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Wine Reviews - Chardonnay
2006 vintage
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 22 Oct 2013

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
[2008/2009] [2007] [2006] [2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [1999 and older] [index]

2006 Vintage [top] [index]

Alpha Domus Barrel-Fermented Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) This has developed more richness since last tasted, but still on the 'elegant' side. It slowly builds in the mouth to a creamy, leesy and peachy finish. Just 20% new oak. 13.5% alc. $27. 9Oct2007.

Anchorage Unoaked Nelson Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Very pale straw, this is a taut, citrussy wine, a little reminiscent of pinot gris at first in the palate with its neutral pear-like flavours then it fills out with a citrussy zing. The creamy savouriness of the yeast lees component comes through and with its reasonably high acidity, the long tasty finish seems dry. With its bright zestiness, this would be a great seafood wine, immensely suited to the flavours of the Nelson region. 13% alc. $16. 7Jul2007.

Ascension 'The Ascent' Matakana Reserve Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Peaches and spicy oak on the nose, cream, leesy and oaky in the palate, made in a weighty style. Stonefruit and grapefruit are the primary fruit characters. Quite youthful at this stage of its life but if the past wines of this label are anything to go by, it should develop well. 13% alc. $35. 10Jul2007.

Askerne Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (D) Pale yellow gold with citrussy aromas and spicy flavours. Initially crisp, a malolactic creamy influence softens then texture, with a mealy, bready richness, well-integrated oak and a citrus resurgence on the finish. This would make a lovely seafood accompaniment. 13% alc. $20. ***1/2. 3Nov2007.
Sweet toasty French oak with a buttery overlay tempts the nose while spicy toasty oak and peachy flavours fulfil the palate. Soft and creamy with a zesty flourish to the frisky finish, it's beaut summer drinking on its own or a perfect accompaniment to the catch of the day. 13% alc. $16.99. 5Dec2007.

Astrolabe Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) A sweeter, ripe, creamy style of chardonnay with loads of stonefruit and spicy oak, and even though chilled for four hours before tasting, it came across as fresh, bright and vibrant with a long, tasty and very juicy finish. 13.5% alc. $30.99. 30Jan2008.

Ata Rangi 'Craighall' Martinborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Lemon gold in colour, this is smoky and savoury with sweet smoky oak scents. Spicy sweet oak fills the palate with fruit in the juicy fresh peach spectrum and savoury, malty nuances to keep it all in balance. With brightness to the lingering savoury aftertaste, this is gorgeous ripe Chardonnay with a perfect creamy texture and waves of flavours that change with every mouthful. A brand synonymous with top class Pinot Noir - this Craighall is simply top class too. 14% alc. $45.99. 30Apr2008.

Auntsfield Cob Cottage Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) A lovely rich, creamy wine - it's oaky, savoury and toasty with citrus, stonefruit and pineapple and a leesy richness to the long, creamy, spicy finish. Beautiful, seamless drinking. 13.5% alc. $33. 9Oct2007.
Light lemon gold with smoky, malty, leesy scents - the first taste tells you this is a classy, sophisticated Chardonnay in the Burgundian style. Although tight and mealy, there is delicious ripe tropical fruit and stonefruit with an infusion of pineapple typical of the Mendoza clone and the bready finish is long and seamless. It seems quite subtle but there is power and a creamy richness that comes out of the closet and claims the finish. A stunning Marlborough Chardonnay. 13.5% alc. $31.99. 30Apr2008.

Bensen Block Unoaked Gisborne Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Fresh fruit aromas lead into a creamy textured palate with a yeasty richness, vibrant tropical fruit flavours, a touch of butterscotch and a twist of citrus. A light to medium-bodied style with a buttery finish. 13% alc. $16.95. 7Nov2006.

Black Barn Vineyard Barrel Fermented Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 Delicately smoky on the nose and savoury to the taste with fruit salad, lemon zest and stonefruit. The oak is subtle and savoury and adds richness and gentle toasty flavours, while wild yeast work adds additional complexity to the long lasting and fleshy, fruit-sweet finish.100% barrel-fermented with 40% new oak and 70% wild yeasts. $38. 9Oct2007.

Black Barn Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light yellow gold with a malty aroma, the flavour is high-toned, phenolic and quite steely to start, with immediately more noticeable acid and bite making it somewhat reminiscent of a Chablis. It's a little slow to unfold but when it does it rounds out beautifully to a long lasting, lightly oaked, buttered peach and melon finish. 14.5% alc. $20.99. 30Apr2008.

Blackenbrook Nelson Chardonnay 2006 (sc) There's a yellow hue to the light gold colour with concentrated stone fruit on the nose and spicy oak in the creamy, buttery palate with caramel titivating the finish. It's a big wine, rounded and juicy with excellent length and a pleasing tropical fruit aftertaste. But seeing the alcohol level on the bottle floored me. 15% alc. 22.90. ****1/2. 3Nov2007.

Bouldevines Dogpoint Road Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light straw gold, this lightly toasty smelling wine has obvious malolactic influences. It's soft and creamy and full of ripe melon and tropical fruit with a spicy oak flourish to the warm smooth finish. It's a wine of finesse and drinking beautifully now, but it will evolve beautifully over the next year. 14.5% alc. $22.99. 10Oct2007.
Lemon yellow in colour, this is soft, rounded, smooth and harmonious with caramel on the nose and crème caramel in the palate. Warm alcohol, grilled stonefruit and juicy tropical fruits fill the palate with a fruit bread sweetness and a touch of orange peel to the finish. Powerful, tasty and creamy with lots and lots going on. 14.5% alc. $25.99. 25Oct2007.
Ripe, rich and luscious smelling with toasty oak, it's a little grainy in texture on the first taste. Smoky savoury in its flavour with a touch of grilled peach, hints of apricot and underlying citrus, this tasty, rich, full-flavoured, smooth, seamless wine has a toasty savoury finish. It's a big wine with the flavours expanding on the aftertaste and hints of caramel butterscotch as it lingers. Consumed over a few days, it just got better and better and better. 14.5% alc. $28. 21Jan2008.

Church Road Cuve Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Full of toasty oak, tropical fruit and loads of nutty savouriness, this rich, buxom wine makes you think of beaches and sun. There's a hint of lime to the yellow gold hue; a touch of nougat in the hard-to-resist flavours and it's drinking beautifully when served lightly chilled. 13.5% alc. $22.99. 12Nov2008.
Rich yellow gold. Lovely toasty nutty oak aromas and mellow savoury oak flavours with a lemon polish finesse. Now moderately developed, it has a tropical fruit and stonefruit richness and a nuance of browned butter on the long, full finish. 13.5% $23.99. 12Aug2009.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (c) Honey gold coloured and rich and savoury scented with a nutty creaminess and when quite chilled the toastiness of the aroma and the toasty oak taste is enhanced. As the wine warms up, the funky wild yeast nuances dominate the aromas and in the palate, fleshy grilled peach and spice flavours emerge. A multi-layered chardonnay, one of the best that has come out of 2006, label to watch. $33.95. 14May2008.
Smoky and savoury with a hint of salty bacon and wild yeast scents and a full-bodied, sweet / savoury palate with toasted hazelnuts and succulent, juicy peach. The smokiness is profound and fascinating and adds an extra dimension to this already complex wine. Mouthfilling, delicious, tantalising, moreish. 14% alc. $28.99. Now in screwcap. 1Oct2008.

Church Road Tom Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) The aromas of this golden coloured wine from the standard tasting glass are quite restrained, you need a big glass to inhale all the glorious scents that this wine can offer. But you can taste the powerful flavours that remind you of smoky barrels, sizzled butter, spice, flowers, stonefruits, fig, macadamia, hazelnuts and caramel. A powerful wine in every way with deep fruit, lots of savouriness and a gorgeous, mouthcoating, glycerolic texture - it just blows all the others away. 14.5% alc. $69.99. 2Dec2009.

Clearview Beachhead Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Lemon gold with intense aromas of tropical fruit and apricot, it's intensely fruity to the taste too with an almost viscous texture. There's a myriad of opulent sweet, ripe fruit - tropical fruit, stone fruit, apricots and mangoes with spicy oak, orange peel, a hint of liquorice, and a spicy, bready, powerful finish. 14% alc. $20.99. 14Mar2007.

Clearview Unoaked Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Pale lemon gold in the gold with a suggestion of a greenish glint. On the nose yeast lees characters are apparent and it's just a little nutty. There's stonefruit too, but subtle. Spritzy and zesty, bright and refreshing, citrussy - more of the 'lemonade' fruit - and quenching. Lots of juicy factor with warm nutty leesy notes and a creamy, mealy finish. 14.5% alc. $22. 24Feb2007.

Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (D) A big rich style, as to be expected from Clearview, it's a medium gold colour with creamy, toasty, vanilla, cedar and stonefruit aromas and a full flavoured palate of spicy, savoury French oak with a mealy richness, ripe peach and apricot with a hint of citrus and perhaps even pineapple. Quite tight to start with, especially in the XL5 tasting glass, but it opens up beautifully with a warm aftertaste leaving a glow of Chardonnay happiness. 14.5% alc. $37.99. 23May2007.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light gold in colour with a topaz-like glow, This rich, powerful, leesy barrel-ferment style is appealing from the outset. There's a touch of mellow, wild yeast 'funk' with on the nose and in the palate there are ripe nectarines galore - nectarines and peach married to toasty oak. The ripe fruit imparts a fleshy sweetness though of course the wine is dry - but it's luscious, decadent and toasty with a butterscotch caramel finish. 14% alc. $43.95. 7Feb2008.
Bright gold in colour with aromas that are full, fat and mealy with tempting smoky savoury oak, the initial taste impression is a broad, fat, leesy barrel-fermented style with a fine seam of citrus and a touch of caramel sweetening the savoury oak. Gorgeous nectarine-like fruit fills the full-bodied, powerful palate and the rich fleshy flavours last and last. A remarkable wine. A meal on its own. 14% alc. $35.99. 30Apr2008.
There's a deep gold tinge to the light gold hue and enticing biscuity, mealy, nutty and wild yeast-imbued scents. Rich and full-bodied to the taste with a nutty, mealy complexity, bright acidity, mellow toasty oak, grilled peach and a touch of grapefruit. A classy wine, beautifully balanced throughout with toasty oak underpinning the lasting aftertaste and a touch of caramel and butterscotch too. 14% alc. $35.99. 23Jul2008.

Coopers Creek SV 'The Limeworks' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Rich and toasty with abundant aromas of sweet smoky American oak which integrates beautifully with the caramel-coated, grilled, fleshy peach-like fruit. Big, ripe and juicy with a nutty backbone and a touch of spice. Lingers deliciously. A real crowd pleaser. 13.5% alc. $20.13Oct2007.
Tasted straight after several sauvignon blancs, this beautiful balanced, fresh style smells so inviting with its toasty, peachy chardonnay scent and hits the spot instantly with its creamy, savoury and toasty vanillin oak flavours. With nuts, figs and juicy peach it's a great prospect with or without food and good drinking this summer and beyond. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 16Jan2008.

Corbans Private Bin Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) A more golden coloured wine with grapefruit, spicy oak and hints of caramel on the nose and that grapefruit character quite prominent in the palate. A big, bold, full-bodied wine with lots of flavour, a warming richness and mouthfilling complexity that comes with bottle age. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 16Jun2010.

Craggy Range C3 Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay 2006 (sc) , Light golden colour with a clear, bright, adamantine lustre. Lightly honeyed mellow oak and apricot kernel scents carry through to the palate where the richness of stonefruit and tropical fruit emerges. The palate has excellent weight and length with hints of citrus and apple on the dry finish and a creaminess to the lingering aftertaste. 13.8% alc. $24.95. 31Oct2006.

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) A leesy influenced, creamy, stonefruit and sherbet aroma presents this light coloured Chardonnay. It's quite tight and lean at this stage of its life with an earthy, steely, grainy textured undercurrent to the stonefruit and citrus fruit with toasty, savoury oak and just a hint of flint. 14% alc. $27.99. 23May2007.

Craggy Range Seven Poplars Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 Light straw gold in colour, almost water pale. Tantalising aromas of delicate stonefruit and apricot and a beautifully balanced palate with soft acidity, melon, stonefruit and savoury French oak. There's a touch of spritz to the texture and a long savoury finish with tropical fruit and apricot lingering. 14.5% alc. $29.99. 23May2007.

Crossroads Destination Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Ripe, toasty and creamy - it smells typically NZ with its peachy aroma and tastes even more so with its tropical fruit, peaches and cream flavour with a nice taste of oak on the rounded finish and hints of grapefruit lingering. Tasty and approachable. 14% alc. $15.99. 18Jul2007.
Smoky, toasty, ripe peach aromas and sweet-fruited toasty flavours with a dry nutty backbone, savoury oak, oatmeal influences and loads of fleshy tropical fruit and stonefruit. This light gold coloured, smooth, creamy textured wine screams its regionality and is drinking beautifully right now. 14% alc. $16.99. 13Feb2008.
Deep straw gold with a glint of lime and a bright citrussy aroma with the lime theme infusing the scent and carrying through to the palate. Deliciously juicy and fresh with perfumed fleshy stonefruit balancing the flinty backbone, it builds to a long creamy finish. 14% alc. $16.99. 30Apr2008.
A peaches and cream style of chardonnay with a topping of orange butterscotch sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts and toasty oak adding a savoury layer. Despite the citrussy characters that come forth on the finish, this is a wine that can take plenty of chilling for summer drinking. 14% alc. $16.99. 5Nov2008.

Dashwood Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) There's a hint of lime to the light gold colour of this smoky, bready-scented wine. Mealy flavours fill the palate with a touch of butterscotch, a bright citrussy undercurrent and a warm, rounded, creamy finish. It's rather sophisticated for the price. 14% alc. $15.99. 30Apr2008.

Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (c) Talk about mealy funk and leesy wild yeasts - this wine just reeks of it. Rich, full-bodied and textural yet smooth and creamy with caramel, toasty flavours, a lightly zesty citrussy undercurrent and a savoury richness with a smoky overtone this wine is just Wow! It's a wonderfully heady, powerful, oaky, savoury and intriguing wine with additional flavours of nuts, figs and even a hint of grilled peach. Citrus brightens the very dry finish and alcohol adds sweetness. 14% alc. $36. 6Mar2008.

Dry River Martinborough Chardonnay 2006 (c) Perfectly balanced, and never overpowering with savoury, mealy, nutty flavours that expand gloriously in the mouth, delicous ripe stonefruit, prominent citrus and spicy, almost peppery oak. A perfect Chardonnay to match to scallops. 13.5% alc. $45. 25Dec2007.

Drylands Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Pale yellow. Soft, subtle, mealy and later quite nutty on the nose. Sweet oaked and a little floral in the palate - delicate, light, clean and nutty, a little reminiscent of Chablis with an oiliness to the texture, tropical fruit, underlying power and flow, and a hint of butterscotch it lingers. This wine ebbed and flowed for me. 13.5% alc. $19.99. ***1/2. 3Nov2007.

Escarpment Kupe Chardonnay 2006 - Martinborough (D) This light gold coloured nutty, leesy, slightly buttery style is immediately more complex than the Chablis, no doubt from the well proportioned spicy oak which emanates class, class, class. Rounded in the palate with a hint of apricot, a citrussy undercurrent, a butterscotch richness and some heat to the spicy oak finish, this powerful wine is very restrained and tight at this stage of its life but evolves beautifully in the glass. Personally, it reminded me of a Neudorf. 13.9% alc. $56.99. 14May2008.

Esk Valley Black Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Mid-yellow gold in colour, this medium to full-bodied wine has smoky grilled peach and barrel-ferment aromas and rich, creamy flavours with melon and tropical fruit over a firm fleshy, grilled peach backbone with savouriness from the oak and yeast lees adding complexity to the spicy finish. Ripe and well-balanced and drinking well on the day. 14% alc. $20.50. 14Aug2007.

Farmgate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) A little smoky and savoury on the nose and a ripe, creamy palate with a bright citrussy backbone playing nicely with the juicy peach and nectarine fruit. Subtle barrel-ferment influences add complexity to the long tasty flavour. It's well rounded and beautifully balanced with a spicy savoury finish. Not too hot and sits nicely in the mouth. 13% alc. $25. 2May2008.

Felton Road 'Elms' Central Otago Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light lemon gold, bright and clear. Hints of quince and nuances of lime zest on the delicately nutty nose and crisp, oily, nutty flavours with a richness from the earthy, savoury, lemony, toasty yeast lees. There's a strong marmite/yeast influence and underlying acidity adds a lovely tangelo/lime brightness to the finish with baked apple and spice emerging on the dry, nutty aftertaste. One of the most complex 'unoaked' chardonnays you will find made within New Zealand, the fruit comes from the original Elms Vineyard. 14% alc. $26.99. 15Aug2007.

Felton Road Central Otago Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Mid yellow gold in colour, there's smoky bacon-like oak on the nose with hints of citrus and stonefruit and even though there is only 10% new oak, it is quite emphatically stated. Rich, powerful and smoky to the taste with grilled peaches, fresh apricot, a hint of pineapple, a touch of grapefruit and a long, mellow, earthy nutty finish with a flourish of oak spice, it's dry, toasty and spicy with savoury yeast lees flavours and butterscotch on the tasty finish. Barrel fermented and matured in 100% French oak for 12 months - the 'barrel fermented' of previous vintages has been dropped from the name. 14% alc. $34.99. 15Aug2007.
Glossy lemon yellow. Barrel-ferment and gentle caramel scents. Soft, buttery flavours with plenty of spicy oak influence and grilled nectarine and stonefruit flavours. A firm, sweet orange acid spine adds punch and length. A big, bold, glassful that needs a big glass, but in the XL5 tasting glass it opened up beautifully too. 14% alc. $28.99. 7Jan2009.

Freefall Chardonnay Marlborough 2006 (sc) Fruit salad aromas and fresh and fruity flavours with a subtle underpinning of spicy creamy oak and a bright juicy finish. Not bad at all. 14%. $19.95. 8Oct2006.

Fromm La Strada Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (D) Closed on the nose at first- very tight and not wanting to release it aromas, but then the scents of orange zest, flower musk and delicate spice emerge. Nutty and dry to the taste - very, very dry with a zesty undercurrent. There's a grainy complexity and the finish is along and opens up beautifully. An oak-free style with 10-12 months on yeast lees to add complexity. Decant for best drinking at this stage of its life and you'll be pleasantly surprised. Good aging potential too. ****. 13.5% alc. $29.50. 3Nov2007.

Gibbston Valley Greenstone Chardonnay 2006 - Central Otago (sc) Earthy pithy aromas and savoury, slightly herbal flavours with melon fruit and some exotic fruits adding intrique. Quite bready and citrussy, it take a while to seduce the palate but becomes quite creamy and fruity with underlying tangy acidity and hints of apples. 13.5% alc. $20. 7Jul2007.

Goldwater Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Straw gold in colour, this smooth, creamy and very stylish chardonnay is immediately appealing with its soft, ripe, rounded flavours. Barrel-ferment aromas and spicy oak flavours with a mealy nutty backbone, juicy white peach and citrus fruit, hints of butterscotch and a lovely mouth coating texture. The style we like to drink. 14% alc. $17.99. 7Nov2007.

Greystone Waipara Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Full of spicy oak aromas and butterscotch-infused creamy flavours with a citrussy brightness and apricot fruit. It's medium-bodied with a Burgundian-like nutty undercurrent and while drinking nicely now, I think it has the potential to blossom even more with just a little more time. 13% alc. $26. 21OCt2007.

Gunn Estate Skeetfield Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light gold in colour. Bright and citrussy on the nose and clean and bright in the palate with a lovely soft smooth creamy flow. Spicy oak and a mealy undercurrent provide a savoury balance to the sweet stone fruits that are totally in the nectarine and white peach spectrum, and the lingering finish radiates elegance and class. 14% alc. $30. *****. 3Nov2007.
This light golden-coloured chardonnay is big, rich and toasty with gorgeous flavours and flow. A full barrel-fermented style with a bright citrussy aroma and savoury oak, spicy yeast lees with mouthfilling, ripe peach and nectarine flavours and a citrus zestiness to the magnificently long finish. This is Class with a capital 'C'. 14% alc. $31.99. 7Nov2007.
A rich, mealy style, full of oatmeal and malt with spicy oak, crunchy stone fruit and a hint of citrus. It's still very tight and doesn't want too much chilling, but all the pointers to its class are there in the expansive, mouthfilling finish. 14% alc. $31.99. 16Apr2008.

Hyperion Helios Matakana Chardonnay 2006 (D) It smells nutty and mealy with a hint of toffee, stonefruit and savoury oak. Seriously ripe fruit, lightly creamy with spicy oak emerging in palate, it's rich and luscious with the vibrant fruit soaking up the alcohol. This is a rather big, full-bodied style with tropical fruit, stone fruit, a spicy, creamy, nutty backbone and a bright, fresh lingering finish. A good vintage. 14.5%. $23. 26Feb2007.

Isabel Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) A bright citrus golden colour. Nutty aromas - a little wheaty perhaps. When the wine is tasted grilled pineapple comes to mind supplemented by toasty oak. A rounded wine, quite smooth in attack with a bright citrussy tang to the zesty finish. Full-bodied and sophisticated - ages becomes it. 13 % alc. $28.00. 30Dec2009.

Jackson Estate Shelter Belt Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) A youthful straw gold colour. However, smell the wine and taste it and you will see the evolution into a mouthfilling toasty wine with what can sometimes be distinctive Marlborough citrus flavours now more like lemon meringue. So beautifully integrated, the texture is smooth and seamless with fig and nougat underlying grilled stonefruit and caramel, and salted butterscotch on the lasting finish where zesty nuances add a bright kick. There's finesse to the lingering aftertaste. 18.5/20. 14 alc. $22.50. 12Dec2010.

John Forrest Collection Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) This is a fascinating wine with subtle smoky, savoury, toasted baguette scents and hints of citrus oil and orange zest, the citrus theme also running through the palate. With a mealy creamy richness and a lovely infusion of spice and juicy white summer fruits, it has a vibrancy and excitement that belies its age. Smooth, subtle, impressionable and delicious. A seafood Chardonnay, perhaps. 14% alc. $40.99. 2Feb2011.
Vibrant gold with the mellow melony aroma confirming the visual impression that the wine has a bit of age. Seamless in its flow, it's mouthfilling and complex with a malty richness. A touch of grapefruit underpins subtle tropical fruit, the smoky oak is toasty and spicy and the long mellow finish has a butter caramel inflection. 13.5% alc. $37.99. 10Aug2011.

Kaimira Estate Brightwater Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Some bottle development evident on the nose. Moderately complex in the palate with a nougat sweetness, hints of fig, peach and caramel. Dry on the finish, which is long and lasting with underlying zest and citrussy lemonade notes as it lingers. 14% alc. $22.00. 5Apr2009.

Karikari Silver Bay Northland Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Golden coloured, full-bodied, toasty and oaky with freshly baked Anzac biscuit scents and rounded creamy flavours with a textural fullness that's almost like stonefruit nectar. There's a lovely savoury spicy undercurrent to balance it and a creamy buttery finish where the fruit is the hero. Seems to have all the bells and whistles and five years after vintage it's just delicious. 13.3% alc. $19. 25Feb2011.

Kim Crawford Doc’s Block Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) This pale yellow coloured wine is another powerful barrel fermented, mealy style with a creamy, wheaty, spicy oak aroma that hints of butterscotch, and sweet American oak and savoury yeast lees flavours balancing the delicious stonefruit flavours. It's ripe, rounded, smooth and creamy with a spicy zestiness to the luscious finish and already very appealing. 14% alc. $25.99. 25Oct2007.

Kim Crawford SP Dolly Gisborne Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Rich, mealy and malty, this powerful Chardonnay is a little bit funky and full of savoury oak with stonefruit, hints of pineapple and underlying acidity adding brightness. Long, savoury, harmonious and spicy. 13% alc. $29.99. 19Sep2007.
Creamy gold in colour with dry, citrussy, spicy oak and biscuity, bready aromas, this beautiful wines just flows across the palate. It's full of juicy tropical fruit, citrus, toasty oak and spicy lemony leesy flavours with full malolactic fermentation adding creaminess and a long, mouthfilling, savoury and spicy finish. Still quite tight, which shows its long term potential - if you can wait. 13% alc. $29.99.5Mar2008.
Yellow gold in colour with a smoky, mealy, spicy oak aroma and a palate full of ripe fruit in the citrus and stonefruit spectrum with a backing of savoury spicy oak. Lovely texture, smooth, almost oily with a nougat-like complexity and a warm, savoury, butterscotch-infused finish. 13% alc. $26.99. 22Apr2009.
Golden yellow with smoky, flinty aromatics, that flinty character carrying through to the palate where the oak initially seems quite restrained but builds in power to balance the pineapple, pear and toffee apple flavours with caramel and butterscotch lingering on the finish. Drinking beautifully now. 13% alc. $26.99. 2Dec2009.

Kumeu River Village Chardonnay 2006 - Kumeu, Auckland (sc) Aromatic with pineapple, yeasty influences and a deep, smoky savouriness. Melon and tropical fruit with underlying citrus acidity, a subtle spicy savouriness and hints of tropical fruit esters. Clean and bright with a slightly grainy texture, Re-tasted again after the others, there's a sherbetty, spritzy character to the texture that keeps it bright and fresh. 5000 cases made. 13% alc. $19.50. 12Jul2007.

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2006 - Kumeu, Auckland (sc) A little more honey oak and yeast lees component on the nose - the smoky savoury oak comes through again. Concentrated and appealing, the smoky oak is more obvious in the palate with melon the dominant fruit., Spicy and savoury with grilled stonefruit fleshing out the medium to full-bodied finish, it's dry to the taste - a lovely, fine elegant drink. 12,500 cases made. 13.5% alc. $37.95. 12Jul2007.
Lemon gold with creamy French oak and brioche characters on the nose, it's rich and full in the creamy palate with oatmeal, malt, a touch of spice, grilled stonefruits, hints of grapefruit and honeyed oak culminating in a tasty, powerful and long finish with youthful, lip smacking acidity. With great focus and length, it's drinking well now but has all the pointers there for mid term cellaring. Sourced from several vineyards around Kumeu. 13.5% alc. $37.99. 1Aug2007.
Light gold. Mealy lemony leesy scents with some wild yeast funk - a complex and very appealing bouquet. High-toned, nutty, leesy flavours with obvious malolactic influence, pineapple and yellow peach - like sucking on a fleshy peach stone with spicy French oak and a suggestion of honey. Oak has a lovely polish and sheen and the whole experience is juicy and long. Shows its class from the outset. 13.5% alc. $39.99. 1Jul2009.

Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay 2006 - Kumeu, Auckland (sc) Honeyed French oak, classy, savoury and smoky. This is a mouthfilling, bright, full-bodied wine. It's savoury with juicy melon and exotic fruit and crisp underlying acidity. Very dry with the sweetness of the fruit and alcohol providing excellent balance. Grainy textured and long with a citrussy lemon/mandarin aftertaste. Ripe, almost luscious, some nuttiness emerging too. Quite salty, savoury and spicy. Perhaps a little hot on the finish. 850 cases made. 13.5% alc. $44.95. 12Jul2007.
Golden coloured with a yellow glinty brightness. With aromas of nuts, caramel and cedar, this is a mature smelling chardonnay. There's a mellow oak infusion to the flavour that's also quite nutty with grilled peach, malt, caramel and a spicy flourish to the finish. Mouthfilling and rich with opulence everywhere. 13.5% alc. $50. 12Oct2011.

Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay 2006 - Kumeu, Auckland (sc) Concentrated, full-bodied figgy aroma, that smoky / smoky bacon savouriness again. Rich, almost luscious to the taste, the smoky savouriness plays a big role and the ripe melon, pear and spice flavours come through beautifully. There's a biscuity lemony leesy backbone, quite dry and just a little hard at this stage, but has the potential to age magnificently. 1200 cases made. 14% alc. $44.95. 12Jul2007.
Lemon gold with a little more oak apparent on the nose, it smells smoky and savoury with hints of fig and grapefruit, and tastes ripe and rich with a smoky, savoury, spicy flavour that has Burgundian-like finesse and complexity. It needs a big glass to open up but with the juicy, ripe stonefruit, melon and pear flavours, the silky texture, the powerful, long finish and the perfectly balanced underlying acidity, you can see the brilliance of this wine. Beautiful already with excellent mid to long term potential, this is a single vineyard wine from the vineyard on the hill across the road from the Kumeu River Winery. 14% alc. $45.99. 1Aug2007.

Kumeu River Mates Chardonnay 2006 - Kumeu, Auckland (sc) Delicate (more closed on the nose) with smoky, savoury French oak and a definite, leesy, mealy influence that carries through to the palate, the malolactic treatment quite obvious. Very dry, grainy, citrussy with a richness to the mealy backbone, a honeysuckle, almost ethereal, apricot character, like the essence of apricot that you get in Viognier. And a warm, almost heady finish. Savoury, oaty. Magnificent wine. 1000 cases made. 13.5% alc. $50.95. 12Jul2007.

Lincoln Heritage Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 'Patricia' (sc) Pale gold in colour. It's very bright and tasty, full of juicy stonefruit, nectarine and tropical fruit without any influence of oak but a savouriness from the yeast lees adds a creamy richness and sweet apricot lingers on the lightly spicy finish with a touch of sherbet zest too. A real star with the troops and a very good match to roasted chicken breasts stuffed with apricots. 13.5% alc. $16. 11Aug2006.

Lonestone Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) A pale lemon coloured, peachy smelling Chardonnay with a mealy richness and a hint of toast to the aroma, it's rounded and smooth to the taste with spicy oak, juicy stonefruit, a lightly buttery creamy texture, a mealy undercurrent and a touch of citrus adding brightness to the toasty finish. Ripe and appealing and dinking well right now. 14% alc. $17.99. 27Feb2008.

Margrain Martinborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Spicy, mealy, full-boded barrel fermented style. Quite nutty oak, even a little earthy and bitter, or perhaps the bitterness I detect is coming from the abundant citrus flavours. A lemony, leesy, yeasty style, heading towards Vitamin B - and the savoury oak fills the mouth on the finish. Long finish with a spicy aftertaste. Overall I find it a little dull - but then as it lingers in the mouth, it really starts to flirt. 14% alc. $28. 1Jul2008.

Marsden Estate Black Rocks Chardonnay 2006 - Kerikeri, Northland Tantalising aroma of spice, oatmeal, tropical fruit and orange peel and full-bodied, creamy, nutty, flavours infused with stonefruit, tropical fruit, melon and citrus playing in harmony to the strum of stylish oak. Sophisticated and decadent with a long, complex mouthfilling finish and a hint of butterscotch as it lingers. French and American oak with malolactic fermentation and extended lees contact. 13.5% alc. $30.99. 5Sep2007.
Full of big rich toasty oak and butterscotch flavours together with mouthfilling peach, fig and nougat, with an underpinning of citrus and savoury yeast lees flavours building to a long, harmonious finish where tropical fruits glow on the aftertaste. Barrel fermented and matured for 12 months in a mix of French and American oak, the 'upfront' American oak of six months ago (October last year) has now integrated beautifully while malolactic fermentation and extended lees aging have added to the outstanding complexity. WOTW Apr 2008. 13% alc. $35. 7Apr2008.
An outstanding wine from the Bay of Islands, it's light lemon gold in colour with hints of citrus joining the delicately smoky aromas and has a light touch to the malty, barrel ferment flavours. Seems very youthful with a bright citrus lift underpinning the tropical fruit with toasty oak and lots of spicy zest. Served chilled, it's delicious and refreshing and leaves a creme caramel connotation to the lingering finish. Champion Chardonnay at the International Chardonnay Challenge 2007. 13.5% alc. $30.99. 8Apr2009.

Martinborough Vineyard Martinborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Rich in colour and flavour, this has an intense, full-bodied, mealy aroma dominated by barrel ferment and nutty lees characters with a peachy fruit sweetness. In the mouth it is dry and intense with spicy oak flavours, toasty stonefruit, nuts, figs, underlying earthy tones and a lifted, lemony, spicy finish. Driven by winemaking complexities, this is expansive in the mouth and leaves a full rich aftertaste. 18.5/20. 13.5% alc. $36. 14Oct2008.

Mills Reef Elspeth Chardonnay 2006 - Hawkes Bay (sc) Deep bright gold in colour, there's a lemony undercurrent to the creamy, nutty oak scent and there's plenty of peach and tropical fruit in the full-bodied, creamy textured palate with a light, lemony, mealy undercurrent and powerful French oak that dominates on the finish at this stage of its life. 14% alc. $29.99. 20Aug2008.

Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Oak-lovers will revel in the forward oak flavours of this light golden coloured wine. It's a rich, powerful, full-bodied, barrel fermented style with alcohol warmth, a buttery richness, a mouth-coating glycerolic texture and copious amounts of stone fruit. 14% alc. $17.99. 25Oct2007.

Montana Stuart Block Chardonnay 2006 - Patutahi, Gisborne (sc) Light green gold in colour with a fragrant, toasty, mealy scent, this is a big toasty style - spicy and toasty with loads of tropical fruit and citrussy zest melding into the beautifully rounded, harmonious mealy palate with fleshy concentrated nectarine and peach on the lasting, sweet-oaked finish. If you loved the gold-bestowed 2004 Stuart Block, you'll love this too. 14% alc. $25.99. 21Nov2007.

Morton Estate White Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Greeny gold coloured and a slight ‘Aussie’ nuance to the aroma- that sunny disposition, a hit of cockatoo poo, or just perhaps American oak, which is true to Morton Estate’s signature. It is a big, fat, mealy style laden with buttered popcorn and underpinned by toasty savoury oak. A big boisterous style and more of a beverage wine or party drink than a food wine. 14.5%alc. 15May2008.

Morton Estate Private Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Lustrous lemon gold. Nutty, polished oak aroma. Dry, nutty and initially quite steely to the taste with bright tropical fruit, melon and pineapple, it becomes rounded and creamy with a mellow harmoniousness that has come with that little bit of age. Plenty of spicy oak and a lovely citrussy tang to the rich fruity finish. Hints of butterscotch too. 14% alc. $16.99. 1Jul2009.

Mount Riley Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Lemon gold with grapefruit and limes on the nose carrying through to the bright, breezy palate. Rich and oily, yet crisp and dry with sweet oak and a myriad of fruit that becomes quite peachy and fleshy with hints of apricot and passionfruit joining the citrus and buttery oak that is more assertive on the finish. 14% alc. $16.99. 7Nov2007.

Mystery Creek Gisborne Chardonnay 2006 (sc) This light pale gold coloured, bright clear wine is light to medium bodied and fruity. It's lightly creamy and just a little buttery with loads of fresh, ripe, fleshy peach fruit. Toasty lees add savouriness and spiciness and there's a bright zesty flourish to the finish. An oak free zone with toastiness coming from the yeasts. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 29Feb2008.

Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2006 - Nelson (sc) Medium gold with a perfumed nutty oak scent - like cashews and hazelnuts - it is very fragrant and lifted with interesting mealy nuances too. So youthful but you can see the potential of this beautifully mouthfilling wine with its nutty, malty flavours and funky, mealy influences with a nougat-like sweetness, lovely stonefruit complexities and sweet orange and lime zest acidity coming through too. Lifted, complex and long lasting in the mouth with beautifully integrated French oak strumming along in the background and a hint of butterscotch coming through, it's made to hits it straps in 2011 and be drinking beautifully in 2016, yet it's already amazingly mesmerising now. 14.5% alc. $72.99. 18Jun2008.

Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Soft and peachy smelling, it's a gorgeous savoury tasting Chardonnay with malty, mealy flavours, well integrated spicy oak and a clean, zesty, citrussy undercurrent. Stylish, mouthfilling and long. 14.5% alc. $31.99. 20Feb2008.
Pale straw gold with zesty, citrussy aromas and a steely, flinty backbone to the bright tropical fruit flavours with biscuity nuances and integrated oak. An interesting wine with lots going on, there's a purity of fruit and a fleshy juiciness to the finish. 14.5% alc. $27.99. 30Apr2008.

Ngatarawa 'Alwyn' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 Bright gold. Smoky French oak on the nose with just a touch of toastiness to the peachy fruit leads into a rich, powerful, toasty palate imbued with stonefruit and spicy mealy flavours. Creamy and long with a touch of acidity adding brightness and lift to the toasty finish, it's sophisticated, dry and simply seamless. $36. 10Sep2008.

Ngatarawa Silks Chardonnay 2006 - Hawkes Bay (sc) Full of tropical fruit with hints of caramel and passionfruit this rich, weighty, mealy, creamy and lightly oaked chardonnay has a slightly sweetish fruit salad aroma and bright fruity flavours reminiscent of apricot, tropical fruit and pineapple with a toasty, creamy, nutty layer and butterscotch. Summer drinking. 13.5% alc. $17.99. 23Jan2008.

Palliser Estate Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Delicately smoky with hints of bacon and citrus and apple fruit coming through. Warm, smooth palate with nectarines to the fore, a touch of butterscotch / caramel. A rich, full fruit-driven wine - textural, seamless, smoky and long. 18.5/20. $35. 13.5% alc. 14Oct2008.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Bright lemon gold with an oily lustre. Passionfruit, citrus, creamed nuts and smoky oak tease the nose. A bright citrussy onslaught in the mouth gives way to nutty, mealy influences and toasty, spicy French oak with citrus, tropical fruit, loquats and a deep peachy undercurrent that interacts with the wheat/malty backbone and even a touch of earthy clay. There's a Funkiness from the wine's natural fermentation too. Richly endowed and sophisticated with gorgeous fruit sweetness balanced by the dominant zesty mandarin and tangelo-like citrus, it is rich, mouthfilling and long. Although still very youthful this well-worked wine has all the signs that it is going to blossom in the bottle with age. 14.5% alc. $34.95. 2Jun2008.

Pegasus Bay Virtuoso Waipara Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Lemon gold coloured with powerful aromas of citrus-infused oak and abundant yeast lees influences. Big in flavour too - malty and mealy with marmite and citrus, spicy oak and loads of smoky, savoury nuances with a characteristic Pegasus Bay spritzy tingle on the lasting finish. This must be one of most meaty full-bodied Chardonnays that you will find in New Zealand. 13.5% alc. $54.99. 8Jul2009.

Ra Nui Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Pale in the glass with the lightest lemon hue, the aroma is inviting, like tropical fruit salad in a glass. Quite citrussy at first to the taste with grapefruit and hints of lime, the tropical fruit apparent on the nose fleshes out in the palate with a peach, nectarine, passionfruit and pineapple and a zestiness to the bright finish. It may be unoaked but the extended contact with the yeast lees has added a savouriness to the backbone and a richness to the creamy texture. 13.5% alc. $20. 8Aug2007.

Richmond Plains Nelson Chardonnay 2006 (sc) A light, fruity, spritzy style, pale in colour and zesty in flavour with a nutty backbone and hints of citrus and tropical fruit. A carefree, unoaked wine to serve chilled and drink on the beach. 13.5% alc. $19.95. ***. 3Nov2007.

Rimu Grove Nelson Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Deep yellow gold. Quite restrained on the nose. Savoury and smoky with spicy oak and a creamy texture in the palate, this is a big bold toasty style with nuts, citrus, butterscotch and a full, rich spicy finish. 13.5% alc. $28.00. 5Apr2009.

Riverby Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light yellow gold. Softly savoury on the nose with a lovely perfume of stonefruit, it's soft and creamy in the palate with tropical fruit, stonefruit, yellow plums, milky yeast lees flavours, toffee and spicy grainy oak playing a supporting role in the background and a long, clean, seamless finish. Some tropical fruit, bubble gum-like nuances linger on the slightly hot, spicy savoury finish. 14.5% alc. $24.95. 7Jul2007.

Rockburn Central Otago Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Bright in its glowing lemon gold colour, it has smoky, mealy, citrussy scents that lead into a bright creamy palate with a savoury nutty undercurrent and lots of crisp citrus and apple on the finish. It has the richness of chardonnay and has roundness to the lingering aftertaste but I can see it going beautifully with a fillet of cod and a lemon beurre blanc. 16.5/20. 14% alc. $25. 29Jul2008.

Rose Tree Cottage Gisborne Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light yellow gold in colour, a contrast to the deep gold colour of the 2005 vintage tasted last week. A hint of caramel overlays the toasty oak aroma then rich, powerful, creamy, caramel flavours fill the mouth with toasty French oak, luscious tropical fruit, a hint of citrus and a long savoury finish with spiced stonefruits adding to the allure of the lingering aftertaste. 14% alc. $19.99.5Mar2008.
Bright yellow gold with a savoury, nutty aroma with a spicy, butterscotch, salted nut and toasted oak flavour with a citrussy brightness that keeps the wine fresh and a long fruit salad and cream finish. 14% alc. Screwcap. 20May2009.

Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnay 2006 - Hawkes Bay (sc) Light gold with a little more oomph to the nose and the taste - no wonder when the label is revealed. Spicy, mealy, citrus and toast aromas and mouthfilling, broad, oatmeal flavours with lime and hints of pineapple among the peach and tropical fruit on a smooth and seamless creamy texture. Beautifully proportioned spicy French oak and a lusciousness to the warm, lingering finish. Impressive. 14% alc. $51.99. 5Sep2007.
Totally irresistible with rich sweet fruit and gorgeous barrel fermented oak scents, it's full-bodied and powerful to the taste with spicy, toasty French oak, citrus, melon, juicy stonefruit and a mealy complexity. A wine with balance and precision and though quite tight-grained and urging for time in the cellar, it's so tempting, you just want to drink it now. $46.99. 28Nov2007.
This is a glorious, glorious wine. Sweet oak and nougat on nose - creamed cashew and hazelnut too. Spicy oak in palate with butterscotch, honey and creamy, mealy winemaking complexity that make it such a gorgeous wine to drink. A hint of stonefruit completes this irrestible package. 25Dec2008.

Saint Clair Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Pale lemon. Ripe juicy stonefruit and savoury creamy oak on the nose and a bready richness to the palate with savoury yeast lees flavours, a touch of spice, peach, melons, malt, creamy oak and a bright, juicy, tropical fruit finish. Clean, well-made, medium-bodied, very approachable and drinkable style. 13.5% alc. $16.99. 8Aug2007.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Lime-tinged bright lemon/gold, this wine emanates aromas of smoke, creamy oak, vanilla and lanolin and it's big, fat, broad and lucious to the with a forest of brand new oak, creamed nuts, smoky bacon, spice and tropical fruit. Barrel-fermented in American oak, it's vibrant and lifted with hints of lime on the long, rich finish and an intriguing salty tang. 14.5% alc. $29.99. 19Dec2008.
Light yellow gold. Creamed nuts and grapefruit on the nose. A ton of nutty oak and butterscotch in the palate with a clean, crisp, citrussy backbone. Full, rich, spicy and creamy - very opulent in every way. The oak is there but it is beautifully integrated and savoury. A classy wine. 14.5% alc. $29.99.4Feb2009.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Chardonnay 2006 (sc) This is striking right from the outset with its light golden colour, its ripe stonefruit and mealy, spicy oak aromas and its rich, almost oily, full-bodied, creamy textured palate that's full of semi-dried, concentrated stonefruit with a touch of tropical fruit and a hint of grapefruit. Beautifully balanced and deliciously drinkable already, it is made in the mould of the stunning, multiple gold medal winning 2005. 14% alc. $27.99. 23May2007.
Opulent aromas of malt and caramel and powerful rich flavours of spicy oak and peachy fruit with a salty savoury smoky undercurrent, a touch of leesy citrus and a long, creamy, fine-grained, caramel coated finish which is long, lean and focussed. Matt says this is possibly the best chardonnay he has ever made - but at this stage of its life he says it is better on the second day. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 8Aug2007.
Light yellow gold with savoury, nutty, mealy aromas and toasty oak flavours with stonefruit, tropical fruit and citrus. Quite dry and zesty with the chilling - but it becomes quite lusciously rich as it warms up in the glass, which I endeavoured to speed up by cupping my hands aroundthe glass and swirling. It was chilled for four hours and I didn't like this wine chilled down as much as it was. 14% alc. $27.99. 30Jan2008.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 10 Chardonnay 2006 (sc) A full-bodied rich, ripe, toasty barrel ferment style with a light gold colour and mouthfilling spicy, savoury and citrus fruit flavours with upfront grapefruit to the fore, stonefruit emerging on the mid to end-palate and a long, rich, creamy, almost caramel finish. A little tight and grainy at this stage of its life but the potential is there for this to blossom into a star. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 23May2007.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 ‘Cell Block’ Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light yellow gold with fragrant tropical fruit and cedar aromas and juicy white peach and tropical fruit flavours with smoky creamy oak, a lightly buttery backbone and a strong, barrel ferment yeasty influence. A rich, bold, full-bodied, seamless and long flavoured chardonnay, beautiful already but will become even more magnificent over the coming months as the oak settles and the fruit fleshes out. It’s reminiscent of the Pioneer Block 4 2005 on release – and that went on to win a trio of golds. 14% alc. $24.99. 1Jun2007.
Pale lemon yellow with buttery, zesty, spicy oak aromas, it's a big rich oaky style with a creamy, savoury backbone, grapefruit, spice, a touch of honey, plenty of cedar and nougat on the very long, fleshy caramel finish. Don’t serve too chilled at this stage of its life as it stunts the flamboyance of this delicious creamy wine and accentuates the oak and acid. Served at room temperature, it's simply seamless. 14% alc. $24.99. 6Jun2007.
Spicy, perfumed, floral, bready aromas with youthful French oak esters, this is more lifted, fruity and citrussy to the taste at first becoming rounded and creamy with toasty oak, juicy stonefruit and a glimmer of caramel. With about 50% wild yeast fermentation there's a funky mealy savouriness, and the finish has a salty, earthy tang - possibly a very exciting wine with oysters. 14% alc. $24.99 . 8Aug2007.

Saint Clair Vicar’s Choice Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light straw with a fruity aroma, its all toffee, caramel, peach and fruit salad to the ripe, juicy taste. Medium-bodied in style with little influence of oak, it is deliciously approachable with plenty of all round immediate appeal. 13% alc. $14.99. 5Sep2007.

Seifried Nelson Chardonnay 2006 (sc) With a golden tinge to the straw yellow hue, this wine exudes a rich, butter caramel aroma and while it seems tight grained in the spicy, leesy palate at first, it opens up beautifully with juicy stonefruit, melon, hints of pineapple. It has a richness, complexity and length of flavour that is almost unbelievable for a wine of this price. 14% alc. $16.99. 5Sep2007.

Seifried Estate Barrel Ferment Nelson Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Golden coloured with plenty of legs, this is rich, ripe and toasty with abundant caramel and toffee scents. It's full-bodied and creamy with a bright, spicy, zesty undercurrent to the smooth flavours that have hints of stonefruit and a lovely balancing savouriness from the oak and yeast lees. The finish is long and seamless. 14.5% alc. $28.99. 10Oct2007.
A reasonably deep gold and voluptuous for chardonnay on the nose with its rich, full-bodied, savoury aroma full of sweet mealy oak - and of plenty of it. A big toasty chardonnay in every way with peach, citrus, nougat and honey but do not over chill as it accentuates the underlying acidity. 14.5% alc. $22.99. 6Aug2008.
Moderate gold with an oily veneer. Rich toasty aromas prepare for a full-bodied wine and it meets that expectation. Serve quite chilled, it is profoundly juicy with stonefruit flavours starting to mellow as the wine develops in the bottle picking up some hokey-pokey ice cream nuances. Still drinking well with a long, toffee-coated, toasty finish and a tight citrussy backbone that will keep it focussed for sometime yet. 14.5% alc. $22.99. 29Apr2009.
A deep gold colour. Rich and oaky. There’s mellow buttery oak on the nose and there's a lovely spicy oak and butterscotch richness to the flavour with a rounded mouthfeel and harmonious texture. This won a gold medal in the 2007 NZIWS. It has developed gorgeously and it is still drinking beautifully now. 14.5% alc. $22.99. 14Oct2009.

Selaks Founders Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Bright lemon gold with a warm biscuity mealy aroma and loads of opulent toasty oak flavours with peachy fruit, butterscotch, spice and well balanced acidity. It is savoury and powerful with a spicy infusion that adds the x-factor to this bold generous wine that has all round appeal for avid Chardonnay drinkers. 13.5% alc. $25.99. 30Apr2008.
Yellow gold with smoky French oak on the nose, this is focussed, linear, citrus driven and tangy in the palate a with a beautiful spicy oak regime. Polished and poised, but so, so tight, it needs a big glass to let it open up and reveal those wonderful mealy biscuit and stonefruit flavours. Do not overchill. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 28Jan2009.

Seresin Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Fragrant, grilled peach aromas and a smooth creamy fruity palate full of juicy stone and tropical fruit with spiciness from the mealy yeast lees and an oaky finish with a touch of hokey pokey / caramel as it lingers. Full-bodied and powerful with fruit evolving through peach to apricot with hints of pineapple and a reflux of passionfruit, it seems to get richer and more complex with every mouthful while the toasty oak moves to a supporting role in the background. Quite delicious. 14% alc. $28. 29Jul2007.

Seresin Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Deep straw gold. Big rich, sweet-oaked and mealy scented, powerful smelling wine. Lovely lemon-infused backbone with a definite funkiness from the wild yeast regime. Mouthfilling and rich with a butterscotch nuance emerging and caramelised peach. There's a firm acid backbone while the finish is soft, rounded, full-bodied and long. 14.5% alc. $33. 15Jul2008.
Bright yellow gold in colour with mealy butterscotch nuances joining the prominent grapefruit scents then grapefruit brims through the full-bodied toasty oak palate. There's a buttery creamy overlay with wild yeast adding an extra funky dimension to the rich, mouthfilling flavours with butterscotch lingering on the bright, tropical fruit finish. Serious Chardonnay from a brilliant winemaker. 14.5% alc. $39.99. 8Apr2009.

Sileni EV Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (c) Bright lemon gold with funky, smoky, savoury and ever so slightly earthy aromas - it warns you there is a powerful wine inside the glass. Right now it is a very tight expression of a rich, powerful wine - quite citrussy, mealy and spicy to start then filling out with lanolin and big sweet nutty oak and a full, rich, malted cream finish. Give it a bit more time to integrate and unfold. 14% alc. $68.99. 30Apr2008.
Deep white gold. Malty and mealy on the nose with caramel and hokey pokey. This is a big fat style with spicy savoury oak and lots of creamy veneer. Ripe peach and apricot fruit is layered with butterscotch and there's a mellow softness and a smokiness to the long, luscious and complex finish. 14% alc. $49.99.20May2009.

Sileni The Lodge Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light golden coloured with rich, toasty, creamy and subtle stonefruit aromas, but so abundantly fruity to the taste with stonefruit and tropical fruit layered over a mealy-rich, classy French oak backbone with a long and increasingly powerful aftertaste. Needs a big glass. 14% alc. $35.99. 19Dec2008.
Moderate gold. Smoky with toasty spicy vanillin oak and juicy stonefruit adding to the aromatic appeal. Juicy flavours of stonefruit, pineapple and melon with nutty oak over a malty backbone. A very good mouthfilling wine, full-bodied in style, layers of flavour, very long finish - a steal at the discounted price. 14% alc. $22.99. 1Jul2009.

Sleeping Giant 'Hill Block' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light gold. A powerful wine on the nose with fig, dried fruits and barrel-ferment aromas. At first it seems quite linear - high-toned in palate - a result of the chilling - but the underlying oatmeal, honey, spicy French oak and concentrated stonefruit shows the wine's true colours. It gets richer and richer as it evolves in the glass and the mouthfilling finish is long, full and savoury. 14% alc. $42.99. 6May2009.

Southbank Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light yellow gold with grapefruit on the nose and grapefruit in the palate, the piquant citrus in not intrusive, just well-balanced to the subtle creamy oak. There's an apple-like pinot gris-ish nuance to the flavour with acidity lifting the lightly savoury, mealy finish. 14% alc. $20.99. ***1/2. 3Nov2007.

Spencer Hill 'Gold' Chardonnay NV (Z) Ripe and tasty with spicy oak and juicy fruit in the typical Tasman Bay / Spencer Hill mould. Stone fruit, mealy characters and spicy oak aromas and crisp, spicy flavours with stonefruits, tropical fruits and citrus and a long, creamy, mealy finish. Packaged in a 1-litre retro-styled 'jug' with a bright yellow zork capsule. 13% alc. $17.99. 17Mar2007.

Spy Valley Envoy Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (c) Tasted at seven years of age, this complex Chardonnay is still quite alive. It's a bright yellow gold colour with a hazelnut butter and cedar aroma and tastes incredibly nutty too. It has a rich creamy texture, hints of melons, orange zest, integrated savoury oak and a very long dry flinty finish with alcoholic weight and power. 13.5% alc. $34.90. 5Sep2013.

Spy Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light gold in colour, this seems like a medium-bodied, fruity wine with stonefruit, fig and moderately mealy scents and a fruity palate with a creamy texture, a little touch of spice, a stonefruit sweetness and a lightly toasty finish. But it becomes richer and richer with every mouthful and builds to a rounded long finish with a hint of mlf influence and a suggestion of butterscotch or caramel toffee. Nice to drink on its own. Good food wine too. 13% alc. $19.90. 25Mar2008.

Spy Valley Unoaked Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Straw gold coloured. Citrus and tropical fruit aromas with a confectionary overlay and sweetish tropical fruit flavours with a tangelo and lime citrus tang. This off-dry style has masses of fruit balanced by a spicy yeast lees savouriness that comes through on the slightly, jazzy, spritzy textured finish and a bright, clean fruity flavour is left in the mouth. 13.5% alc. $16.95. 7Jul2007.

Squawking Magpie Gimblett Road Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light gold coloured, clear and bright, this mesmerising wine is bursting with juicy nectarines together with hints of melon and pineapple supported by nutty, hauntingly smoky French oak with a yeast lees richness and fruit nectar-like texture. Medium to full-bodied in style, long in flavour, decadent in its fruit richness, the oak plays the harmonious background role. Striking and memorable. 14% alc. Approx $32-$35. 10May2007.

Tasman Bay Nelson Chardonnay 2006 (Z) A big rich bold style of Chardonnay with a yellow gold colour that hints of some age. Toasty aromas and spicy flavours with a savoury intensity, a mealy undercurrent and a peach and tropical salad layer on the creamy oak finish with bottle age imparting a mellow complexity 13% alc. $14.99. 3Jun2009.

Te Awa Left Field Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Out of left field because it has no oak, yet still rich and textural, full and round with a spicy, savoury flavour from the yeast lees influence. Peachy fruit tones emerge with tropical fruit and lemon bread on the finish. A fruity wine and better than many pinot gris. A superb match with Orange Roughy. 13.5% alc. $22.90. 12Nov2006.

Te Mania Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2006 (D) Big, brash, bold and creamy, this has sweet, spicy oak and sweet peachy fruit and underlying acidity, which is welcomed. It's golden in colour and is full-bodied and spicy with plenty of flavour. 14% alc. $27.95. ****. 3Nov2007.

Te Mania Nelson Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Delicate apple aroma that becomes quite perfumed with toffee apple and apple blossom. Spicy in the palate with subtle savoury oak and a lifted, long, sweet lingering aftertaste. Lots of apple, which is okay if you like apple in Chardonnay. Pinot Gris fans should like this. 14% alc. $18.95. ***. 3Nov2007.

Te Mata Elston Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (D) Light golden yellow, this is savoury and nutty with a hint of marzipan on the nose and citrus zest dominates the flavours at first but the citrus is just a curtain that parts to reveal the savouriness and richness within. It's very dry and totally Burgundian in style, intensifying on the palate with rich, mealy, full-bodied flavours and tropical fruit on the finish. A wine with a long, long life ahead of it, yet when tasted blind it stirred up mixed reactions from the tasters. 14% alc. $29.99. 25Oct2007.

Te Mata Woodthorpe Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Tropical fruit abounds on the nose with a nutty oak complexity to the scent of this bright lemon gold-colour wine. It’s a fat leesy style, quite mellow already with melon and tropical fruit flavours and honeyed oak emerging on the warm, rich finish while underlying citrus keeps the wine fresh. Nicely integrated and drinking well now. 13% alc. $18.99.12Mar2008.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2006 (D) Toasty savoury oak aromas - new spicy French oak and very appealing. Sweet oak in palate with a kind of estery vanillin bubblegum sweetness over a buttery, mealy backbone. Some malolactic fermentation treatment obvious with creamy lactic influences to the fore and a savoury aftertaste. While just a little coarse when tasted immediately after opening, this wine really strutted its stuff later when given time to integtrate. 14.8% alc. $30. 21Jan2008.
Rich yellow gold with smoky, savoury aromatics and nutty flavours with a nougat sweetness, savoury French oak and ripe stonefruit. Dry, sophisticated and toasty with an almost salty undercurrent and a spicy zest, it seems quite tight but this is a serious wine with long term potential that is inferred by the length of the warm, rich, rounded finish. 14% alc. $28.99. 20Aug2008.
Light yellow gold with hints of grapefruit on the smoky French oak and savoury, mealy nose it has a luscious fat edge to the palate, fleshed out with spiced peach and vanillin oak. Full-bodied, concentrated and toasty with a long rich spicy finish, it has a lovely complexity that has come with that little bit of age. 14% alc. $25.99. 1 Apr2009.

TW "Tietjen Witters"Gisborne Chardonnay 2006 (sc) A big, rich, fat toasty wine with a rich yellow gold colour, malt biscuits aromas and reasonably acidity in the palate that imparts a tangy brightness to the thick, creamy, savoury, toasted wheat flavours with luscious tropical fruit and a glimmer of grapefruit. 13% alc. $28.99. 25Feb2009.

Vavasour Anna’s Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) From the Awatere Valley, this classy wine is moderate gold in colour with grapefruit infusing the gorgeous savoury barrel-ferment aromas and a smooth creamy, leesy palate. It seems to have that smoky complexity that comes with a little bit of age and served quite chilled it is juicy and creamy with a touch of spice and a rich mouthfilling finish. An absolute treat. 14.5% alc. $41.99. 25Mar2009.

Vavasour Awatere Valley Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Green-tinged light gold in colour, this spicy, savoury, creamy, leesy, full-bodied, barrel-fermented chardonnay is oily, toasty, nutty and citrussy with hints of butterscotch, a rich, spicy finish and excellent length. Chilled for four hours before tasting, yet still very stylish. 14.5% alc. $19.99. 30Jan2008.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light gold in colour, it's rich, creamy, powerful and nutty with toasty oak, hints of toffee, ripe stonefruit and a touch of sweeter citrus. Tonight it is served slightly chilled which doesn’t harm it at all. It enhances the oak and the acidity in a most delightful way. 14% alc. $19.99.26Sep2007.
With juicy citrus and savoury, toasty French oak on the nose, this rich, fuller-bodied chardonnay seems elegant and refined with a creamy texture over a spicy, nutty backbone and tropical fruit, pineapple and peach. Showing good underlying acidity, it's a powerful wine for the price point and made to last. 14% alc. $17.99. 16Jan2008.

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Creamy gold in colour, this beautiful bottle-aged Chardonnay is rich, malty and mealy with a vanillin infusion to the smoky oak and a touch of grapefruit. A classy, fine textured, linear, barrel-fermented style with fleshy stonefruit and spicy oak increasing, it's still brimming with youthfulness and while drinking beautifully right now, it's also a worthwhile short-term cellaring proposition. 14% alc. $22.99. 2Sep2009.
A lovely creamy chardonnay with a golden hue but otherwise does not hint at all of its age. Served quite chilled there is a delicious fleshy character to the juicy nectarine-like fruit, there's a smooth, savoury, nutty backbone and a bright citrussy finish. This is smart wine and drinking beautifully now. 14% alc. $22.99. 25Nov2009.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2006 - Auckland (sc) Light golden coloured, smoky scented, full-bodied and toasty with creamy oak, grilled stonefruit and a lovely crisp seam of underlying sweet citrus, this is a gorgeous, rounded, smooth flowing mouthful of delicious chardonnay wine. 14% alc. $37.99. 6Feb2008.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Waikahu Chardonnay 2006 - Hawkes Bay (sc) Toasty butterscotch aromas with hints of malt caramel and full-bodied, soft, creamy flavours crammed with peach, tropical fruit, caramel and butterscotch with an spicy tang to the mealy, nutty underlay. Beautifully harmonious, long and luscious. 14% alc. $37.99. 19Sep2007.

West Brook Barrique Fermented Marlborough Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light gold. Lovely oak on the nose - spicy creamy oak and fleshy stonefruit carry through to the palate to be joined with wheat, toast, rich fruit and butterscotch. With its gorgeous smooth texture it simply flows. It seems so seamless, the flavours intensify and linger on the finish and it definitely can be well chilled too.14.5% alc. $16.99 or $15.99 p.b. on case buys. 25Feb2009.

West Brook Ivicevich Waimauku Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light gold with citrine glints. Nutty, savoury, smoky oak and mealy scents lead into a fine-grained, fine-textured palate with Burgundian connotations. It is mealy with hints of nutmeg, a touch of fig, a fleshy stonefruit richness and a fine citrussy finish. Lovely ripe Chardonnay, refined and smooth. 13.5% alc. $38.00 7Mar2009.

Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Deep gold. Rich toasty, mellow oak and full-bodied, powerful, creamy flavours with ripe grilled peaches, a nice touch of buttery, biscuity spice, lots and lots of oak and underlying acidity keeping the wine fresh and bright. Butterscotch lingers on the finish. ****.14.5% alc. $16.99. 22Oct2008.

Waitiri Creek Gibbston Valley Central Otago Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Light lemon gold. Such a contrast to the Felton Road, this has obvious malolactic influence resulting in a milky/lemony/slightly cheesy overlay. Tropical fruit, orange zest and babaco fruit flavours join the mix, spicy oak plays a subtle role, there's a hint of salinity (some would say minerality) and the finish is toasty with a touch of canned pineapple. A wacky wine that prompted lots of comments. 13.6% alc. $23.99. 7Jan2009.

White Rock Wild Ferment Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2006 (sc) Another mealy savoury style with toasty oak, nectarine, figs and nuts. Rich, powerful and creamy, this is a sophisticated wine at the at the price point with the wild ferment adding a momentary ‘Euro feel’ then the butterscotch and tropical fruit finish whisk you straight back to New Zealand. 13.5% alc. $16.99. 5Nov2008.

[2008/2009] [2007][2006] [2006] [2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [1999 and older] [index]

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

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