melon and boiled lolly on the nose lead into a crisp palate with a grainy texture, firm acidity, complex fruit and abundant oak. This is a rich, full-bodied wine that has some evolving to do at this stage. 14% alc. $17. 5May2006.

Morton Estate Hawkes Bay "Coniglio" Chardonnay 2004 (c) A mellow, seemingly older Chardonnay, rich in colour with hints of toasty oak spice to the perfume and nutty scents too when the chilled wine warms up. It's tight, rich, creamy and buttery with an oily texture, nectarine and citrus fruit and a touch of butter caramel. Smooth, seamless and mouth coating, this 'current vintage' is drinking to perfection right now. A great experience. 14.5% alc. Cork. $84.99. 3Mar2010.

Morton Estate Hawkes Bay "Riverview" Chardonnay 2004 (c) A gem-like yellow-green golden colour, like a heliodor crystal both in colour and lustre. It's a gob-smackingly rich and decadently creamy style with a fair slug of toasty oak - but the oak simply melts into the rich, juicy, fresh-off-the-tree Golden Queen peach fruit that is a feature of this wine. It's underpinned with spice and savoury mealy characters from the barrel ferment and the aging on yeast lees and as it lingers there's a touch of lemon meringue too. A gorgeous full-bodied, opulent style and fabulous with a chilled peach soup - made with Golden Queen peaches, fresh-off-the-tree, of course. 15% alc. $20.95. 25Feb2007.

Morton Estate Hawkes Bay "Three Vineyards" Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Green gold colour. Buttery aromas waft out of the glass while it's sitting on the table but when the glass is 'nosed' there's butter and rubber bands. This characters reminds me of Australian chardonnay but it is also a character of Morton Estate as I often think the chardonnays are ustralian in a blind tasting. A buttery, toasty, mellow and soft easy style showing a little age. It leaves an oily coating in the mouth, which distracted for me. However the wine is powerful, perhaps driven by high alcohol and the finish is lemony and mealy. 14.5% alc. $19.95. 18Nov2007.

Mountford Waipara Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Medium gold in colour with savoury, spicy yeast lees aromas and rich powerful flavours of smoky honeyed oak and grilled stonefruit on a creamy textured backbone with a strong lactic influence from the malolactic fermentation. It's quite tight at this stage of its life, so drink in a big glass or put away for medium term cellaring. 14% alc. $49.95. 10May2006.

Mount Riley Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light gold. Smoky figs on the nose, mealy flavours, a nice touch of toasty oak and a smooth long finish with tropical fruits and citrus lingering on the aftertaste with an estery/bubble gum nuance. 14% alc. $16.95. 11Apr2005.
Light bright gold. Creamy textured, a little earthy and mealy smelling with fig and nectarines on the nose then later grapefruit. Fruit driven and clean with tingly, citrussy, spicy oak and mandarin lingering on the buttery toasty finish. 14% alc. $16.95. 11May2005.
A fruity smelling wine with juicy fruit gum esters on the nose and ripe grapefruit, sweet lemon and tangerine flavours, with just a hint of oak, a creamy texture and a toasty, mealy, lees-influenced finish. A quite quaffable medium-bodied style. 14% alc. $16.95. 14Dec2005.

Mount Riley Seventeen Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Deep gold with yellow glints, this is a savoury wine with mealy, wheat biscuit aromas and rich, powerful, savoury, mealy flavours with toasty oak and tropical fruit. Plenty of winemaker interaction with firm acidity that makes it seem very tight but it's balanced & focused and the finish brims with grilled peaches. French and American oak. Definitely needs a big glass. 14.5% alc. $24.99. 4Apr2007.
Yellow gold with a bright spritzy aroma that appeals with its savoury, nutty, polished oak and a soft, creamy, buttery palate full of curvaceous lushness, fleshed out with melon and tropical fruit and edged with lime and a touch of smoky flint. Full-bodied and long, plenty of malolactic influence and still drinking well. French and American oak. 14.5% alc. $29.99. 31May2007.

Mud House White Swan Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A savoury, smoky, mealy chardonnay with nutty oak, malo influences, citrus and stonefruit building into a rich, subtle, full-bodied finish with a long, creamy finish. There's a definite Burgundian character to the wine. 13.7% alc. $25.95. 14Sep2005.
Light gold coloured, rich and powerful, mealy and toasty, a big, barrel-fermented, style with full malo, loads of nutty, leesy characters, citrus and spicy oak. Perfect for crayfish. 13.7% alc. $25.95. 14Dec2005.
Light yellow gold coloured with apricot and nutty muesli aromas and oat-meal in the palate. This is a beautifully poised, smooth, savoury style with a slightly oily texture, lots of yeast-lees influence and an apricot-rich, stonefruit influence to the biscuity finish. Rich but not overpowering. 13.97% alc. $25.95.29Mar2006.
Bright yellow gold. Aromatic with hints of pineapple bread on the nose, it tastes crisp, creamy and leesy with a strong malolactic influence, hints of toffee and lots of citrus that tend towards grapefruit. Rich and tasty, warm and vibrant, it fills out beautifully to a warm, toasty finish. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 14Mar2007.

Muddy Water Waipara Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A savoury, mealy smelling barrel-fermented wine with lots of yeasty flavours and citrus to the fore. Spicy toasty oak builds in the palate to a rich, creamy, full-bodied finish, with a leesy, lemony character lingering. A rather opulent style. 14% alc. $30. 15Dec2005.

Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2004 Bright zesty fruit, lots of acid, quite dry and wheaty in the palate. A fruit-driven style with lemon dominating the flavour at first then softer, fleshier flavours of melons filling it out. Beautifully integrated creamy oak and a spicy, lively finish with an earthy undercurrent. Altogether there's a definite aura of class. 14% alc. $28.95. 13Apr2005.
Bright yellow gold in colour with ripe fruit aromas and mouthfilling flavours with a creamy texture, a sweet yeasty influence and butterscotch oak on the long, full, finish. Very ripe and very appealing. 14% alc. $28. 19Sep2005.
A big, leesy, citrussy, full-malo style. Toasty smelling with freshly squeezed grapefruit aromas and creamy, barrel-fermented flavours with peach and melon joining the citrus and butterscotch coming forth on the finish. Quite tight and doesn’t really suit chilling. 14% alc. $25.95. 14Dec2005.

Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2004 - Nelson (sc) Tempting, aromatic, barrel-ferment and stonefruit aromas, then toasty oak and vanilla fill the palate with deliciously focussed peach-like fruit and a lovely spiciness to the smooth rounded finish where nut bread-like characters come through to linger. A powerful, seamless wine with a flare of citrus on the finish to let you know that this wine has acidity that will let it mature in the cellar for some time into the future. 14.5% alc. $65.95. 8Mar2006.

Nga Waka Martinborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc)A complex smelling wine that abounds with winemaking influences of barrels and yeast while in the smooth-textured palate there's a touch of sherbet over ripe fruit that has a backbone of citrus. The yeast lees flavours are quite dominant and there's a touch of butter too. It has a bitterness to the finish at first, but opens up and becomes quite multifaceted as the night goes on. A wine that is made to go with food, it absolutely comes into its own with delicate whitebait fritters served with a squeeze of lemon and is also very good with spicy fresh salmon kebabs. 13.5% alc. $25. 5May2006.

Ngatarawa Alwyn Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A lovely rounded chardonnay with a light golden colour, ripe stonefruit and buttery, creamy oak aromas, spicy oak, citrus and stonefruit, lots of barrel-ferment complexities and a savoury, nutty finish with a touch of grapefruit and a smokiness as it lingers. Very very smart and very very drinkable. The next day it is showing rather a lot of bready characters, which says to me, "match to roast chicken with a spicy bread sauce". 14% alc,. $34. 11Aug2006.

Ngatarawa Silks Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Beautifully integrated spicy oak, fresh ripe peachy fruit, butterscotch nuances and a tropical citrussy overtone make this wine very appealing. A medium-bodied style from a sensational vintage, drink on its own or serve with fish, chicken or pork and Asian-inspired flavours. 14% alc. $19.95. 1Mar2005.

Nobilo Station Road Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A peaches and cream Chardonnay, soft and easy drinking with a hint of caramel and a spicy bite to the savoury finish. Largely unoaked, it delivers fruit and flavour for summertime drinking. 13% alc. $10.95 special. 17Nov2004.

Nobilo Icon Chardonnay 2004 - Gisborne Deep gold with buttery aromas and satin-textured creamy, mealy flavours influenced by malolactic with just a touch of citrus joining tropical fruit, caramel and spicy toasty oak on the finish. 13.5% alc. $23.95/$15.95. 13Jul2005.

Northrow Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Very appealing buttery oak and barrel-ferment aromas and smooth mouthfilling flavours of spicy oak and crème caramel with juicy stonefruit, a mealy undercurrent and a long savoury oak finish. This is going to develop into a beautiful big rich chardonnay but is delicious already. 14% alc. $24.95. 14Sep2005.
Sweet oak aromas lead into a smooth, creamy palate with butter caramel, juicy stonefruit, citrus and a long, savoury oak, finish. 14% alc. $21.95. 9Nov2005.

Odyssey Reserve Iliad Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 A chardonnay lover's wine with toasty oak, stonefruit, figs and butterscotch. Juicy, rounded and deliciously tasty with a smoky finish and creamy caramel lingering on the aftertaste. Wonderful fruit weight. Seamless throughout. 13.5% alc. $29.95. 13Apr2005.
A light gold coloured wine with sweet-fruited, spicy toasty aromas. Concentrated melon and citrus fruit in the palate with a creamy texture, an abundance of polished toasty oak and a mealy, biscuity finish. A powerful wine with lots of flavour and a spicy aftertaste. 13.5% alc. $33.95. 15Jun2005.

Okahu East Coast Chardonnay 2004 (sc) It smells a little like nutty, buttery sherbet - or perhaps figs and nougat - anyway it doesn’t smell too bad at all. In the palate it is medium-bodied and savoury with a creamy texture, a strong nutty influence and a tart steely finish. 13.5% alc. $27.95. 5Nov2005.

Palliser Martinborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Pale straw gold in colour, this smells like buttered corn but is quite citrussy to the taste with a light mealy influence, a sweet fruit finish and a rich, toasty, savoury oak aftertaste. A medium-bodied to full-bodied style with a thick, fruity texture and a creaminess as it lingers. 13.5% alc. $28. 5Nov2005.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A complex barrel-fermented style with rich, yeast lees-influenced smoky aromas and upfront spicy, zesty flavours that meld into the toasty, creamy oak. It is rich and full-bodied wine with lots of winemaking flavours while stonefruit and grapefruit linger on the lasting finish. It simply gets better with every mouthful. 14.5% alc. $32.95. 6Mar2006.
Yellow gold with a lime glint, this has a very powerful wheaty, yeast lees aroma with hints of grapefruit peel and smoke. It is reminiscent of wheat beer in many respects, or a marmalade that has been left in the jar too long and started to ferment. Savoury to the taste, it is full-bodied and rich with very mellow spicy oak, Macintosh's soft 'Harrogate' toffees adding fullness to the mid-palate and peach and vanilla custard nuances to the finish. With good acidity and balance throughout, and lots of subtle, smoky barrel influence, this is a wine that is a bit left field to the norm that New Zealand produces, but followers of this label will not be disappointed. 14.5% alc. $35.95. 7Jun2006.
Bright yellow gold, gunsmoke and grapefruit on the nose, big, bold and spicy in the rich, creamy palate with cedary oak, buttered popcorn, ripe stonefruit, a touch of citrus, lots of leesy oatmeal characters and a warm spicy, savoury finish. A huge, mouthfilling wine, not for the faint-hearted, it is almost a meal on its own. 14.5% alc. $29.95. 26Jul2006.

Pencarrow Martinborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Pale straw. Nutty aromas lead into a palate filled with juicy melon and tropical fruit with a touch of citrus and smoky oak in the background. A lighter style of Chardonnay with nicely balanced acidity and a dry toasty finish that lingers with some complexity. Long and juicy. Smart new packaging with a minimalist label. Accompany to fish in a butter sauce. 13% alc. $17. 16Dec2004.
A pale coloured wine with a nutty aroma that leads into a medium-bodied, slightly sherbetty palate with savoury oak, citrus and tropical fruit on an oily/creamy texture, a zesty tartness to the citrussy finish and a savoury, mealy aftertaste. 13% alc. $17. 5Nov2005.

Ransom Barrique Matakana Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light, bright gold. Melon and nutty mellow oak aromas and spicy savoury, mealy nutty flavours with fruit coming forth on the medium-full-bodied finish. Good acidity. 14% alc. $25. 19Feb2006.

Ransom Gumfield Matakana Chardonnay 2004 Fruity style, light, fresh with tropical fruit and citrus and a mealy note to the steely finish. Unoaked. 14% alc. $20. 19Feb2006.

Rimu Grove Nelson Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light citrine gold with a gemmy depth, there's fleshy fruit on the slightly, oily, savoury aroma and full-on spicy, smoky oak flavours with fleshy ripe stonefruits and hints of pineapple adding a lovely, lifted tang. A full-bodied, powerful wine, seemingly soft and savoury but with a crisp acid and spicy yeast lees undercurrent, it fills out well with lingering flavours of stonefruit with the initial dominating oak slips quietly away into the background. Aged on lees for 11 months in French oak, 35% new. 13.9% alc. $28. 7Jun2007.

Riverby Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 Wheaty, mealy aromas carry through into the palate to be joined by melon fruit, a touch of citrus, a hint of bubblegum and tropical fruit on the rich, spicy oak finish. 13.8% alc. $24.95. 7Jul2005.

Sacred Hill Barrel Fermented Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Pale straw. Smelling of spicy mealy oak aromas with hazel nut and just burnt butter that you have cooked salmon in, this translates to a medium-bodied salty (minerally) wine with vanilla oak and plenty of tropical fruit that lingers well. Nice easy quaffable style, just released when tasted. Try with salmon. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 16Dec2004.

Sacred Hill Rifleman's Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Green gold coloured. Grapefruit and smoky, yeast lees aromas and bright, fresh flavours packed with spicy oak, melon, juicy tropical fruit and stone fruit coming forth to linger on the toasty finish.. It's rich and mouthfilling with a smooth, creamy texture and a delicious complexity from the barrel-ferment and lees stirring. 14% alc. $48.95. 1Mar2006.
An earthy, leesy, wheaty style, full-bodied and rounded with lots and lots going on. Full of winemaking flavours of barrel ferment, lees stirring and toasty oak with ripe citrus and stonefruit building in the palate and peach-like fruit making a statement on the persistent finish. A big wine with lots of class. 14% alc. $49.95. 6Mar2006.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A big rich toasty style with caramel on the nose and rounded, smooth, rich, creamy, mouthfilling flavours with a full-bodied complexity from the toasty oak and savoury yeast, beautifully integrated oak and grapefruit notes on the finish. Seamless in its delivery. Total class. 14.5% alc. $29.95. 6Mar2006.
Pale straw in colour, this is quite restrained on the nose at first, but as it warms up in the glass toasty, citrussy aromas arise, however it is immediately mouthfilling with powerful flavours of sweet nutty oak and caramel toffee with hints of tropical fruit over a rich, melon backbone. With lots of body, good fruit, good oak and a lingering sweet toasty oak finish, this is a big, fat, rich, delicious style. 14.5% alc. $24.95. 7Jun2006.
Rich gold. Toasty, nutty aromas with a hint of citrus and a creamy butterscotch palate with polished spicy oak, juicy ripe stonefruit and a long toasty finish with a touch of lime and a hint of caramel. Full-bodied and mouthfilling with excellent length. 14.5% alc. $24.99. 2Aug2006.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light gold, richly aromatic and full of flavour, full-bodied and creamy in style with an apricot and grilled stonefruit richness, honeyed oak and a powerfully long toasty finish with a limey citrus tang and a hint of crème caramel as it lingers. The oak has started to mellow but has not lost any of its smoky spice. 14.5% alc. $24.99. 1Nov2006.

Saint Clair Vicar's Choice Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Nutty aromas and flavours are joined by citrus in this yeasty influenced, slightly earthy flavoured wine with fruit cake raisins and melons coming forth on the finish. A simple style. 13% alc. $16.95. 19Dec2004.

Seifried Estate Winemakers Collection Barrique Fermented Nelson Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Straw gold and richly aromatic with a hint of violet amongst the mealy, nutty, caramel-infused oak, and fruit forward flavours of apricot, tropical fruit and toasted pineapple with caramel coming through on the fruit-sweet finish. 14% alc. $26.95. 30Nov2005.
Rich, ripe toasty flavoursome with grilled stonefruit aromas and juicy tropical fruit and stonefruit flavours, it's well-balanced, well-structured, creamy and long. Mendoza clone matured in French and American oak. 14% alc. $23.99. 25Apr2007.

Seifried Estate Nelson Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Straw gold with vibrant hues, abundant aromas of toasty oak and grilled peaches, and profuse flavours of spicy oak, vanilla, peach and apricot with an underlying mealy savouriness and a warm, dry, toasty finish. Smooth and seamless, drinking beautifully already. 14% alc. $15.95. 6Apr2005.
Creamy oak and stonefruit aromas lead into a beautifully balanced buttery mouthful with spicy oak, caramel, lots of juicy fruit and a toasty finish. 14% alc. $15.95. 15Jun2005.
A golden coloured wine with mealy influenced buttery oak, luscious tropical fruit and a long, creamed nut finish. It's ripe and spicy with a good seam of zesty citrus throughout. Very easy to like. 14% alc. $15.95. 7Sep2005.

Selaks Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Medium-bodied with orange blossom and subtle mellow oak on the nose, tropical fruit, sweet oak and a touch of butterscotch in the palate. Well-balanced with a spicy, lifted, juicy, sweet citrus finish. Good, clean, simple. 13% alc. $15. 27May2005.

Selaks Founders Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) With delicious toasty oak aromas, gorgeous oak and fruit flavours and obvious Burgundian winemaking influences of lees stirring and malolactic that adds complexity to the creamy texture, this is an ultra-classy wine with well-integrated spicy oak, citrus, tropical fruit and nougat lingering on the savoury, mealy aftertaste. 13.5% alc. $27.95. 28Sep2005.
Bright, light yellow gold. Rich and toasty smelling with lots of aromatic mealy notes. Rich and toasty in the palate too with bold spicy oak, a ton of stonefruit and a touch of grapefruit coming through on the long, mealy, butterscotch-rich finish. A deliciously creamy and flavoursome wine with purity, length and enough acidity to make it last. 13.5% alc. $25.95. 1Feb2006.
Light gold coloured with fragrant, toasty, nutty, mealy aromas that have a suggestion of grapefruit that carries through to the palate that is smooth and creamy textured with mouthfilling flavours of citrus and melon fruit and classy, sophisticated oak. A beautifully balanced wine with a touch of lushness to the finish. 13.5% alc. $22.99. 16Aug2006.
Toasty mellow oak on the nose and citrussy flavours that hint of grapefruit, with a spicy backbone and a mellow finish. A touch of malo adds a Burgundian nuance while stonefruit and pineapple linger on the dry finish. Integrating nicely. 13.5% alc. $22.99. 8Nov2006.

Selaks Founders Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Full of toasty oak and caramel, this is rich and creamy with delicious citrus and tropical fruit and lots of mealy intensity. Drinking absolutely beautifully. Two gold medals. 14% alc. $24.95. 9Nov2005.
Full-bodied, rich, mealy and spicy, this oaky, creamy malolactic style has mouthfilling stonefruit, tropical fruits and butterscotch developing on the warm, spicy finish. A classy, seamless wine that suffers from "small glass syndrome", i.e. drink in a big glass for utmost enjoyment. 14% alc. $26.95. 28Dec2005.
Rich gold with nutty oak aromas and nutbread flavours in a full malolactic style with stonefruit underpinned by citrus and a long, warm, sweet-fruited mouthfilling finish that fills out beautifully. A premium wine that would grace any occasion. 14% alc. $22.99. 2Aug2006.

Seresin Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (c) Pale yellow gold. Quite funky, leesy, nutty aromas influenced by the wild yeasts used for fermentation, and a strong earthy, yeasty influence to the flavour with hints of stonefruit and citrus joining the sweet oak on the long, mealy finish. 13.5% alc. $23.90. 5Nov2005.

Seresin Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (c) Light gold coloured with nutty oak aromas while in the palate leesy characters are to the fore, with citrus and sweet vanillin oak. This is a clean, balanced, richly textured wine with a full-bodied, toasty finish. Good. 14% alc. $35.90. 5Nov2005.

Sileni The Lodge Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Nutty aromas and mellow nutty flavours with good intensity of fruit over a well-structured backbone with toasty, creamy oak and just a touch of citrus joining ripe tropical fruit on the lingering smoky finish. 14% alc. $34.95. 15Jun2005.

Sleeping Giant Hill Block Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Nutmeg permeates the creamy oak on the nose of this light yellow gold wine and the flavours build up beautifully in the fine, focused palate to a full, rounded finish with toasty oak, stonefruit, tropical fruit and a hint of caramel-topped crème brulee. 14.3% alc. $42.99. 20Sep2006.

Soljans Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Tropical fruit and citrus aromas lead into leesy, milky, malolactic-influenced flavours with citrus the most dominant fruit at first, it fattens up nicely in the palate with hokey pokey and vanilla on the finish and sweet stone fruit lingering. A light to medium--bodied style. 12% alc. $16.50. 11Apr2005.

Southbank Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (c) Light gold. Slight peachy aromas over savoury oak. Quite closed at first but opens up with a crisp spiciness on a creamy, mealy, leesy backbone with spicy oak and citrus lingering with melons and stonefruit on the biscuity aftertaste. A big wine. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 24May2005.

Spencer Hill Coastal Ridge Chardonnay 2004 (c) Golden, slightly onion-skin coloured. On the nose there's sweet fruit, like apricots with a hint of musk, spice and ever so slightly peppery aromas, and sweet-fruited flavours with a vanilla bean / custard character leading into a savoury, slightly earthy, mealy finish. It's rich and full-bodied and very fragrant and lifted. I wonder if there is a smidgen of Viognier in the blend - or perhaps it is the native yeasts that have enhanced the fragrant characters. A very interesting wine. 14% alc. $36.95. 5Nov2005.

Spy Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light gold. Rich creamy stonefruit aromas and savoury oak flavours with spice, toasted nuts, apricot and citrus. An opulent. full-bodied. barrel-fermented style with good viscosity, well-integrated oak and a juicy finish. Impressive. 14% alc. $18.95. 14Dec2005.
Light gold coloured. Subtle stonefruit aromas with a more aromatic grapefruit component and upfront citrussy flavours that become more tropical as the wine moves through the mouth. It's creamy in texture with nutty, mealy, malolactic notes, lots of alcohol and a citrus spiciness to the toasty oak finish. 14% alc. $16.95. 22Feb2006.

Squawking Magpie Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Clear light gold in colour with smoky scents that hints of grapefruit and a spicy, full-bodied flavour full of ripe fruit and soft spicy oak with a mealy undercurrent and a long, creamy, citrus-infused melon and tropical fruit finish. 14% alc. $29.99. 20Sep2006.
Toasty, tropical fruit and stonefruit, creamy, oily, juicy fruit gum aroma and a citrussy leesy character to the creamy palate that builds to a rich, savoury finish. Beautifully balanced wine and drinking beautifully now. 14% alc. $33. 18May2007.

Stonecroft Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 Light gold. Mellow, creamed nut aromas and full-bodied flavours with a mealy richness, subtle polished French oak, vanilla, golden peaches and custard, terrific fruit weight mid-palate and a spicy bite to the nutty finish. Mouthfilling and long with a citrussy tang and fruit salad lingering on the aftertaste. Bottled less than a month before tasting, it is still closeted in its youth. Diam closure. 13.5% alc. $28. 24Feb2005.

Stoneleigh Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Smoky oak, citrus and stonefruit on the nose and citrus in the palate with a lifted, leesy backbone, lots of youthful acidity, a juicy, fresh tropical fruited finish and a lingering, smoky aftertaste. A lighter, medium-bodied style with lovely freshness and a clean, long finish, it will be perfect with seafood coated with a lemon/butter sauce. 14.3% alc. $18.95. 6Mar2006.

Summerhouse Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Quite fruity with creamy oak aromas and beautifully balanced nectarine and stonefruit flavours with vanillin oak, fruit concentration and a long, stylish finish. $24.95. 9Nov2005.
Light gold coloured with toasty sweet oak aromas and big, rich and rounded flavours with creamy oak, ripe stonefruit and butter caramel. Firm acidity underpins the wine and hints to its origin. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 4Apr2007.

Te Awa Longlands Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light gold in colour. Nice peachy barrel ferment aromas. Rounded, leesy, a little mealy with stonefruit and honeyed oak, a ripe fruit finish and a spicy lifted aftertaste. There's lots of savouriness in this wine to balance the sweet juicy fruit and it is drinking nicely now.13% alc. $18.95. 16Dec2004.
Light gold coloured with fresh peach flavours in a medium-weight package with a bright mealy finish and a rich, oaky aftertaste. 13% alc. $15.95. 3Aug2005.
Citrus on the nose with nutty oak, peachy fruit and more citrus coming through the mealy, nutty backbone overlain with warm butter and a long toasty finish. 13% alc. $15.95 special. 24Aug2005.

Te Kairanga Martinborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Toasty aroma and a grainy textured, spritzy palate with lots of citrus flavours and cedary oak in the background, however it seems a little unmeshed with dried bananas joining tropical fruit on the finish. A lighter style with a grainy texture. 13.5% alc. $25. 6Mar2006.

Te Mania Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2004 (D) Bright gold with glints of green, sweet toasty barrel ferment aromas tantalise the nose and caramel oak and mealy flavours fill the palate. A stylishly made, creamy textured, lees-influenced full-bodied style with a spicy stonefruit richness and citrus on the finish, which is long and tasty. 14% alc. $24.99. 8Nov2006.

Te Mata Elston Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 Golden coloured, bright and gemmy with a bright, mealy, lightly toasty aroma and mouth-filling, juicy fruit flavours interweaved with mellow oak that has a mealy richness. Beautiful texture and flow, almost viscous, like the juice from a can of peach-influenced fruit salad. Lovely balance throughout with amazing fruit weight and a long, juicy, pineapple influenced aftertaste. Fermented in seasoned French oak with malolactic fermentation then a further 10 months in barrel on yeast lees before bottling. 13.5% alc. $29.95. 12Apr2005.
Ripe and citrussy with a powerful yeasty influence and biscuity spicy oak that is quite subtle at first but becomes rich and toasty as the concentrated power of this rich, mealy wine becomes apparent. Smooth, seamless and savoury with some pineapple coming through on the finish but really needs a big glass to let it open up at this youthful stage of its life. 13.5% alc. $38.95. 7Sep2005.
Vanilla bean aromas lead into a rich, creamy, malolactic, barrel-fermented style with a mealy backbone, citrus, tropical fruit and nougat. Silky textured, seamless and long, honeyed savoury oak lingers on the spicy, full-bodied finish. Made to last, this is a stunning example of great New Zealand chardonnay. 13.5% alc. $38.95. 11Jan2006.

Te Mata Woodthorpe Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Half barrel fermented and half tank fermented with full malolactic fermentation and barrel maturation. Smoky, sweetly perfumed savoury oak aromas with a spicy savouriness that carries through to the palate. Lovely fruit, seamless in its flow, a beautiful wine with a spicy richness, stonefruit, hints of spicy pineapple, and a long, mealy savoury finish. 13.5% alc. $22. 12Apr2005.
Clear bright green gold with citrussy aromas and citrus, lemongrass and lime marmalade flavours. It's a nutty style with good palate weight and a creamy texture with butterscotch emerging on the long finish, but showing just a little astringency from the dominant citrus flavours tonight. 13% alc. $17.95. 4Jan2006.

Te Whare Ra Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Quite mealy, savoury aromas and a creamy textured palate with lots of juicy fruit and spicy oak, very well balanced, medium to full-bodied with a long, mealy, toasty finish, a touch of caramel as it lingers and stonefruit emerging too. Lots of appeal. 14.2% alc. $25. 5Nov2005.

Tiritiri Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Yellow gold in colour, this is a rich, full-bodied, buttery, creamy wine with savoury oak and a mealy backbone supporting the concentrated apricot and citrus fruit. There's lots of barrel-ferment influence that adds a rich wheatiness to the finish, which is long and powerful. 14% alc. $39. 5Nov2005.

Tiritiri Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Appealing right from the outset. Light gold in colour with nutty, stonefruit and buttered oak aromas paving the way to a creamy textured palate with sweet ripe fruit - like butter-grilled peaches and nectarines, toasty oak, a touch of citrus to balance the sweetness and a long, creamy, nutty finish with a long, mealy-influenced aftertaste. Very smart indeed without being over the top. 14% alc. $49. 5Nov2005.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Road Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Yeasty, mealy, barrel-derived aromas. Citrus initially dominates the leesy, mealy, creamy, biscuity flavour with polished French oak, a warm creamy texture, lots of savoury spice coming through on the finish and mouthfilling stonefruit on the aftertaste. This wine needs a big glass to let it open up because the potential is there - it just needs a little more time. One for the cellar. 14% alc. $29.95. 10Aug2005.
Yellow gold. Sweet nutty oak aromas and a nice balance of savoury and sweet-fruited flavours - in fact it is almost jammy - think melon jam with a touch of apricot - with creamy buttered nuts and toasty oak and a rich, fruity, vanilla-coated finish. A powerful, full-bodied, mealy wine with all the winemaking works, resulting in plenty of flavour and length. 14.5% alc. $29.95. 5Nov2005.
Rich gold in colour with a rich, leesy, mealy full-on barrel-fermented aroma and a fat, rich, full-bodied flavour with lots of leesy, mealy nuances, nuts, figs and stonefruit, savoury oak and soft acidity. A hard-to-resist style for die-hard Chardonnay fans and drinking beautifully now. 14% alc. $26.99. 2Aug2006.

TW Black Label Gisborne Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Hints of apricot on the bright, tropical fruit scented nose leads into a rich, toasty, creamy, full-bodied palate with terrific fruit focus, a ripe mealy influence and a spicy oak finish. Rounded and seamless with juicy fruit and savoury oak lingering. 13.8% alc. $26.95. 25Jan2006.
Deep straw gold, it smells soft and creamy and tastes soft and round with rich stonefruit and tropical fruit flavours on a smooth polished creamy oak backbone. The label says white peach, cream and hazelnut and it is so right. A delicious wine, drinking beautifully now. Love it. 13.8% alc. $23.99.

Vavasour Anna’s Vineyard Awatere Valley Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light straw gold with buttery oak on the nose and ripe, rich, creamy, buttery flavours packed with spicy oak, peachy fruit, an underpinning of citrus and a long, smoky, satisfying finish with a lingering savoury aftertaste. The is the style of Chardonnay that we know and love, and it's ready to drink now. 14.5% alc. $39.95. 26Apr2006.
Tempting and tantalising aromas of toasty oak, nutmeg, caramel and stonefruit carry through to the rich, fleshy mouthfilling palate that seduces with its beautifully smooth, creamy texture and seamless flow. A touch of citrus joins white peach on the lingering finish which is warm, long, fulfilling and moreish. 14.5% alc. $39.99. 11Oct2006.
Distinctive rich sweet oak, nutty with a hint of wild yeast. Sweet-fruited and luscious in the full-bodied palate with honeyed oak, caramel, nectarines and spicy, cedary, French oak. An opulent style of Chardonnay with a rich, juicy finish and well-integrated acidity that keeps the wine focussed. 14.5% alc. $39.99. 2Jun2007.
Yellow gold with nutty, leesy, Burgundian on the nose with a milky malolactic influence, it immediately tastes a little older with a peach oil infusion to the leesy, savoury, nutty, mouth-filling flavours and a rich, toasty complexity gained with age. Grapefruit emerges on the tangy, savoury finish with a cheek-flushing heat to the persistent mouthfilling finish. 75% French oak with wild yeast ferment, malolactic fermentation and 10 months on lees. 14.5% alc. $39.99. 5Sep2007.

Vavasour Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Creamy textured with youthful citrus acidity and concentrated yellow plum and peach-like fruit beautifully balanced to the spicy oak and the leesy, mealy, buttery barrel-ferment flavours and a warm toasty finish. Still very young but definitely classy. 14.5% alc. $20.95. Screwcap. 6Jul2005.

Vidal Unoaked Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) This yellow gold, fruit driven wine is like fruit salad in a glass with stonefruit, tropical fruit, melon and grilled pineapple on a rich, slightly oily texture. Quite powerful and creamy, this rich unoaked chardonnay builds to a mellow finish with pink bubblegum-like esters. A flavoursome summery wine. 14% alc. $19.95. 1Dec2004.
A buttery chardonnay without oak, the buttery flavour obtained by winemaking wizardy such as malo and time on yeast lees. Frech, spicy, creamy and mouthfilling with stonefruit and tropical fruit influenced grapey flavours, if you don’t like chardonnay because you don’t like oak, you simply have to try this. 14% alc. $19.95. 29Jan2005.

Vidal Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Buttery mellow oak and rich stonefruit and melon flavours make this a very appealing, drinkable style. 14% alc. $19.95. 31Oct2005.

Vidal Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Fruit driven - very intense and concentrated with a fruity texture, stonefruits, spicy oak and a long, creamy, vanillin finish. Complex and full with a grainy backbone - needs time. $34.95. 6Sep2005.
Intense, rich and powerful. A lovely, mouthfilling, full-bodied wine. 9Nov2005.

Vidal Natural Ferment Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Medium gold in colour with aromas of toasted nuts and grilled pineapple and a toasty mouthful of grilled stonefruit and tropical fruit with a yeasty richness, an oily texture, a spicy backbone and a touch of grapefruit on the lingering finish. Tasty and long with bottle complexity adding to its attraction. 14.5% alc. $13.99. 1Nov2006.
Bright yellow gold with creamy, toasty oak aromas and bold, toasty, mouthfilling flavours, such a contrast to the Chablis and although showing a little bottle development with mellow buttery cedar, spice and pineapple cream it is so obviously a 'down under' wine with its abundant oak and fruit. Ready now. 14.5% alc. $13.99. 11Apr2007.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Spicy oak on the nose continues into the palate. There's a creamy, mealy, yeast lees influence and terrific fruit concentration in the stonefruit / tropical fruit spectrum. Big oak but the fruit can handle it. Mouthfilling with a long, slightly buttery, spicy oak finish and lingering flavours of ripe apricots. Grainy texture. Lots of alcohol. Complex, clean and classy with a great finish. 14% alc. $22. 24May2005.
A full-boded savoury, mealy, nutty wine with upfront butterscotch, honeyed oak, peaches and cream - lovely mouthfeel with lots of citrus emerging to linger on the long, spicy finish. 14% alc. $17.95. 3Aug2005.
Light gold and fruity smelling with juicy, fruit-focused flavours of stonefruit, melon and red apples on a mealy backbone with well-integrated smoky oak and a long toasty finish. A very easy-to-drink style that doesn’t need food. 14% alc. $17.95. 14Dec2005.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Rich, buttery aromas and a full-bodied creamy texture. Spicy oak on the front of the palate, sweet caramel oak, buttery, fruit seems quite masked at first then it comes in waves - citrus, apricots and nutty oak linger nicely with a richness. Opens up well. A big wine, nicely balanced and rounded, still evolving but delicious already. Subtle, seamless. 14% alc. $22. 24May2005.

Villa Maria Private Bin East Coast Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Quite a light, fruity style with little influence of oak and tropical fruit mixing in with bready flavours on the finish. 14% alc. $16.95. 31Oct2005.

Villa Maria Reserve Gisborne Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Bright and fruity - a tropical melée with floral notes and concentrated sweet fruit with overtones of pineapple and creamy buttery oak on the full-bodied finish. 14.5% alc. $34.95. 6Sep2005.
Light yellow gold with buttery, vanillin oak scents and mouthfilling flavours of tropical fruit with a touch of melon and mellow cedary oak, it's tight and focused with a creamy, vanilla custard and apricot overtone to the long, dry, spicy finish. 14.5% alc. $36.99. 20Sep2006.

Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Richly concentrated stonefruit with beautifully integrated spicy oak, golden peaches and apricots building to as deliciously long finish with a dry, savoury aftertaste. $32.95. 6Sep2005.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Spicy oak, caramel, smoke and buttered citrus - seamless and savoury with a long smoky finish. A mouthfilling rich wine, quite opulent and totally delicious with mealy influences throughout and a savoury oak coating to the citrus and stonefruit aftertaste. 14% alc. $32.95. 6Sep2005.
Straw gold, lighter in colour then the previous wine, which goes to show you can’t tell a wine's age by it colour. It may be lighter but it is richer and more complex all round with its smoky, mealy, barrel-ferment aroma and polished flavour full of oily French oak, muesli and dried pineapple with stonefruit and hints of citrus. Dry, smoky, spicy and powerful. 14.5% alc. $34.99. 23Aug2006.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Creamy with sweet fruit, still a little grainy in texture with a rich, concentrated fruit-filled finish. $35.00. 6Sep2005.
Light lemon gold with an oily appearance. Very appealing and fragrant with sweet honeyed oak and butterscotch aromas and deliciously mouthfilling with a smooth creamy textured, loads of peach and tropical fruit and a spicy, smoky oak finish with caramel/butterscotch lingering on the creamy mealy aftertaste. It can only be summed up as 'absolutely gorgeous'. 14.5% alc. $36.95. 8Feb2006.
Clear, bright, light gold with lemon glints. Tight, mealy, barrel-ferment scents reek of high quality winemaking. It's very dry with delicious grilled stonefruit adding a balancing fruit sweetness, together with toasted marshmallows and loads of spice. Quite smoky still with hints of oatmeal, it's beautifully harmonious and mellowing out nicely. 14.5% alc. $36.99. 13Dec2006.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Lloyd Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Ripe and creamy with spicy ripe fruit and savoury smoky oak with a butteriness to the rich, creamy texture. Still to open up. $35.00. 6Sep2005.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Waikahu Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Light yellow gold. Quite a creamy, full-bodied style with oatmeal, citrus and honeyed oak on the nose and sweet vanillin oak in the palate with ultra-ripe peach and melon fruit, honeyed butter and a long, mellow mealy, nutty finish with spicy oak lingering. 14.5% alc. $36.95.29Mar2006.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Waldron Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Savoury and smoky with spicy French oak, ripe stonefruit, a hint of grapefruit … very classy with a long, savoury, smoky finish. $35.00. 6Sep2005.
Now very fragrant and mealy with hints of grapefruit and a beautifully creamy texture - seamless, rich and powerful. Very drinkable. 9Nov2005.
Bright straw gold with citrus and vanilla bean aromas that impart a toasty, mealy, richness, then in the palate there's wild yeast and a touch - or more than a touch - of caramel. Full-bodied and creamy with lovely citrussy notes, a beautifully balanced mealy backbone and a hokey pokey character emerging on the long mouth-filling finish. This is a wine with all the bells and whistles, layers of flavour and lots of oak without it being over-dominant. 14.5% alc. $36.95. 22Feb2006.
Smoky oak, cashew nut, peaches and cream on the nose and lovely, rich, creamy, caramel flavours with beautifully integrated spicy oak, beautifully poised citrus and a long savoury, mouthfilling finish. A very classy, very powerful wine that is simply delicious to drink. 14.5% alc. $36.95. 22Mar2006.

W5 Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A mealy, barrel-fermented style with nutty, creamy oak, apricot and pineapple-like fruit, a lovely toasty richness and a touch of caramel coming through on the finish. Very user-firendly. $14. 9Nov2005.

Waimarie Petrie Vineyard Wairarapa Chardonnay 2004 Warm toasty oak aromas fill the nose with hints of butter and grilled peach and the oak plays a big part in the palate too. It's toasty and buttery with an underpinning of bright citrus, a hint of apricot and a long, creamy, almost butterscotch finish. Fruit comes from the Petrie Vineyard. 13.5% alc. $20. 11Jun2007.

West Brook Barrique Fermented Marlborough Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Golden in colour with creamy vanillin oak and buttered peach aromas and butter, coconut, citrus and stonefruit integrating into the backbone of seasoned oak. 14.5% alc. $18.95. 7Jan2007.

West Brook Ivicevich Waimauku Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A very special wine. It's an Auckland chardonnay and seven years on from vintage, it's mighty fine. It's the colour of liquid butter in the glass but shiny and gem-like - heliotrope gemstone comes to mind. The refined smoky oak scent is infused with beurre noisette and the smoky character carries through to the smooth rounded palate that's underpinned with an orange peel-like acidity, and stonefruit and fig. A full-bodied wine with a smokiness that is absolutely intriguing. From the first crop Clone 95 (95%) and Mendoza (5%) grown at the home vineyard, this wine is beautiful now but seems nowhere near its peak - and the fine acidity will keep it on its ascent. 14.5% alc. $38.00. 9Apr2011.

White Rock Wild Ferment Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004 (sc) A light gold coloured, citrussy, wheaty smelling Chardonnay that is quite spicy with a lightly oily texture, savoury oak, plenty of acid and then caramel coming through on the long full, creamy, mealy finish. It has complexity and interest but it is desperately young and will benefit from a little more development in the bottle. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 19Jan2005.

William Hill Central Otago Chardonnay 2004 (sc) Creamy, leesy, overpoweringly malolactic style - but once the wine has been swallowed, the quality of this Burgundian look-alike becomes quite obvious because it leaves a pleasant creamy, citrus, spice and lightly toasty aftertaste. It's just a hurdle getting there and having the wine traverse through the mouth to reach the desired result. 14% alc. $23. 18Nov2007.

[2008/2007] [2006] [2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [1999 and older] [index]

Index to Varietal Tastings
Chardonnay Gewurztraminer
Pinot Gris Sauvignon Blanc Other Whites
Bubblies Sweeties Pinks
Cabernet dominant Merlot dominant Pinotage
Pinot Noir Shiraz Other Reds

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