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edited by Sue Courtney

Wine Reviews - Chardonnay
2007 vintage
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 28 Jun 2014

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
[2010 and younger] [2009] [2008] [2007] [2006] [2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [1999 and older] [index]

2007 Vintage [top] [index]

Alexia by Jane Cooper Unoaked Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Quite savoury and leesy with a 'fizzy fruit' sherbet-like infusion to the juicy tropical fruit and pear-like flavours and a reasonable medium to full body. 3 stars. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 25Apr2009.

Ascension The Ascent Reserve Matakana Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light gold colour with citrussy aromas and a creamy texture with a rather voluptuous butterscotch richness and refreshing balancing acidity. Fresh and clean with a lemon, leesy, barrel ferment backbone and oak that is harmonious and nicely integrated. 13% alc. $35.00 7Mar2009.
Light gold. Citrus, smoke and butter caramel scents. Slightly Burgundian/Chablis characters, with a nutty backbone, citrus and melon fruit and a butterscotch nuance to the finish. A harmonious wine and looking very good right now. A classy Auckland Chardonnay. 13% alc. $25.99. 5May2010.

Astrolabe Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Initially seems fresh and simple with little indication of oak on the nose, that freshness carrying through to the palate where some toasty nuances kick in and say, "'Hey, I do have oak, so there". A creamy textured wine no doubt benefiting from malolactic fermentation to tone down the zesty acidity that drives the wine, it is an easy going, medium-bodied style with a mealy savoury undercurrent and a touch of sweet orange on the lingering finish. Becomes more sophisticated with time in the glass. 3.5 stars. 13.5% alc. $26. 26Apr2009.
Smoky, nutty aromas - savoury more than fruity, this stylish barrel fermented wine is nutty and fairly dry with hints of grapefruit, Burgundian-like oak and a zesty finish. Still looking youthful for its age. 4 stars. 13.5% alc. $27.99. 14Jul2010.

Babich Irongate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 Perfumed with hazelnut and smoky oak scents tinged with grapefruit, the aromas carry through to the toasty palate. A nuts and figs style with hints of nectarine, it's smooth and creamy with a very refined texture and a biscuity, full-bodied finish. Very stylish, rounded and long. 14.5% alc. Cork. $30.99. 25Nov2010.

Beach House Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Enticingly fragrant with grilled peach and nutty scents and a smooth, creamy, seamless palate filled with savoury, mealy flavours integrating into the toasty spicy oak and fleshy stonefruit with a warm finish and a flourish of tangy acidity. 14% alc. $19.99. 5Nov2008.

Black Barn Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A tight-grained, full-bodied Chardonnay showing winemaking complexities together with melon, tropical fruit and lovely integrated toasty oak. It's quite nutty with fig-like elegance and hints of butterscotch too. A beautiful Chardonnay, following the mould of the trophy winning 2004. 14% alc. $32.99. 15Oct2008.
A powerful number, golden in colour with delicate stonefruit and mealy aromatics and smooth creamy, mealy flavours with smoky oak, hits of caramel and stonefruit pushing through to linger deliciously on the lasting finish. Beautiful now and will become even better with a little more time. 14% alc. $332.99. 29Apr2009.

Black Estate Omihi Waipara Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A more delicate style, mealy and citrussy, it's starts off being rather more tight and focussed but expands beautifully in the mouth and finishes with a mealy savouriness. It's medium to full-bodied, but always has that delicate touch that disguises the underlying power. A class act. 14.5% alc. $19.95. 26Apr2009.

Brightside Nelson Unoaked Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Ripe nectarine and hints of grapefruit on the nose with a smoky infusion that doesn't come from oak (obviously, as this is unoaked wine) so probably from Sulphur reduction. Light-bodied with a high-toned, sweetish, juicy palate with apple and pear and a savoury, earthy undercurrent. A rather odd wine. 14 $16.00 5Apr2009.

Brunton Road Gisborne Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light gold with sweet oak on the nose, this is subtle and understated on entry with a delicate, mealy barrel-ferment influence and perfumed tropical fruit but quickly asserts its creamy, mealy richness with nutty oak, a touch of spice and a long, juicy finish. 14% alc. $19.99. 22Apr2009.

Carrick Cairnmuir Terraces EBM Central Otago Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Yellow gold in colour with mealy aromatics and broad mealy flavours, this has an earthy, flinty seam running through the wine. It's grainy in texture with apricot and citrus the dominant fruit, while malolactic characters add a hint of a buttery richness to the finish. 14% alc. $34.99. 4Aug2010.

Cape Campbell Limited Edition Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Moderate light gold. On the nose, a malty, savoury, barrel fermented style with smoky nuances carrying through to the palate with fleshy peach and nectarine and a leesy undercurrent with lactic influences and a touch of caramel on the finish. It is served lightly chilled and takes it well too. 13.5% alc. $17.99. 14Oct2009.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Quite shy on the nose but juicy and fruit sweet in the palate with nougat, caramel cream, fig and spice. Seriously serious with a beautiful oak regime and an expansive finish that lasts and lasts. Very tightly bound at this stage of its life, just let the beautiful flavours expand in the mouth and savour the long, nutty finish. 14% alc. $28.99. 4Mar2009.
Light yellow gold. Nutty, mealy, barrel-ferment influenced aromas and deep, savoury flavours with a seamless, harmonious texture. This is one of those malt and nougat styles packed with nuts, figs and dried fruits and abundant spiced oak that is integrating nicely. Rich, creamy, opulent and long. Drink now or cellar. 14% $32.99. 12Aug2009.
Some deep tints to the light gold colour. A little oily on the nose, the aromas dulled by chilling, however the mouthfilling taste of savoury, spicy French oak, grilled stonefruits and hazelnuts is delicious. It's seamless in attack and the finish is long. 14% alc. $34.99. 6Jan2010.

Clearview Beachhead Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light yellow gold in colour, the aroma is tempting with nut, vanilla, chamois and orange zest scents but the initial taste of this lightly fruity wine is nutty and tight. But wait, it opens up beautifully with spicy, salty, savoury oak integrating with citrus and stonefruit and a pleasingly dry finish with mouthfilling length. Totally more-ish. 14.5% alc. $19.99 (was cheaper on the night). 28Jan2009.

Clearview Reserve Chardonnay 2007 - Hawkes Bay (sc) A lemon gold colour introduces this smoky, barrel-fermented style with nuts, figs, sweet oak and perhaps some wild yeast. It's rounded and rich with a lemony undercurrent and a rich toasty spicy finish with a touch of butterscotch lingering on the long creamy finish. A lovely wine with an 'elegant' allure but nowhere near as oaky as we have seen in the past from this label. 14.5% alc. $42.99. 6Aug2008.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light yellow gold. Grapefruit, nougat, toasty oak and a hint of butterscotch tantalise the nose and the flavours are spicy and fruity with a well-balanced savoury backbone. A rich, creamy style with loads of caramel, toasty oak and the grapefruit detected on the nose lingering on the finish. 14% alc. $42.99. 19May2010.

Coopers Creek Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light gold coloured with nutty smoky French oak scents that are infused with butterscotch and caramel cream and a nutty, creamy textured palate with juicy tropical fruit, butterscotch and a long, clean, spicy oak finish. Fruit comes from an organic hillside vineyard. 14.5% alc. $23.99. 15Oct2008.
Bright light gold in colour with a smoky, spicy, sweet caramel and peach aroma and lots of savoury, smoky flavours with grapefruit, stonefruit and tropical fruit in harmony and a nutty nougat character coming through. A big wine, creamy in texture with a malty richness. 14.5% alc. $28.99. 2Dec2009.

Coopers Creek Swamp Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light gold, medium to full-bodied in style, quite dry and nutty, with a good slug of savoury nutty oak, a smooth texture, peach and nectarine fruit pushing through on the finish and an oily veneer. 14% alc. $27.99. 29Apr2009.

Coopers Creek SV Limeworks Chardonnay 2007 - Hawkes Bay (sc) Yellow gold coloured with a toasty buttery aroma and a rich toasty creamy palate with vanilla bean, butterscotch, fleshy peach and underlying citrus - there's lots of power and oomph to the fat oily American oak and the finish is long, nutty and caramel-laden. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 22Apr2009.

Cottage Block Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Rich straw gold in colour, there's a mealy, malty, grapefruit-infused aroma and those sensory aromatics carry through to the creamy palate that has a nougat-like complexity with stonefruit pulsating through on the gorgeous finish. A 'hands off' wine that utilised wild yeasts in the barrel, it has layers of complexity and savouriness. 14% alc. $32.99. 18Mar2009.
Light gold hue with a touch of yellow. Bright on the nose with salted cashews, butter, spice and creamy oak, this is simply packed with ripe, plump, fleshy stonefruit, citrus, butterscotch and caramel cream. A creamy, mealy, malty style - silky in texture, smooth in attack, plenty of sweet oak and a bright toasty finish. 14.5% $31.99. 12Aug2009.

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light straw gold - quite pale in comparison to the previous wines. Initially it smells quite light and fruity and a little Chablis like, but later youthful nutty oak scents emerge. However the taste belies the light aroma because it is sweet oaked and peachy fruited with a touch of butterscotch and lovely roundness and harmony to the texture and flow. Call it subtle or "shy and understated" because it is has deceptive power and length. 14.5% alc. $26.99. 30Apr2008.
A bright gold colour, a powerful and classy aroma of grapefruit and butterscotch with smoke, nuts and a little funk and rich, smooth stonefruit-laden flavours with spicy oak and a toasty finish. A mouthfilling, full-bodied Hawkes Bay style with lots of appeal. 14.5% alc. $29.99. 29Apr2009.

Crossroads Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Developing nicely with that little bit of bottle age, this light gold wine is toasty and spicy with melon, peach, nutty vanillin oak and a slightly oily texture. Served very cold, it is certainly easy to drink. With the chill taken off, the aromatics are enhanced and the texture is creamier. 14.5% alc. $16.99. 18Nov2009.

Dolbel Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A wine that has benefited from time in the bottle and proudly expresses its origin with classic Hawkes Bay peachy fruit wrapped in butterscotch and toasty oak. A relatively new label but from the estate vineyard planted 19 years before this vintage and with ex-Church Road winemaker Tony Pritchard calling the shots in the winery. 4.5 stars. 14% alc. $27. 26Apr2009.

Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (c) Light citrine gold. The exquisite aroma has refined smoky oak with a subtle nutty sweetness, a baking biscuit nuance and an infusion of sweet citrus. Smooth and seamless as it crosses the palate, it's quite mealy with a toasty layer and an expansive finish where melon and tangelo combine with the savoury oak to linger elevatedly. Four years old, yet seems so youthful. An exciting New Zealand wine. Beautiful and delicious are words that came to mind. 14% alc. $33.00. 24Oct2011.

Dry River Martinborough Chardonnay 2007 (c) Fragrantly scented with exotic spice and cashew nuts and the palate is mealy heading to malty with delicately smoky spicy oak and a heady richness despite the lighter 13% alcohol with an underpinning of citrus zest adding a dancing brightness. Just beautiful. 13% alc. $$$. 31Jan2008.

Elephant Hill Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Toasty oak and caramel on the nose and full-bodied creamy flavours of stonefruit, melon, butterscotch and well-integrated smoky oak with an underlying mealy savouriness to the warm, rich spicy finish. Soft, smooth and seamless. 13.5% alc. $20.99. 8Oct2008.

Emeny Road Reserve Tauranga Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Nutty, malo, butterscotch scents lead into a smooth textured palate. Nutty and slightly 'burnt butter' flavours with lots of citrus and a tropical fruit brightness with just a lick of pineapple. The finish is long and full with a creamy buttery richness. Do not over chill as it accentuates the grapefruit character. 13.5% alc. $20.00 23/01/2009.

Fairmont Block One Chardonnay 2007 - Gladstone Terraces, Wairarapa (sc) Light yellow gold coloured and immediately recognisable as Chardonnay with creamy, lightly buttery, vanilla oak scents and loads of fat youthful toasty oak in the palate. Rich and flavoursome with apricot-rich stonefruit, grilled pineapple and a warm bright citrussy finish, it fills out with a soft leesy richness as the aftertaste lasts and lasts. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 2Jul2008.
Creamy yellow gold. Peach, pineapple and nougat on the nose and immediately fat, broad and toasty in the smooth, creamy palate that's flushed with sweet smoky vanillin oak, citrus, stonefruit and grilled pineapple and a lasting succulent finish. A big wine. 13.5% alc. $17.99. 19Aug2009.

Felton Road Central Otago Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light gold in hue, it's even more mealy and malty on the nose with a hint of grapefruit that becomes more obvious when you taste it. Soft and deep with a creamy texture, spicy oak, citrus and stonefruit and a mealy finish. A serious wine that exudes class. 14% alc. $34.99. 4Mar2009.

Giesen 'The Brothers' Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A big, creamy, toasty style with a smidgen of butterscotch, it's rounded and smooth with savoury oak nicely balancing the full, rich, malt and stonefruit flavours and a long, full finish with even a hint of caramel. This is a 'reserve' status wine in the Geisen hierarchy. 14% alc. $19.99. 14Apr2010.

Hihi Gisborne Ormond Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A unoaked style, full of peachy fruit on the nose and a light, lemony palate. Quite juicy and fresh with moderate weight and a long expansive finish. Nectarine lingers. A sweeter style that just needs a litle more excitement. 9g/l rs. 13% alc. $16. 21Jan2008.

Hihi Gisborne Sirius Ormond Chardonnay 2007 (sc) This pale gold-coloured wine smells ripe and clean with peachy fruit and a hint of citrus. Bright and juicy to the taste, it's very fresh with a savoury mealy undercurrent and a buttery richness that morphs into butterscotch as the flavours linger in the mouth. There's enough oak for oak-lovers yet it doesn't dominate and those who shy away from oak will like this wine too. 13.5% alc. $16-18. 21Jan2008.

Hunters Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) All the characters of an unoaked or very lightly oaked wine, it's freshand citrussy with a spiciness to the mealy backbone. Very long and powerful, it gets better with every mouthful and by the end of the bottle you are thinking this was one very complex wine indeed. It's natural yeast fermented with 60% fermented in stainless steel. 13.5% alc. $19.50. 29Mar2008.

Hyperion 'Helios' Matakana Chardonnay 2007 (D) A little subdued on the nose, it tastes rich and fruity with nectarine, citrus and tropical fruit underpinned by subtle smoky oak. There's a touch of sweetness on the finish with a balancing grainy savouriness and the flavours linger well. 14.5% alc. $25. 21Jan2008.

Isabel Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Glassy greeny gold with a tropical fruit aroma, this is warm textured with grilled peach, hints of butterscotch, savoury oak and a hazelnut finish. Starting to mellow but still looking good at 4 years of age and takes chilling well. There's a 'hot climate' nuance to the scent that made me think Australia, initially. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 14Dec2011.

Jackson Estate Shelterbelt Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Pale in colour. Hint of reduction / struck match on the nose. In the palate a rich and emphatically savoury style with a subtle infusion of polished toasty oak. The savouriness parts to reveal juicy sweet stonefruit and spice. With its well-rounded finish, it seems like an easy-going upfront style. 13.5% alc. 1 $22.50. 10May2009.

John Forrest Collection Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Bright lemon gold. Big, ripe, rich and buttery with a creamy, almost buttery backbone to the silky textured flavours. Tropical fruit, stonefruit, melon and custard powder infiltrate the palate with a lovely citrus zest brightness and the lasting flavour is rich, nutty, luscious and long. Cuisine Top 10 tasting. 14% alc. $39.99. 18Apr2012.
Suggesting age with its deep golden colour, this smells sophisticated and savoury with a grapefruit nuance to the scent and tastes full-bodied, dry, smoky and toasty with a soft mellow character to the nutty, creamy flavours. 14% alc. $45.99. 8Aug2012.
This mature smelling, glossy gold coloured wine gives an impression that it will be quite mellow in the palate, but is actually quite juicy and fresh when you taste it. It's mealy with smoky, struck match characters, biscuity oak and stonefruit and a satisfying fat, rounded peachy finish – and then those mellow characters you first expected come in. Not too overpowering and a lovely food wine / conversation wine at this stage of its life. 14% alc. $45.99. 24Apr2013.

Kim Crawford Doc's Block Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Lemon gold with a vitreous lustre. Smoky savoury aromas and toasty flavours with a touch of vanilla and caramel cream quite dominant. Fruit is in the peach and nectarine spectrum and there's a spicy tang to the finish. 14% alc. $18.99. 6Jan2010.
Light honey gold. Oaky aromas with leesy mealy scents and a touch of stonefruit. A sweet caramel style with toasty oak, stonefruit, nougat and a smooth, seamless, long, creamy finish. A real crowd pleaser.14% alc. $19.99. 12May2010.
A big, bold, golden Chardonnay with rich toasty oak, loads of juicy stonefruit and mealy nutty spicy flavours and a refreshing balance of citrus on the beautifully rounded finish. Drinking beautifully now. 14% alc. $19.99. 21Jul2010.

Kim Crawford SP Tietjen Gisborne Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Bright yellow gold in colour, this young blockbuster has rich, powerful, fragrant vanillin oak and stonefruit scents that immediately whisk you to Chardonnay land. It's savoury and spicy and full of creamy vanillin oak with a nutty mealy deliciousness, juicy peach and tropical fruit and a long rich finish with hints of butterscotch. American oak adds to its approachability and best of all, it can take serious chilling. 14.5% alc. $29.99.5Mar2008.
Golden bright with savoury, smoky, nut and oatmeal scents and full-bodied, rich, savoury, spicy oak flavours. A little bit funky, a little bit rock and roll, there's grilled peach and a touch of honeyed cream in this simply gorgeous, big, fat, seamless wine. It whisks us back to a main course with its power and richness. Wow! 14.5% alc. $26.99. 30Apr2008.
This powerful Chardonnay is bright yellow gold with toasted nuts and French oak on the nose and a gorgeous, rich, creamy, spicy flavour that simply seduces. Full of tropical fruit, there's a touch of citrus and a hint of caramel while stonefruit and nougat flesh out the long lasting finish. 14.5% alc. $27.99. 1Apr2009.

Kina Beach Nelson Reserve Chardonnay 2007 (sc) This is a wine with a hedonistic texture to support the delicious fruit and mealy, yeast-derived flavours. Grapefruit is the key fruit character supported by fleshy nectarine while caramel wells up from within and lingers gorgeously on the finish. Rich, savoury and malty. 14% alc. $30.00. 4Dec2009.

Lake Chalice 'Platinum' Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Pale gold in colour, this is such a different style to the West Brook - it's starts out quite lean with a savoury mealy undercurrent with funky wild yeast flavours and vanillin oak adding gentle complexity. The texture is smooth and creamy with a smatter of oak spice and hints of peach come through on the rich long finish. Matt Thomson's name is behind this wine that gets better and better as it opens up in the glass. The bargain price is because the 'Platinum' label is being replaced. 14.5% alc. $17.99. 29Jul2009.

Lawson's Unoaked Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Bright straw gold and brightly scented too with lime zest, passionfruit and a hint of capsicum too, it's full of lime / tangelo and freshly squeezed orange in the mouthfilling palate with a spicy, mealy richness. Lots of flavour and drink now appeal. 13.5% alc. $21. 15Jul2008.

Lonestone HawkesBay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Pale gold. Citrussy and ripe tropical fruit aromas and a medium bodied palate with toast and honey, lime, tropical fruit and a sherbet like finish with little apparent influence of oak - it adds to the textural richness rather than the flavour. A good finish - long and lasting. Tasted chilled, it get better as it warms up the glass. 13.5% alc. $18.99. 29Apr2009.

Mahi Twin Valleys Vineyard Chardonnay 2007 (sc) It's a rich, malty, savoury number with a complex leesy infusion to the spicy barrel-ferment scents with some hints of butterscotch too. The profound maltiness carries through to the palate with is smoky and savoury with grilled peach, melon and prosciutto. Quite honestly I don't like this as much as previous Mahi's. A bit too funky, maybe. 4 stars. 13.5% alc. $34. 24Apr2009.

Main Divide South Island Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light yellow gold. Quite toasty on the nose with canned peached coming to mind and perhaps a little age. A well-worked Chardonnay - with mandarin-like citrus and powerful stonefruit the focus while fine French oak and nutty yeast lees flavours play a supporting role. I love the balance in the wine that I could enjoy as a beverage wine or match to food. 13.5 % alc. $20.95. 30Dec2009.

Man O' War Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Deep gold. Tasty Chardonnay stonefruit scents and rich, creamy, full-bodied Chardonnay flavours. A huge wine brimming with nutty, peachy flavours and smoky French oak with a lovely dry, rich finish. This has just a 30% oak component so the rich, ripe fruit and lees stirring have obviously added to the complexity. 14.5% alc. $28. 26Oct2008.
Light yellow gold. Buttered toast, stonefruit and citrus aromas. Rounded and rich with full-bodied, toasty, spicy oak flavours nicely supporting grilled pineapple and butterscotch. A very tasty first-up wine that prepares the palate nicely for the tasting to follow. 14.5% alc. $28.99. 15Jul2009.

Man O' War Waiheke Island Valhalla Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Also rich gold in colour, if I thought the last wine was big, this is massive. 100% barrel-ferment, this has a myriad of mealy, nutty, yoghurt-rich scents interlayered with toasty spicy oak. The toastiness carries through the concentrated powerful mealy palate with all the winemaking influences very much to the fore. A layered wine with a glossy veneer at this young stage of its life. Despite the creaminess, there is no malolactic fermentation in this or the previous Chardonnay wine. 14.5% alc. $40. 26Oct2008.
Yellow gold. At first it seems like a tight linear Chardonnay with a nutty aroma and a creamy, buttery backbone to the fresh, ripe tropical fruit and fleshy peach flavours with a touch of zesty lime. But with plenty of stylish spicy French oak and well-worked barrel fermentation mealiness, it builds in the mouth to a rich full finish that is mouthfilling, tasty, nutty and long. 14.5% alc. $40.99. 15Jul2009.

Marsden Estate Black Rocks Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Moderate gold in colour. Delicate butterscotch aromas and savoury, spicy flavours with gorgeous creamy French oak and juicy peach and tropical fruit. This has a string of silver medals on the label, but with the extra bottle age it has brought home the gold. Harmonious and seamless with a savoury richness and a caramel cream infusion to the long, full finish. Delicious. 13.5% alc. $35. 7Sep2009
We drank it - we loved it - beautiful balance of oak and fruit - it is seamless in attack. Perhaps a little more refined and not as oaky as the 2006. A delicious wine. 13.5% alc. $35. 31Dec2009.

Martinborough Vineyard Martinborough Terrace Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Golden in hue with lemony, leesy, mellow oak and oak spice on the nose with perfumed barrel-0ferment scents to the fore, it is a fat, creamy, spicy wine with a savoury backbone, hints of stonefruit and a touch of citrus. 14 alc. $40.00. 2Nov2009.

Matahiwi Unoaked Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A bright, zesty little number with a peach, lime and orange zest flavour and palate richness from the yeast lees. A soft, easy to drink, citrussy style. 13.5% alc. $15. 4Sep2007.
Initially spritzy, light and full of limey citrus flavours, it becomes quite smooth and creamy with a toasty leesy richness and grapefruit and stonefruit flavours. It's clean and zesty bright yet smooth and creamy - a frivolous chameleon of a wine that keeps changing in the glass. Ready now. 13.5% alc. $18. 29Mar2008.

Matakana Estate Matakana Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Bright yellow highlights to the light gold hue. Sweet creamy oak on the nose and rich, ripe and creamy in the palate. Quite mealy and concentrated with peach, nectarine, fig and warm spicy oak, it is a well worked wine - malolactic probably most definitely and plenty of toasty French oak kicking around in the background. A ful-bodied wine with that would have made me plump for a top notch Hawkes Bay wine in a blind tasting. Delicious. 13.5% alc. $27.00 7Mar2009.

Matua Ararimu Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Made from Gisborne fruit in one of Gisborne's best Chardonnay seasons ever, this flagship white from Matua Valley is golden in colour with a buttery inflection to the citrussy aroma and a smooth rounded mouthfeel to the toast, caramel, nectarine and peach flavours. Oak seems to become spicier with every mouthful and the finish is full and long. 14% alc. $42.99. 2Sep2009.

Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A medium gold colour. Lovely mealy, creamy nutty oak aroma and a rich, juicy full-bodied palate full of peaches and cream with spicy savoury oak and a butterscotch finish. Fresh and vibrant and can take some chilling. 14% alc. $17.99. 4Mar2009.
Creamy gold. Smoky oak and grilled ripe peach aromas and toasty oak flavours with a smooth creamy texture provides a platter for the stonefruit, apricot and tropical fruits. Underlying acidity provides spine to the deliciously juicy fruit and there are lots of mealy malty complexities with butterscotch emerging on the full, lasting finish. A super wine and sure to appeal to Chardonnay lovers. 14% alc. $19.99. 17Jun2009.
Bright yellow gold. Appealing peach and dried mango aromas and spicy oak flavours balance the fleshy peach and pineapple fruit. Medium to full-bodied in style with a spicy kick to the toasty oak finish where the ripe juicy fruit does a beautiful balancing trick. 14% alc. $19.99. 16Sep2009.

Mission Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Bright, clean and fruity with richness to the oily, slippery texture, peach and apricot fruit, a touch of oak spice and alcohol warmth to the finish which has great length and power. Oak is subtle and nicely integrated and there's a nutty, steely undercurrent too.13.5% alc. $12.99. 20Feb2008.

Mission Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Lots of savoury spicy oak characters add to the appeal of this bold, fruity, toasty, mealy, full-bodied barrel fermented style with a grainy texture, layers of vanilla bean and underlying acidity. Youthful and tangy with cellaring potential. 14% alc. $18.99. 5Nov2008.

Morton Estate Black Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Show noticeable gold to the hue, this is big, rich, toasty and oak with smoky aromas – perhaps a hint of bacon fat. There are lovely bottle developed characters that enhance the complex fig, stonefruit, lemon butter and salted caramel flavours and the savoury finish is mouthfilling and long. 14% alc. $33.99. 27Apr2011.
A lustrous gold colour in the glass. Seamlessly textured, spicy, creamy, malty and savoury with a nougat-like sweetness and hints of grilled peach, it's mouthcoating with a lasting finish. At four years of age, it's quite scintillating. Wine of the Week. 14.1% alc. $33.00. 14Nov2011.
Green-tinged gold with a smoky oak and grilled peach aroma, this big, rich, malty, nougat, caramel cream style has a flourish of spicy zest, a pencil-like oakiness and all round juicy mouthfeel. A seamless top-of-the-line wine that's made to age, is aged and will still continue to develop. 14% alc. $24.99. 7Dec2011.

Montana Vineyards Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A year in the bottle has added some intensity to the value-packed quaffer that has a lustrous light gold colour, smoky, savoury aromas and immediate mouthfilling flavours with sweet spicy oak, ripe stonefruit, a hint of citrus and a moderately oaky finish. Straight forward, reliable Chardonnay often on supermarket promotion. 15.5/20. 26Mar2009.

Montana Stuart Block Gisborne Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light yellow gold. Quite zesty, spritzy, toasty and just a little malty on the nose. In the palate it's a big oak style, spicy and savoury and hinting of a warmer climate origin with its tropical fruit, hints of pineapple, oily texture and underlying acidity keeping it all fresh. The spice leaves a zesty tingle in the mouth. 14% alc. $25.99. 18Mar2009.
This light yellow-gold coloured Chardonnay is a quite a deep sweet nutty style with layers of caramel and lashings of toasty oak. There's a deep, savoury undercurrent, the fruit is reminiscent of figs, citrus, apricot and crushed pineapple and the finish is long and creamy. 14% alc. $16.99. 25Nov2009.

Mt Hector Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) This light yellow gold wine has hints of butterscotch on the nose and is citrussy with hints of apricot, a zing of spice and malt-infused savoury oak. Medium bodied in style and super value for the price. 13.5% alc. $11.99. 16Jun2010.

Muddy Water Waipara Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Creamy, harmonious and full of butterscotch flavours that sit in nicely with the fresh, peach-like fruit - with perfectly balanced underlying savouriness from the yeast lees aging and toasty oak and just a hint of fig and nougat. Buttery Chardonnay - from Waipara - yep, for sure. It came from a year when lower than normal acidity was achieved, hence the riper fruit profile of the wine. Malolactic fermentation helps with those buttery flavours too while wild yeasts add savouriness. 14% alc. $32. 14Jun2009.

Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light gold. Mealy citrussy scents with an earthy depth. Made in a Burgundian style - quite lean and understated to start - expands beautifully in palate - nutty, bready, fruit doesn't overpower - melon, pear, a hint of pineapple, lovely bready influence - a richness of toasty oak infiltrating the finish. A Kumeu River lookalike. Refined, sophisticated - real class. 13.5 % alc. $30.00. 8Mar2010.

Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A light golden colour in the glass, the heady scents of caramel, baguette and smoky French oak are mesmerising. The flavours of the wine, once in the mouth, even more so - ripe stonefruit, hazelnut, fig, underlying savoury flavours and beautiful use of oak. With its silky seamless texture and a lasting, satisfying finish this is drinking beautifully already. WOTW w/e 19Oct2008. 14% alc. $55. 10Oct2008.

Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2007 - Nelson (sc) Light gold peachy scents - like peach on a tree, together with a hint of citrus. Wild yeast ferment adds a funky character to the wine, which seems sophisticated already with integrated oak, a honeyed richness and a gorgeous embellishment of tangelo and orange with hints of tropical fruit. Beautifully proportioned acidity adds a bright refreshing nuance to the complex barrel ferment and winemaking flavours. Classy wine. 14% alc. $27.99. 18Jun2008.
Light gold with a brilliant lustre. Perfumed vanillin oak and lime honey aroma. Toasty, creamy textured palate with soft to moderate acidity, a touch of spice and savoury mealy nuances to the dry spiced oak and citrus-infused finish with those honey nuances emerging again to linger on the aftertaste. 14% alc. $27.99.4Feb2009.
Smoky aromatics with orange peel and hints of grapefruit lead into a nutty palate with a hint of nougat and French oak pushing through - quite leesy with all the winemaking wizardry - barrel ferment and malolactic with grapefruit-dominant citrus the prominent flavour. A little spritzy from the underlying acidity to start, it becomes quite smooth and creamy with a savoury, malty finish. Subtle start, expansive finish. Needs decanting to show its class. 14% alc. $29.00. 5Apr2009.

Odyssey Gisborne Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Straw gold coloured with hints of sherbet on the nose and light, soft, creamy flavours with tropical fruit, spice and subtle oak. Well-balanced. Not overly complex. A perfect starter wine. 13.5% alc. $15.99. 6Aug2008.

Odyssey Reserve Iliad Gisborne Chardonnay 2007 (D) Light gold coloured with a lovely fresh, tropical fruit scent, that juicy freshness carries through to the delicately mealy palate where classy oak plays a secondary role but imparts spice and toastiness to the luscious finish. There's lovely expansion of flavour in the mouth and the delicious finish is long and lasting 13.5% alc. $25.99. 3Jun2009.
A golden yellow wine with a funky wild yeast scent with lactic lemony notes (wild barrel ferment). Initially Chablis-like to the taste - until the butter caramel kicks in and coats the luscious stonefruit with savoury spicy oak keeping everything in balance and a finish that just goes on and on. Seamless, integrated, textural. 13.5% alc. $25.99. 2Dec2009.

Passage Rock Barrel Fermented Gisborne Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light gold. Fragrant almost nutty oak - cashew and hazelnuts come to mind. A citrussy flavoured chardonnay, it seems at first, then powerful nutty flavours fill the palate. It's quite tangy and zesty with a hint of apricot on the finish and a slight salty tang. Has a very long finish that leaves a pleasing mouthfeel. Could be well chilled. 14 % alc. $19.00. 30Dec2009.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Moderate gold. Really wheaty style - leesy and mealy with butterscotch nuances - toasty and plum with stonefruit the most obvious fruit. Even more of the wheat, oatmeal, muesli character in palate - a big wine, a brulee style of wine with big oak, lots of oak spice tending towards citrus zest and a rich savoury mealy finish 14 % alc. $35.95. 8Mar2010.

Riverby Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) This smells of classy barrel-ferment oak but the very first taste was a little brash for me. However on the second and third tastes it becomes immediately appealing at the end of a long day. It is toasty, smoky and savoury with well-balanced stonefruit and citrus, plenty of oak spice and a touch of sweetness to the finish. It opens up nicely with tropical fruit leaving a brightness to the savoury vinous aftertaste with a mealy richness and a touch of butterscotch. A wine that will possibly take restraint to leave some for tasting again on day 2. However on day 2 it is full of honeyed oak and peach underpinned by citrus with well-integrated, smooth barrel-ferment character. It is creamy and long with a spicy flourish to the finish. Still young and developing and overall a better wine, in my opinion, that the gold medal winning 2006. 13.5% alc. $25. 30Jun2008.
Light lemon gold. Gently scented with smoky sweet oak and mealy nutty scents and lots of power to the warm, rich, creamy flavour with spicy grilled peach, well balanced acidity and sweet toasty oak becoming quite caramel/ butterscotch on the finish. Drinking beautifully already. 13.5% alc. $18.99. 20Aug2008.

Sacred Hill Riflemans Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) This radiant looking wine has something rather exotic about the aroma - a hint of lemon oil, nuts, orange blossom and apricot kernels come to mind. Quite youthful at the moment with fine acidity balancing the glazed apricot and peach fruit with mealy, nutty, leesy flavours enhanced by delicately spicy, perfumed French oak. All this over a delicious savoury backbone while the warm finish has concentration and a permeating vinous depth. A total class act, this is destined to become one of the stars of 2009. 14% alc. $52.99.14Jan2009.
Bright light gold in colour, this rich, powerful, full-bodied, showstopper has evolved beautifully to come of age since last tasted at First Glass, 15 months ago. The toasty aromas are tantalising and the rounded flavours are quite broad, fat and creamy with ripe stonefruit, a meanly undercurrent, nicely integrated spicy oak accented with zest and butterscotch lingering on the rounded finish. 14% alc. $50.99. 28Apr2010.

Sacred Hill The Wine Thief Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Skilful use of smoky French oak tantalises sweetly from the outset while the smoky, savoury, nutty, mealy flavours are embossed with grilled peach, ripe fig and a crisp citrussy backbone that underpins the smooth creaminess with a touch of caramel cream toffee emerging as the flavours linger for ages. Full-bodied and rich, this impressive wine is ready to drink already. 18.5/20. 14% alc. $27. 8Aug2008.
A tighter wine, delicately smoky on the nose and gorgeous, sophisticated, mouthfilling flavours full of toasty French oak, ripe juicy stonefruit, nuts, nougat and figs with a long creamy finish and underlying savoury winemaking complexities. Like a baby Rifleman's at half the price - it's smooth, rounded and simply excellent. 14% alc. $25.99. 8Oct2008.

Saint Clair Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) This is a bright juicy wine, a little bit mealy and radiating freshness with citrus and delicately honeyed oak building to a rounded and pleasing butterscotch finish. Oak is nicely integrated. It is definitely there and not over the top. A nice easy drinking, well-made wine with a ring of quality. 13% alc. $20.95. 3Jun2008.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 2007 (sc) The flagship Chardonnay from Saint Clair, this is a big rich savoury style with spicy French oak, nuts, figs, melon and nougat. Full-bodied and rounded, it's rich, ripe, luscious and long with lots of mouthfilling delight. When chilled the toasty oak becomes more prominent and there are grapefruit nuances too. 14% alc. $34.99. 30Sep2009.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 'Sawcut' Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light golden. With hints of butterscotch on the creamy scented nose, this nutty savoury chardonnay is full-bodied and fleshy with oak quite dominant at this stage of its life. Full of peach, melon, butterscotch and zesty citrus, the texture is smooth and rounded and simply flows. Do not over chill. 14.5 alc. $29.95. 10Dec2008.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 10 'Twin Hills' Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light gold in colour, this barrel fermented style is quite savoury in many respects with lovely use of oak to balance the juicy citrus that hints of grapefruit and rich peach flavours with hints of fig. Drinking very well right now. 14% alc. $26.99. 11Nov2009.
The aroma is reminiscent of Macintosh toffees and the taste is smooth and creamy with spice, savoury oak and loads of citrus. Medium to full-bodied in style with a lovely toasty savoury undercurrent and a long-lasting rounded finish. This wine took a while to hit its straps, but it's drinking beautifully now. 14% alc. $19.99. 5Jan2011.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light yellow gold. Sweet nutty oak and hints of citrus and caramel on the nose and citrus and tropical fruit in the smooth seamless honey-coated palate with hints of pineapple, concentrated nectarine and stonefruit and a citrussy spicy flourish to the toasty finish. Creamy, mealy, lifted and long. 14% alc. $27.99. 29Apr2009.

Saint Clair Vicars Choice Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light and leesy- this is popcorn chardonnay with its slightly buttery, mealy, malolactic-influenced flavours. I didn’t like it at first .I preferred it the next day. It had opened up nicely with time in the bottle to reveal tropical and citrus fruit and a rounded creamy finish. Easy going and ready now. 13% alc. $16.95. 18Apr2008.

Saints Gisborne Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light gold with a fresh, nutty oak aroma, a theme that carries through to the palate with spicy oak to the fore. Rounded and rich with peach and melon and plenty of juicy drink now appeal, it is medium to full in style with plenty of flavour. 13.5% alc. $9.99 - sold out on the night. 28Jan2009.

Selaks Founders Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light gold coloured with a seam of citrus amongst the fine, toasty French oak aromas and a tight, citrus-infused palate - similar to the 2006 in this respect and perhaps a 'house style'. A serious wine with mealy, barrel ferment flavours - all the winemaking bells and whistles. Melon, peach and tropical fruit emerging from behind the citrus to lingering on the expansive, mouthfilling finish. 14% alc. $22.99. 25Feb2009.

Selaks The Favourite Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light gold colour. Stonefruit and delicate toasted barrique ferment scents. A medium weight style - creamy and mealy with perfumed spicy oak, a light honey texture, peachy fruit, a biscuity toastiness and a rounded, fresh finish. A very appealing and drinkable style.13.5% alc. $18.99. 29Apr2009.

Shingle Peak Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light yellow gold in colour, this wine does not want to reveal too many secrets on the nose but as it warms in the glass it later gives off mealy scents with sweet toasty oak. Tight-knit in the palate with a creamy undercurrent to the caramel-infused toasty oak, it is a high-toned wine with plenty of lime-like acidity underpinning the spicy lush fruit but evolves beautifully as it warms in the glass to a full rich finish. 13.5% alc. $16.99. 15Apr2009.

Sileni The Lodge Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Brilliant light gold with green/yellow glints, it a savoury smelling wine with lifted oak spice notes. It's citrussy on entry to the palate and ultra fleshy and juicy, like biting into a fresh ripe peach - oh yes. There's oak spice too and lovely nutty, creamy, mealy complexities. Honeyed oak coats the tongue. This a big wine, full of stonefruit and just a hint of pineapple. A classy wine with all he bells and whistles with a savoury finish that sits in nicely with the sweet oak and takes you back to the start. 14% alc. $34.95 16Feb2009.

Spy Valley Envoy Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A white yellow gold. Aromas of barrel ferment, wild yeasts, lemon and grapefruit with hints of marshmallow too. Oak dominates the palate on the first taste but there is so much going on behind it. Fresh peach, melon and nectarine fruit with an infusion of Kaffir lime and vanilla. A fascinating Chardonnay with a cream caramel finish but I wonder perhaps if it is a little too sweet. 13.5 % alc. $34.90. 20Dec2009.
Light citrine, looking very youthful for its age. This has an appealing aroma of smoky oak and caramel cream and the win is packed with flavour even though it has been well chilled. Smooth, malty and creamy with oak spice and underlying citrus. A lovely, rounded, mouthfilling Chardonnay with a long lasting finish. Classy, Sophisticated. Stylish both in taste and presentation. 13.5% alc. $41.99. 11May2011.

Spy Valley Unoaked Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Appealing fruity aroma. Light, unoaked, citrus and tropical fruit flavours. Clean, fruity and juicy with a touch of viscosity to the texture, a spicy, savoury, yeasty undercurrent and a zesty finish. Juicy, fresh, delicious. 5g/l rs. 13% alc. $16.90. 21Jan2008.

Squawking Magpie Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Pale gold coloured with a lightly mealy, earthy, vanillin oak aroma and the sweetness of buttered fresh corn on the cob, it's quite dry in the palate and reasonably high-toned, linear in its expression with a malolactic influence (perhaps) and an earthy, savoury, long but overly acidic finish. Chilling did this wine no favours. 13.7% alc. $32.99. 29Apr2009.

Te Awa Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (c) A big rich fat style of Chardonnay. Plenty of oak, bright fruit, a touch of lemon verbena balm and lots of oak spice. Becomes quite buttery, with citrus keeping the fat in check and a long, rich, savoury undercurrent on the lasting finish. Pineapple, melon, … A sign of a good wine is that after two tasting samples you actually want to have another glass. 18.5/20. 14.5 alc. $30.00. 21May2010.

Te Mania Nelson Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Hints of pineapple with a waft of sherbetty citrus zest and nougat on the nose, this has a slightly viscous texture - high alcohol perhaps - but that also makes it a textural wine with melon, citrus and sweet, nutty, mealy flavour and malolactic, perhaps, adding a creamy richness. There's a mandarin-like citrus brightness to the lingering savoury finish. A lovely clean Chardonnay showing freshness and drinkability. ****. 14% alc. 5Sep2008.

Te Mania Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2007 (D) Golden colour. Perfumed, rich, sweet-oaked scent with hints of caramel and an creamy, nutty, caramel-rich palate. A big fat, sweetish, full-bodied style, perhaps propped up by some residual sugar with a sweet lingering aftertaste where hints of citrus appear. This wine gets more and more buttery with time. 14% alc. $27.95. 5Apr2009.

Te Mata Elston Chardonnay 2007 - Hawkes Bay (D) The classiness of this bright, light gold-coloured wine shows from the outset with hints of butterscotch joining nectarine, peach and classy French oak on the nose, with a blossomy fragrance and lemon brioche. Heady and rich but youthful in the palate, this baby really needs more time before taking to a dinner party, but the class and finesse is so obvious already. It's full-bodied and warmly textured with citrus, stonefruit, apricot, sweet oak and mealy flavours, with toasty spice filling the ripe fruit finish where delicious stonefruit lingers deliciously. Decant for best drinking right now. 14% alc. $34.99. 12Mar2008.
Light yellow gold. A more of a nutty savoury smoky style but still with hints of peaches and cream to the scent that carries through to the complex and interesting palate. It's quite dry and has a touch of a salty tang. Hints of citrus and pineapple join the toasty oak with nougat-like complexities to the delicious stonefruit finish. When we tasted this 17 months ago it really needed more time; now it has evolved beautifully but will withstand more cellaring. 14% alc. $31.99. 19Aug2009.
Rich and toasty, it smells like Chardonnay and we instantly love it. Seemingly a bigger, richer, stronger wine with similar flavours to the 2009, but amplified intensely. With slightly higher acidity, the wine has zip and zing and some underling flinty characters come through too. Holding together nicely, there's no hurry to drink this if you have it in your cellar, other than the sheer enjoyment. 14% alc. $N/A. 9Mar2011.

Terravin Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) The nose of this light yellow gold coloured wine is malty and mealy with sweet toasty oak and hints of stonefruit. It prepares you for a big, rich number but the first taste is surprisingly acid driven and lemon citrussy becoming quite savoury and smoky as it evolves. It reveals its juicy disposition with tropical fruit coming to the fore on the toasty finish and a rich, almost voluptuous, creamy aftertaste with a hint of caramel too. 14% alc. $34.99. 15Apr2009.

Thornbury Gisborne Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A big bright rich toasty style served slightly chilled, which accentuates the butterscotch aromas and flavours. It is long and creamy and full of ripe peach and melon fruit with butterscotch richness and a spicy depth. Lots of appeal. 14% alc. $13.99. 16Apr2008.
Appealing and flavoursome with a light yellow gold colour, toasty, toffee-oak aromas and a bright, creamy, rounded, sweet-oaked palate with peaches, cream and a touch of pineapple on the butterscotch finish. Utterly approachable, fantastically priced and can take serious chilling too. 14% alc. $13.99. 15Oct2008.
Light yellow gold. Smoky oak and hints of grapefruit on the nose and warm, rich, spicy flavours accentuated by the creamy oak with a mandarin zest brightness and a delicious smoky savoury undercurrent. Rounded and mouthfillingly with a caramel cream finish, and there are some fig, nougat and dried fruit characters too. Unbelievable quality for the price, a brilliant buy. 14% alc. $13.99. 2Dec2009.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A full-bodied wine with lots of nutty, mealy, leesy flavours joining spicy oak, fig and nougat with a hint of grapefruit. It's creamy and harmonious with great mouthfeel, a beautifully balanced depth of stonefruit and smoky French oak on the long savoury finish. 14% alc. $27.99. 30Sep2009.
Hints of grapefruit on the nose combine with mealy barrel-fermented scents then in the mouth it's nutty and savoury with nectarine, melon, figs and spice. With lovely fullness and richness to the finish, this dry-styled smooth-textured, golden-coloured Chardonnay really shows its class. 14% alc. $27.99 10Nov2010.

Tohu Gisborne Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Straw gold. Fresh aromas of citrus and tropical fruit with an estery floral bubblegum nuance and a light touch of oak lead into a juicy fruit palate with a nutty finish. It’s quite dry, oak slowly develops into the flavour, it doesn’t want to be over chilled and is crying out for a seafood accompaniment. 13.5% alc. $18.99. 29Apr2009.

TW Growers Selection Gisborne Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Bright yellow with creamed nut, spicy oak and grilled peach aromas - this is nougat style -creamy, nutty and fruity with underlying caramel and citrussy zest. Very smooth, harmonious, juicy and simply delicious with an aura of class and sophistication. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 8Jul2009.
The light gold coloured wine is Chardonnay, but not as we know it judging by the number of people who opted for 'something else'. Quite dry with high-toned apple flavours and underlying confectionery sweetness and some nuances of herbal tea. Quite cool in temperature when served, it really doesn't want too much chilling because as it warms up a malty richness emerges and caramel tones too. 13.5% alc. $30.99. 23Jun2010.

Twin Islands Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A very pale citrine gold, the fruit aromas hint of light oak and the bright fruit flavours seem to confirm this. It's clean, fresh and bright with youthful, bubble gum esters, citrus and tropical fruit including dried mango and pineapple. It makes me think 'yellow fruit' and that fruit is fantastically concentrated while a mealy richness adds concentration and completeness to the finish.13.5% alc. $18. 7Feb2008.
Bright light gold with sweet-fruited aromas studded with peach and oatmeal. Fresh and young yet already creamy with bright flavours of apricot and tropical fruit supported by spicy oak, zesty acidity and a rounded finish. 13.5% alc. $15.99. 30Apr2008.

Vidal Estate Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light yellow gold. Grapefruit and dried fig with very subtle spicy oak on the nose that carries through to the palate that is characterised by toasty, mealy, Champagne-like yeasty notes with dried fruits, citrus and spicy French oak. Fattens up beautifully with a nougat-like complexity to the full, lingering finish. Very dry, very long, very persistent and full of finesse. 14% alc. $30.99. 29Apr2009.

Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Gisborne Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light yellow gold. Perfumed aromas of sweet toasty oak with a delicate butterscotch overlay leap out of the glass and prepare for the full, fleshy, bold flavoured palate. There's stonefruit and hints of pineapple with lots of citrus that imparts a slight spritz to the texture when served chilled. Classy from the outset, even more so as it warms up in the glass and the full, mealy, nutty flavours come through. Excellent length too. 14% alc. $33.99. 10Jun2009.
Light yellow gold in colour, this is a spicy, nutty, leesy style with plenty of citrus, zest and spice that's accentuated by light chilling. There's sweet toasty oak and a juicy tropical fruit explosion as the wine warms up with hints of butterscotch/ caramel emerging add adding to the overall appeal on the long lasting finish. 14% alc. $37.99. 2Sep2009.
This big, rich savoury wine is light gold in colour with smoky aromas and grilled peach and savoury oak flavours underpinned by a malty, mealy richness and beautifully balanced acidity while tropical fruit and stone fruit brim through the lasting aftertaste. Full-bodied, seamless, spicy and powerful - you could apply the iron fist in velvet glove analogy quite easily.14% alc. $29.99. 2Dec2009.
Golden coloured with a lovely, rich, creamy, butterscotch-infused, grilled peach aroma and flavours of stonefruit, fig and nuts with plenty of citrus (possibly accented by the chilling), yet still impeccably balanced with a malty savoury undercurrent and a lasting finish that tingles with oak spice. 14% alc. $31.99 17Nov2010.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Light lemon gold with a radiant lustre. Delicate perfume of lightly toasted macadamia and brioche carries through to the perfectly balanced palate. It has a luscious mouthfeel with a silky texture and although the wine is rich, it has a light, gliding, delicate touch. Spicy, lightly creamy, nutty, leesy and slightly citrussy with a hint of anise - like a gentle kiss of tarragon. Ripe yet savoury, the flavours expand over the fine acid backbone and show their refinement on the lasting finish. 18.5/20. 14% alc. 7Dec2008.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) There’s rich toasty oak on the perfumed nose and ripe juicy flavours in the palate with a gorgeous caramel crème infusion. Dry and savoury with spicy oak and a smoky overlay to the beautiful fig and stonefruit flavours, the perfectly balanced acidity adds a bright zesty lift to the long, full finish. Maraekakaho subregion. 14% alc. $38.99.14Jan2009.
Light medium gold. Rich, savoury, smoky aromas with just a little wild yeast wheaty funk adding to the olfactory allure and a delectably creamy spicy oak palate with hints of grapefruit, a concentrated stonefruit fleshiness and a long savoury finish with a butterscotch overlay. Proudly states its HawkesBay heritage - a beautiful wine - powerful, mouthfilling, long. 14% alc. $38.99. 29Apr2009.
Light yellow gold in colour, this full-bodied, rich, rounded style is nutty and savoury with grilled stonefruit, fig and hints of nougat. Spicy oak on the nose has a hint of butterscotch and there's a gorgeous, smooth, creamy texture with warmth to the finish. A beautiful wine that everyone loved. 14% alc. $30.99. 28Oct2009.
Light gold in colour, this Chardonnay is obvious from outset with savoury aromas and flavours of toasty oak, stonefruit, citrus and zesty spices with moderate acidity and a creamy finish. A gorgeous wine. 14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99. 7Jul2010.
Straw gold coloured with a ripe stonefruit infusion to the mealy, leesy aroma that suggests lots of classy barrel work. There's a lovely mellow feel to this beautiful creamy wine with toasty nutty flavours, spicy oak, peach, melon and hints of grapefruit, and a malty finish. It's really quite superb right now. 14% alc. $29.99. 13Oct2010.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylor's Pass Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A bright lemon yellow hue – still light for its six years of age. Roasted hazelnut on the nose and creamy and malty in the palate with a spicy richness and a baked Golden Queen peach. Warm and round with a seamless flow. Still incredibly fresh for its age – this so apparent on the zesty finish – and the lingering taste is long and dry. 13.5% alc. $37. 23Jun2013.

West Brook Barrique Fermented Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A rich, ripe, creamy style with a bright gold colour, smoky, toasty, mealy lemon aromas and mouthfilling flavours crammed with melon and stonefruit with toasty spicy oak and citrus. Reasonably full-bodied in style with a touch of butterscotch on the finish this is an approachable style for 5 o'clock drinks or for dinner. 13.8% alc. $15.99. 29Jul2009.
Medium gold with a lustrous glow. Toasty oak on the nose and loats of oak flavours with melon and peach and a zing of citrus on the finish. If you love toast and love spicy oak, you'll love this wine made from a blend of Marlborough (68%) and Waimauku (32%) fruit. 13.8% alc. $15.99, 2Sep2009.
Made from 68% Marlborough and 32% Waimauku fruit from West Brook's home vineyard, this resonates with toasty oak and layers of smooth creamy mouthfilling flavours. Tropical fruit, stone fruit and melon abounds with a bright zesty zing of citrus and the finish is deliciously juicy and long. 13.8% alc. $15.99. 23Sep2009.

West Brook Blue Ridge Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (sc) Moderate gold. Lovely mealy barrel-ferment scents - nuts, fig and a hint of lemon - savoury in nature - savoury French oak and a harmonious silky texture. Fruit brims from behind the toasty oak to leave a lasting impression of nuts, figs, melon and peach. Ripe and rounded with a mealy complexity. Delicious. 13.8% alc. $21.99. 16Sep2009.
Moderate gold. Quite smoky with a tangy note to the savoury oak scent, that savoury theme carrying through to the palate where a touch of citrus joins nougat, nut and fig with a toasty finish and great persistence of ripe-fruited deliciousness. 13.8% alc. $19.99. 2Dec2009.
Light gold. Spicy oak harmonises with stonefruit and citrus on the nose, those tempting characters carrying through to the palate with the fruit flavours under pinned by a leesy, lemony backbone and a long, smooth, rounded finish. As good as we remember. 13.8% alc. $19.99. 20Jan2010.
A ripe, juicy wine with a citrine gold colour, an appealing barrel ferment aroma and lots of rounded caramel flavours with tropical fruit, hints of grapefruit, a flinty undercurrent and a smooth luscious finish that lasts and lasts. Still incredibly good. 13.8% alc. $20.99. 4Aug2010.

West Brook Ivicevich Waimauku Chardonnay 2007 (sc)Brilliant yellow gold in the glass, this lustrous wine has a complex savoury bouquet with mealy, barrel- ferment notes to the fore. Creamy and toasty with a lovely tang of orange / grapefruit acidity over a savoury roasted nut backbone and nutmeg-like spice, it is smooth and seamless in its flow with richness and, power and length. The mealy barrel ferment flavours are divine on the font and mid palate then crème brulee and grilled apricot comes forth on the long lifted finish where sizzled butter (nut brown butter) notes linger. This exceptional wine further endorses the quality and age-worthiness of Chardonnay produced in the Auckland region. This was matched to leftover lamb casserole; the lamb cooked with fronds of fennel and dried kaffir lime leaf, which gave a wonderful aromatic aura to the stew – and this chardonnay was so much better than the merlot we had accompanied the casserole with the night before. 13.5% alc. $38. 9Jun2014.

Wild Rock Pania Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A little more perfumed with creamed nut and nougat on the nose and more malo-driven and nutty in the palate. Quite lifted with noticeable alcohol warmth, citrus, white peach and savoury spicy oak kicking in on the tropical fruit finish, it seems quite restrained at first although the finish is full, long and lasting. Don't overchill. 14% alc. $16.99. 28Jan2009.
Light gold coloured with juicy citrus scents backed up by savoury oak and lots of toasty oak in the palate with ripe peach and tropical fruit. A well-rounded crowd pleaser, creamy in texture and long in flavour with a savoury, spicy finish. 14% alc. $18.99/$16.99. 25Mar2009.

Wishart Hawkes Bay Te Puriri Unoaked Chardonnay 2007 (sc) A little 'soapy' on the nose - palmolive perhaps. Smooth and lightly oily in the palate with lime and subtle stonefruit and some savoury herb nuances, it is quite dry with a leesy mealy richness and a fresh peach finish. 2.5 stars. 12.5% alc. $18.50. 25Apr2009.

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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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