edited by Sue Courtney
Wine Reviews - Chardonnay
Wine Reviews - Chardonnay
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.
[2010 and younger]          [1999 and older] [index]
Awa Valley Single Vineyard Kumeu Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Lemony gold coloured with a creamy, wild yeast influenced bouquet that smells tantalising and inviting. Quite Chardonnay-like in the palate with plenty of winemaking influence, malolactic creaminess grilled peach, citrus, smoky oak and a spicy, savoury end. Still quite youthful and will continue to drink well for some time. Smart wine at a smart price. 12.5% alc. $16.00. 16Dec2011.
Astrolabe Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light gold with a smoky, nutty, savoury scent and a creamy savoury flavour with grapefruit, oatmeal nuances, hints of apricot, a tickle of spice and a long fruit-sweet finish, the oak sit harmoniously in the background without intruding and there's an intriguing salty tang. 13.5% alc. $22.99. 21Dec2011.
Bascand Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Yellow gold with a rich, buttery, toasty aroma infused with stonefruit and nutty oak followed in the palate by rich mealy characters with funky, savoury nuances from partial wild ferment. A very enjoyable wine with juicy stonefruit and citrus, a touch of caramel, terrific mouthfeel, expansive finish and takes chilling well. 13.5% alc. $10.99. 15Feb2012.
Black Estate Waipara Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A caramel cream Chardonnay, and a delicious contrast to the lightly oaked styles that seem to be popular with some winemakers these days. Light yellow gold colour. Smoky vanillin oak and tropical fruit aromas and ripe peach and caramel cream flavours with a spicy savoury undercurrent, loads of delicious mealy, nutty richness and a bit of a citrus zing. Well-balanced, seamless very drinkable, sure to appeal to lovers of the ripe, creamy styles. 14% alc. $30. 20Jul2010.
Boundary Vineyards Tuki Tuki Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Now this has to be Chardonnay. It's toasty and rich, full-bodied and creamy with a little oak brashness, stonefruit, a tingle of grapefruit and caramel cream coating the finish. 14% alc. $17.99. 6Jul2011.
Brightwater Lord Rutherford Barrique Nelson Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light gold with citrus notes to the mellow smoky bouquet that follow through to the tangy palate to be joined by peach and preserved ginger in syrup notes. So different to the previous wine, it's flinty, youthful and vibrant, with fine French oak, a long, creamy finish and a classic Burgundian-like elegance. Royal Easter Show Champion Chardonnay, Champion Wine of Show. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 21Mar2012.
Brunton Road Gisborne Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A nutty, savoury Chardonnay that takes chilling well, it has a rich mealy bouquet and tastes a little spicy with mellow oak a touch of stonefruit and softness from the 100% malolactic fermentation Medium-bodied in style with brightness to the finish. 13.6% alc. $19.99. 8Aug2012.
Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light gold in colour, this is much more Burgundian in style. On the nose there's smoky French oak with a sweet seam of nougat and citrus and nougats fill the creamy, nutty palate with integrated French oak, hints of stonefruit and a zesty infusion to the long creamy finish. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 29Sep2010.
Church Road Cuve Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) This bright gold coloured wine is a creamy smelling, malolactic style with savoury oak and a touch of peach infused into the bouquet. A rich, full, mouth-filling wine with a dry flinty backbone and a citrus nuance to balance the powerful stonefruit flavours, and smoky oak that adds an element of sophistication and leaves behind a lingering smile. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 23Mar2011.
Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light golden yellow with a tantalising toasty, smoky, savoury bouquet and smooth, creamy, spicy, savoury and deeply malty flavours with apricot and nectarine fruit and butter caramel surging on the finish. With classy oak, malolactic, wild yeast nuances and finesse to the texture, the 'house style' of this premium Hawkes Bay label comes through. A gold medal contender for sure. I rate it 5 stars. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 26Jan2011.
Church Road Tom Chardonnay 2009 - Hawkes Bay (C) Citrine gold in hue with classy mealy-infused savoury oak scents. Tight and restrained to start, it's dry, flinty and savoury with a lactic character from secondary malolactic fermentation. But this wine shows what it has to offer, compounding in flavour and the taste expanding in the mouth with nougat, nuts, apricot, a creamy sweetness and richness of fruit. A very young wine - it doesn't have the bottle age that the 2006 had on release, so it's a wine for the cellar right now. Yet the flavours that linger on the lasting finish is a key indicator that this could become one of the greats. 13.5% alc. $65.99. 23Mar2011.
Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) This is a glorious, finely polished, smooth-textured Chardonnay that's powerful in stature. Grapefruit, nuts and subtle smoke on the nose, the grapefruit more dominant in the palate with peach, malt and crème brulee. Moderate chilling becomes this spicy mouthful and as it starts to warm up, nectarines come through too. 14.5% alc. $32.99. 19Jan2011.
Coopers Creek Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A lovely savoury Chardonnay with toasty French oak and a malty richness with a zesty citrus infusion and a tropical fruit layer adding juiciness to the spicy finish. A sophisticated, serious wine. 14% alc. $22.99. 15Sep2010.
Coopers Creek Swamp Reserve Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A textural wine with aromas of stonefruit with a hint of pineapple, and a lovely fruit profile in the palate to balance the savouriness, with hints of nuts and lanolin, finishing focussed and tight. 14% alc. $26.99 27Apr2011.
Corazon SV Kumeu Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light citrine gold. Nutty mealy aromas. A rich and semingly quite 'fat', buttery wine at first, becoming more eleagant as the delightful citrus, melon and tropical fruit flavours cut through. Full-bodied in style with a long nutty finish and a mealy richness. 12.8 % alc. $22.50. 1Jul2010.
Corbans Cottage Block Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Citrine gold coloured. The bouquet offers grapefruit, baked yellow fruit, nuts and an intriguingly funky, gun smoke nuance too. While quite dry, lean and flinty to start this wine evolves beautifully in the palate to reveal nuts, stonefruit and melons layered with toasty oak and savoury characters with underlying acidity adding freshness. The fruit is ripe and sweet but the wine is most definitely dry. A big glass is needed to let this wine open up and to let the complexity sing. Cuisine Top 10 tasting. 13% alc. $36.99. 18Apr2012.
Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (D) The bouquet is of refined nutty oak with a smoky allure and characteristic citrus zest. Mealy and leesy with clean, pure fruit in the melon and citrus spectrum and subtle funky wild yeast nuances coming through. Tightly locked up with fine acidity the key, it suggests long term cellaring potential. 14% alc. $32.95. 24Oct2011.
Estuary Kingsview Estate Mangawhai Chardonnay 2009 (sc) This light gold coloured wine is seriously rich, toasty, creamy and spicy with fruits that pulse with melon and pineapple, a citrussy backbone with a long juicy finish. The wine is made by Rod McIvor at Marsden Estate. 12.5% alc. Screwcap. $25.99. 26Aug2010.
Felton Road Bannockburn Central Otago Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light yellow gold in colour with peach and mealy nuances to the perfumed aroma and bright fruit flavours well defined underlying acidity, spicy oak and a zesty finish. Full-bodied and smooth and delicious already. 14.5% alc. $36.99. 23Jun2010.
Felton Road Block 2 Central Otago Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light lemon gold-coloured with a lemon brioche aroma that carries through to the savoury, malty palate. Texturally sublime – smooth, silky, mouthcoating – and while not overly fruity it has intensity and richness in the best possible way. Made from Felton Road's oldest Chardonnay vines. 14% alc. $51.99. 6Apr2011.
Felton Road Elms Central Otago Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Unoaked, although the label doesn't say so, this has nut, citrus and grilled peach scents that lead into a distinctly citrussy palate with a creamy texture and a malty richness. A perceived toasty savouriness that must come from aging on yeast lees definitely adds a classy dimension. Medium chilling is best. 14% alc. $30.99. 16Feb2011.
Forrest Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Medium gold in colour with a touch of butterscotch infusing the mealy, barrel ferment scent. Initially quite savoury tasting with a mellow oak presence, it's full bodied and spicy with a smooth creamy texture, a fresh, citrussy undercurrent and the savouriness persisting on the long lasting finish. 13.5% alc. $17.99. 9Jan2013.
Goldridge Estate Gisborne Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Restrained on the nose, this is a flinty style with an underlying lactic influence, hints of pineapple and grapefruit zest on the nutty finish. It seems quite hard work on its own and the grapefruit is bitter but the lingering aftertaste is more like mandarin. 13% alc. $15.95. 21May2010.
Goldridge Estate Premium Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light yellow gold coloured with a spicy, perfumed, almost floral woody aroma and broad mealy flavours of butter and malolactic characters - a smooth, soft, easy drinking wine with enough spicy oak to make it interesting, juicy stonefruit and a creamed nut finish. 13.5% alc. $13.99. 11Aug2010.
Greywacke Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) This is light yellow gold in hue and smells tantalising bright and rich with sweet oak and hints of grapefruit. A lovely expressive wine when just lightly chilled with flavours of smoky French oak, malt, honeyed wheat, stonefruit, melon and citrus and lingering notes of butterscotch caramel. Utterly irresistible tonight. 14.5% alc. $38.99. 26Oct2011.
Hunter's Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Moderate gold coloured with citrus and tropical fruit to the fore, a zesty freshness with a savoury oak undercurrent and lovely nuances of peaches and caramel cream. This can take chilling without the acidity becoming too edgy. Drinking well now. Perfect for 5 o'clock drinks. 14.5% alc. $16.99. 5Oct2011.
Julicher Martinborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Concentrated, rich, mealy and nutty on the nose but in contrast it tastes ripe and sweet. A toasty chardonnay with a biscuity richness, peaches and cream, and a buttery coating to the finish 14.5% alc. $19.00. 25Jul2011.
Karikari Estate Northland Chardonnay 2009 (sc) This is a chardonnay that quickly hits the spot. It's smooth and creamy with toasty polished French oak and baked peach pie. There's a touch of citrus that keeps the rich fruit in balance and a fine coating of nut-brown butter. A lovely fat buttery style that you don't see so often these days. Fermented in stainless steel and oak with innoculated & wild yeasts. "A real treat", my sister says. I agree. 13.3% alc. $32.50. 11Mar2011.
Lake Chalice The Raptor Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) With grapefruit and mealy barrel ferment scents, this light to medium gold coloured wine smells classy, sophisticated and smooth. The texture is creamy and buttery and the fruit is delicately peachy with a lovely lemon infusion. Now this is a Chardy that takes chilling well and with a bit of chilling, it's ready to enjoy now, yet will integrate nicely with a couple more years cellaring. Matt Thompson is listed as the winemaker. 14% alc. $24.99. 23Mar2011.
Lawson's Dry Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A lovely bold mouthfilling wine with hints of grapefruit on the nose and toasty oak, butter caramel and roasted hazelnuts in the palate together with tropical fruit and citrus. So smooth and harmonious with a burst of sweet oak / oak spice, it's dry and rich but not overpowering with grapefruit adding freshness to the finish. 14.5% alc. $22.99. 24Apr2013.
Lochiel Estate Mangawhai Chardonnay 2009 (sc)This lovely rich, ripe, toasty, caramel cream Chardonnay tempts with its butterscotch aroma and really hits the spot with its stonefruit and buttery characters with a rich backbone of nutty savoury oak and roundness to the powerful finish. 14.5% alc. $24.99. 10Nov2010.
Mahi Twin Valleys Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A delicious, smooth , creamy Chardonnay, it has a nutty, bready bouquet and tastes creamy, mealy, nutty and savoury with wild yeast sweetness and a zing of citrus freshness. Seamless in its delivery, there's a touch of apricot / stonefruit fleshiness as it lingers and grapefruit barrel ferment character too. An exciting wine. Loved it on the night. I wrote 'unbelievably exquisite'. Nice match with chicken, leek and potato deep dish pie. Clone 95 Chardonnay, 100% wild ferment in French oak barrels. 14% alc. $34/95. 4May2013.
Mahurangi River Winery Field of Grace Chardonnay 2009 (c) Light glossy gold with a tantalising aroma reminiscent of freshly baked meringue pie – all pasty, citrus and cream. Full-bodied, mealy, sweet-fruited and savoury with a touch of citrus and a tropical fruit brightness – a soupcon of pineapple adds to the allure. Creamy and mouthfilling with oak harmonious in the background. Wonderful food wine and top choice with pan-sizzled pork cutlet accompanied with creamy potato and leek casserole. 13.6% alc. $39. 12May2013.
Man O' War Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Rich yellow gold. A little reduced on the nose - it's steely with hints of grapefruit enriched with a hint of caramel. Grapefruit, mandarin and green melon fruit dominate the palate tempered by the softness of ripe fleshy peach. Long savoury, lees-influenced finish with well integrated oak and very appealing richness and length. 14% alc. $25.00. 24Feb2012.
Margrain Martinborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A lovely rich, creamy, full-boded Chardonnay packed with flavours of grilled Golden Queens with just the perfect amount of butter and caramel. Not overpowering, just seamlessly there. 14% alc. $28.00. 19Mar2013.
Marisco The Kings Bastard Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 Woodsmoke on the nose and citrus, apricot and loads of toasty spicy oak in the palate. Quite smooth and seamless - it just flows - and the finish is long and mealy. 14.5% alc. Screwcap. $18.99. 1Sep2010.
Matua Valley Ararimu Gisborne Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A subtle hint of cream to the scent and quite mellow and buttery to the taste with an underlying flinty nuance to the citrus and tropical fruit and an expansive, mouthfilling finish where caramel and apricot linger. From the Judd Estate, this once iconic label is really back to form, following on from the gold medal winning 2007. 13.5% alc. $39.99. 9Feb2011.
Matua Valley Judd Estate Gisborne Chardonnay 2009 (sc) From a little closer to home, this is a medium-bodied, savoury-styled Chardonnay with melon, tropical fruit, citrus, nicely seasoned oak and spiciness to the lingering finish. From the same estate as the Ararimu we tried a few weeks ago but rather more affordable. 13.5% alc. $20.99. 16Mar2011.
Matua Valley Single Vineyard Dartmoor Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A lithe lissom Chardonnay with beautifully integrated toasty oak and harmonious flavours of nuts, figs, peach and oatmeal. A classy wine that's seamless and long.. 13.5% alc. $49.90. 13Apr2012.
Mills Reef Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Moderate gold. Quite youthful smelling though has richness and hints of sweetness too. Lightly oaked with tropical fruit and stonefruit flavours, a hint of a savoury spicy backbone and a fruity finish. 13.5% alc. $18.95. 12Jul2010.
Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) This is a hugely fragrant wine with crushed almonds, smoke, vanilla and a hint of cream. That distinctive nuttiness continues through to the big, juicy palate with caramel-edged oak and 'juicy fruit' chewing gum freshness. Youthful and bright with a long rounded finish. A 'stand-up options' wine. 14% alc. $19.99. 2Jun2010.
Mission Estate Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light lemon gold with creamy oak and butterscotch aromas, this is smooth and seamless in the palate with a suggestion of spiced peaches and cream and a toasty richness to the juicy finish. Very smart. 14% alc. $19.99. 26Jan2011.
Mission Estate Vineyard Selection Middle Road Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Clear, bright, citrine-coloured with a cream caramel and biscuity oak scent and a smooth, creamy texture. There's a savoury nuance with a spicy citrus zest tingle, a touch of salinity, grilled stonefruit and butterscotch on the powerful finish. Delivers quality way above its value. 13.5% alc. $13.99. 3Nov2010.
Moana Park Vineyard Selection Grange Block Chardonnay 2009 - Hawkes Bay (sc) There is a freshness to the cedary oak scent of this light gold coloured toasty babe. A fruity wine with oak playing a minor background role, it has a smooth creamy texture and a long fresh finish with malolactic during the winemaking process adding a modicum of butteriness. 13.5% alc. $14.99. 28Apr2010.
Momo Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A very appealing, perfumed, mealy barrel ferment scent - nutty with a hint of citrus. Apricot, citrus, bready flavours, with a nice touch of polished spicy French oak. Lovely rounded mouth feel imparts a smoothness to the finish, which is long and brightened with zest. Organic, biodynamic. 14% alc. $20. 20Feb2011.
Morton Estate Black Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Bright golden yellow with a sweet nut-infused smoky French oak scent, upfront citrus and caramel, becoming quite mealy and savoury with an ultra long finish and lingering flavours of nectarines, peaches, shortbread biscuits and cream. Initially a little cold, but as it warms up buttery nuance come through. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 25Jul2012.
Morton Estate Private Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light yellow gold with a hazelnut bouquet, this is a rich, full-bodied, toasty number with a seamless flow, a lovely cashew nut sweetness and tropical fruit perfectly supported by the vanillin oak backbone. Lots of flavour, great drinking on the night and universally preferred to the Macon. 14% alc. $14.99. 6Jun2012.
Mountford Estate Waipara Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light yellow gold. Rich, ripe and creamy on the nose with butter toffee and dry, sappy, cedary oak. It tastes like a full, rich Burgundian style with masses of malo and sweet mealy notes, hints of melon and a long, dry, spicy oak finish and while it has an aura of maturity there is still has plenty of acidity underpinning the bold toasty winemaking derived flavours. Best served in a magnificent Montrachet glass. 14.5% alc. $54.99. 20May2015.
Mount Riley Seventeen Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Toasty oak combines with citrus, melon and tropical fruit in this much drier style with spicy savoury oak and a nutty complexity to the very long finish. Still quite young and zingy. 13.5% alc. $31.99. 21Jul2010.
Muddy Water Waipara Chardonnay 2009 (sc) There's an intrgiuing funkines to the scent that smells of wild yeast. Mealy aromas are followed by citrus and honey oak flavours with a savoury mealy backbone and touches of peach. Ripe and rich when tasted at cool room temperature but when it's chilled it’s polished and malty and lots of oak flavours come forth. Wild yeast ferment in oak with 11 months on lees. 14.5% alc. $32. 24Feb2011.
Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Quite high-toned in comparison to the previous wines, an indicator of its more southerly origin, it's juicy and fruity with a lovely nutty, mealy, savoury undercurrent. Smooth and seamless in its delivery, it's very classy with hints of mandarin zest and fig adding finesse. 14% alc. $30.99. 27Apr2011.
Ngatarawa Silks Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light gold coloured with a sizzled butter and grilled peach aroma, it tastes abundantly fruity with exotic tropical fruits like cherimoya and pawpaw. Medium bodied with lovely harmony of oak and fruit, drinking beautifully on the night, juicy fruit is the hero, yet there's a well-balanced savoury backbone. Very good indeed. 13% alc. $14.99. 18Jan2012.
Omata Estate Russell Chardonnay 2009 (sc) There's a rubber band nuance to the scent and in the palate it seem one-dimensional, slight oxidative and appley, but it opens up with swirling and time in the glass and the lingering aftertaste offers up tropical fruit and cherimoya. 13.5% alc. $28.00. 1Nov2011.
Palliser Martinborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light yellow gold but with richness to the hue. The fairly shy nose exhibits clean tropical fruit with a delicate touch of refined creamy oak. A big rich wine in the palate, a fat, creamy wine with lots of malty, savoury, leesy nuances, spicy oak and a nice touch of freshness on the finish that keeps it in balance. 14% alc. $30.00. 24Feb2012.
Pask Gimblett Road Chardonnay 2009 (sc) There's an intriguing smoky character in this wine and it tastes dry and nutty with a firm savoury undercurrent. At four years on from vintage still lovely freshness to the fruit which is in the melon and citrus spectrum. But there's also a mellow butter layer that adds to the enjoyment, with honey and lemons lingering on the creamy finish. 13% alc. $19.99. 19Apr2013.
Pencarrow Martinborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Lots of toasty oak, a little brash at this stage with an oily texture, stonefruit, a tighter acid finish and god length and persistence. 13.5% alc. $16. 23Feb2010.
Quail's Run Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A lovely smooth, ripe, creamy wine with a fragrant nutty bouquet, and rich ripe, juicy flavours - there's cashews, oatmeal, peaches, a touch of citrus, and a spicy, toasty finish. A super starter wine with a silky, seamless flow - just perfect for 5 o'clock drinks. 13.5% alc. $12.99. 16May2012.
River Farm Godfrey Road Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Moderate gold in hue with a sweet malty oak aroma with a honey nut overlay. Slippery textured (glycerolic) with nutty oak, malt and citrus, it's not super toasty but pleasingly soft and creamy with a zesty flourish to the lingering finish. 14% alc. $19.99. 26Oct2011.
Riverby Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Plenty of toasty oak flavours balance the distinctive mandarin-like fruit that infuses through the palate, giving lift and brightness to the mealy savouriness and finishing with a tropical fruit flourish. Very tasty, compounding in the palate, with well-balanced oak and fruit. A lovely, zingy, fresh barrel ferment style with a nougat-like richness to the finish. Delicious. I could enjoy drinking this 13.5% alc. $25.00. 28Jun2011.
Sacred Hill Halo Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light gold coloured with a smoky, savoury, mealy scent. Malolactic milky creaminess is the dominant feature of this more elegant, restrained style with fruit more in the pip fruit (apple/pear) spectrum and a dry, savoury finish. Served chilled, some people described this as one dimensional, so do not over chill. 13% alc. $18.99. 23Mar2011.
Sacred Hill Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light gold, clear and bright. A little toffeeish on the nose with scents of caramel glazed peaches and smoky oak. The buttery caramel flavours are more prominent in the palate, coating the mouth with juicy ripe peach and a touch of tangy citrus zest to balance the perceived sweetness. Well integrated spicy oak plays a supporting role in the background. 13% alc. $20.90. 9Jan2010.
Sacred Hill Rifleman's Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) There's a sophisticated, classy maturity to this medium gold hued wine. Stonefruit and restrained nutty oak on the nose then in the palate melon and stonefruit is in harmony to the spicy oak backbone with lovely nutty mealy layers and brightness to the juicy finish without being overpowering. Drinking beautifully now with lovely mouthfeel and presence but will continue to develop for a little while yet. 14% alc. $64.99. 12Mar2014.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Pale yellow gold. Delicate but beautifully creamy pineapple chiffon and stonefruit scent. A fat rich style of Chardonnay with sizzled butter, nuts, dried figs and savoury oak with a zing of citrus zest on the finish. When the citrus cuts through the fat, the smooth creamy aftertaste is divine. 14.5% alc. $30.50 24Feb2012.
Saint Clair Premium Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Brimming with tropical fruit – even a hint of pineapple, it's fresh and juicy with a touch of spice, underlying mealy flavours, an underpinning of citrus and a creamy finish that becomes richer and richer. A sunshine wine – it's very rounded, every easy-going and very easy to drink. 13 % alc. $20.95. 20Nov2010.
Seifried Barrique Fermented Chardonnay Nelson 2009 (sc) A big savoury wine brimming with lemon and grapefruit, classy French oak and lovely baked bread complexities. Savoury and malty with citrus and stonefruit, this is developing beautifully and will become more and more toasty with a little more time. There are shades of the stunning 2006 in this wine. 14% alc. $22.99. 3Nov2010.
Seresin Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Lovely sweet, mealy, almost caramel scent with caramel corn and smoky French oak that is quite pronounced in the palate. Nutty and savoury with a silky smooth texture, a most subtle suggestion of pineapple and a butter caramel finish. Once you get past that first mouthful of oak, this seduces all the way through. With a touch of chilling, the funky wild ferment characters come through. 13.5% alc. $30.00. 8Feb2013.
Seresin Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) This is more my style and it's much more Burgundian too. A rich powerful golden Chardonnay with lovely balance and harmony. Funky wild yeast and savoury smoky French oak aromas carry through to the full-bodied palate with melon, nectarine, lemon oil, allspice and nutmeg. The oak is integrating beautifully and there's a touch of caramel to the finish. Class all the way through and quite delicious. Outstanding. 13.5% alc. $40.99. 25Jan2012.
Sileni Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light gold. Slightly sweetish, caramely aromas, a little like popcorn with a seam of fresh yellow fruit. Quite fruity to the taste with a creamy backbone to the nutty flavours and a fresh peach-filled finish. Clean, juicy, easy-going. Very pleasant. 12.5% alc. $18.95. 20May2010.
Sileni The Lodge Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A little smoky and savoury on the nose and smooth and creamy in the mouth with lovely grilled peach and mealy flavours, with just the right amount of toasty oak. A rich, flavoursome wine with a hint of butterscotch sweetness lingering beautifully, uplifted on the finish by a citrussy tang. 13.5% alc. $31.99. 10Aug2011.
Spinyback Nelson Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light yellow gold-coloured with a smoky aroma that's infused with butterscotch and apricot, this flavoursome Chardonnay has flavours of apricot and tropical fruit with a firm seam of citrus, a savoury leesy undercurrent and a toasty richness. Fills out well in the palate and is super value for the special price. Made by Waimea Estate. 13.8% alc. $11.99. 6Apr2011.
Spy Valley Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light gold with pineapple nuances to the mealy scent, the tropical fruit character carrying through to the creamy palate that's enhanced with a hint of passionfruit and a savoury mealy character from some aging on yeast lees. A delicious, fresh, juicy summery style for drinking. Excellent fruit weight. If I was given a glass of this I'd really enjoy it. 14 % alc. $16.90. 30Dec2009.
Spy Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A ripe, creamy chardonnay with an aroma that hints of grapefruit with lovely creamy, mealy, barrel fermentation characters and a hint of nougat that adds sweetness, Abundant flavours of juicy nectarine are underpinned by a nutty savouriness with a touch of citrus brightening the finish and the nougat in the scent coming forth on the palate to linger on the creamy, seamless finish. 14% alc. $20.30 20May2011.
Stoneleigh Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Hints of butterscotch on the nose and zesty and bright in the palate with a little graininess from the oak and a rich nutty finish with lots of citrus and melon. As the wine lingers in the mouth, the caramel detected on the nose pushes through. 14 % alc. $23.00. 20Nov2010.
Takutai Nelson Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A juicy, lightly-oaked Chardonnay with fruity aromas of stonefruit and mandarin and a touch of butterscotch sweetness to the stonefruit flavours with a mealy savoury twang, a subtle oak nuance and a sweet lift to finish. Soft and easy-going, the kind of Chardonnay to chill well and enjoy for what it is. Don't think about it. Just drink it. 13.8% alc. $13.95. 26Apr2011.
Te Awa Left Field Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Quite spicy and zesty on the nose and clean and fresh in the palate. An unoaked style with a lemony nuance to the leesy flavours and finishing dry. A good drinking wine and also excellent when accompanied with a chicken pie. 13% alc. $25. 9Jan2010.
Te Awa Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Toasty oak aromas and big toasty, cedary oak flavours are a little overwhelming at first and dominate the melon and tropical fruit and the creamy, mealy backbone. A young wine that needs to settle. 13.5% alc. $20. 21Jan2011.
Te Mania Nelson Chardonnay 2009 (sc) The bouquet is a little restrained, not wanting to give too much away. Creamy and juicy in the palate, Fruit salad and stonefruits resonate through this creamy, juicy wine. It's a nicely balanced, young, estery, easy drinking, medium-bodied style. Light chilling, at the very least, is recommended. 14% alc. $20. 21Jan2011.
Te Mania Nelson Reserve Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Full-bodied with quite powerful nutty, mealy, savoury characters to the fore, fruit (a hint of apple, a touch of lime) plays a minor role. A little different in style to the others, with mealy savoury aromas that are a little subdued; it's dry, it's sophisticated with a really long finish – and to me this is what sets it apart. 14% alc. $27.99. 25Jul2011.
Te Mata Elston Chardonnay 2009 (D) Creamy oak is quite forward on the nose and it's smooth and buttery in the palate with a funky malty influence from the native yeasts and again a touch of salinity, which comes from the work they do in barrel on the yeasts lees. Mouth-filling apricot, nectarine and Golden Queen peaches are infused with grapefruit and savouriness from the oak and yeasts. Starting to open up nicely, it has a subtle honeyed veneer. 14% alc. $29.99. 9Mar2011.
The People's Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A lovely oak driven wine but so deftly done. With grapefruit, stonefruit, butterscotch and lime, it is creamy and toasty with a seamlessness to the texture and a touch of spice on the lasting finish. 14% alc. $15.99. 15Sep2010.
Ti Point Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A mealy smelling Chardonnay, fruity yet savoury with tropical fruit, a nutty backbone and a hint of grapefruit. A dry, lightly oaked wine, 20% fermented in one year old barrels, the rest in stainless steel. 13.5% alc. $23.00. 16Jul2010.
Tohu Unoaked Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A little like fresh fruit salad on the nose, it’s decidedly fruity in the palate too, but there is well balanced fruit harmonising to the creamy backbone with a touch of toffee on the finish. Stonefruit and citrus are having a party. Fresh and clean - one for those who don’t see what all the fuss is about oak. 13% alc. $21.95. 28Jun2011.
Tolaga Bay Lightly Oaked Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Tempts with its appealing bouquet of peaches and pears and tastes light and fresh with a lightly oily texture that imparts a satin smooth mouthfeel. There's a touch of spice from the subtle oak, lots of juicy fruitiness and a touch of savouriness too and while light to start, this wine makes an impact on the palate with a richness to the finish and pleasing persistent flavours. A gorgeous peachy Chardonnay that is beaut served well chilled and enjoyed as a beverage wine, or with food. We accompanied the wine with chicken breasts served with a fresh peach sauce - a favourite at this time of year. 13% alc. $14.95. 13Feb2010.
Tolaga Bay Unoaked Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Similar in flavour profile to the lightly oaked but with more acidity that adds a bright zestiness. Warm and just a little nutty with a smooth texture, juicy tropical fruit and the zing of peach sherbet on the finish, it was good enough to receive a silver medal in the 2009 Air New Zealand Wine awards. 13% alc. $14.95. 13Feb2010.
Vavasour Awatere Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Golden in colour, custard and biscuit on the nose and fruit forward in the palate with smoky oak and lovely savoury characters. A polished, rounded wine with a sweet citrus infusion and toffee/caramel notes coming through on the finish. Smooth, long and powerful. 14.5% alc. $19.99. 3Nov2010.
Vidal Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Melon and tropical fruit aromas and fruity flavours - shows little influence of oak but has a spicy savoury richness to the finish. 14% alc. $20. 12Jul2010.
Vidal Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light gold in colour with mealy, malty, barrel ferment scents, the palate shows serious concentration and weight. Served chilled the flavours are grilled peach, citrus and, malt biscuits and well-integrated savoury oak on the finish and a flourish of zest and spice. A lovely wine and irresistibly already. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 30Mar2011.
Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Gisborne Chardonnay 2009 (sc) The bouquet offers up Mackintosh's toffees and some intriguing spicy notes too – there's surely some wild yeast influence here too. Bright and lifted in the palate, the acidity plays a starring role from start to finish with melon and a touch of tropical fruit at times wanting to take over the lead. Lovely savoury, freshly baked vanilla biscuit flavours come through too. The finish is full, fat and concentrated with a mealy deliciousness lingering. 14% alc. $29.99 27Apr2011.
Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) After the tantalising aromas of macadamia nuts and lemon bread, this wine initially seems quite lean and nutty with a creamy malolactic influence to balance the flinty acidity. Slightly grainy in texture with a salty savoury undercurrent and nuances of stonefruit and citrus, it compounds in richness becoming quite magnificent with a lasting and memorable finish. Excellent wine. 14% alc. $26.99 27Apr2011.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Auckland Chardonnay 2009 (sc) The aroma is quite nutty and in the palate there's a creamy, hazelnut, wild yeast, malolactic influence coming through. Quite elegant and nutty to start, it compounds in richness and flavour and becomes quite concentrated and creamy with spicy oak and lingering flavours of caramelised peaches. Sophisticated. Classy. Really, really nice. 14% alc. $29.99 27Apr2011.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2009 (sc) The aromas are smoky and a little funky with a hint of caramel and a suggestion of rolling in the hay. The flavours have a salty, savoury, nutty undercurrent balanced beautifully by juicy grilled stonefruits, mealy characters and classy French oak. With an uplifting brightness to the creamy finish, it's all elegance and class. 14% alc. $29.99 27Apr2011.
Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Full of tantalising buttery aromas and spicy French oak flavours, this gorgeous toasty Chardonnay has a rich mealy undercurrent and hints of citrus, peaches and cream. 14.5% alc. $16.99. 15Sep2010.
West Brook Barrique Fermented Marlborough/Auckland Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Hints of butterscotch on the nose and malty, creamy flavours with soft spicy oak, hints of citrus and melon and stonefruit and a long last finish. A blend of 66% Marlborough and 33% Waimauku fruit, fans of the 2007 triple Trophy winner take note - this is from the same delicious mould. 13.5% alc. $18.99. 2Jun2010.
Wild South Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) A mealy wine on the nose and more than a modicum of mealiness in the palate. The overall effect quite savoury with a spicy oak backbone and bottled peach adding fruit sweetness to the finish. Rounded with a touch of zest coming through on the bright long finish. 13% alc. $18.90. 21May2010.
Whitehaven Marlborough Chardonnay 2009 (sc) Light gold coloured, creamy and nutty with mouthfilling flavours of citrus, white peach, French oak, caramel and a zing to the savoury malty finish. Very appealing with its fine seamless texture and the flavours flesh out and linger. 13% alc. $17.99. 7Sep2011.