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edited by Sue Courtney

Wine Reviews - Chardonnay
2010 vintage
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 12 Dec 2017

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
[2013 & younger] [2012] [2011][2010] [2009] [2008][2007] [2006] [2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [1999 and older] [index]

2010 Vintage [top] [index]

Alchemy Dartmoor Valley Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Golden hued with an exciting wood smoke bouquet and bold toasty flavours that are full-bodied and harmonious with sizzled butter, juicy succulent peach, vibrant tropical fruit, butterscotch and caramel. Initially seems older than a 2010 but look behind the savoury oak and you'll find a zingy freshness to the lingering finish. Stylishly presented. Almost a meal in a glass. Elise Montgomery is the winemaker. 13.9% alc. $23.99. 27Mar2013.
Medium gold with a toasty butterscotch bouquet and full bodied, oaky and toasty in the palate with a slight oxidative character – this is maybe what Kingsley was referring to as 'a little grubby' – but it is intriguing nevertheless. The texture is like melted butter, almost oily in fact, with flavours of juicy ripe peach, a fresh citrussy undercurrent and a sizzled butter nuttiness on the finish. 13.9% alc. $23.99. 26Jun2013.
The aroma smells of dried earth with smoke in the distance, perhaps a hint of dried pineapple too. There's lanolin in the creamy palate, but without any distinctive put-your-finger-on-it fruit. Very dry, a little wood spice, plenty of underlying acidity, very powerful – very much a food wine. 13.9% alc. $23.99. 4Sep2013.
Citrine gold. Rich sweet toasty oak bouquet and lots of bold toasty oak flavours together with roasted nuts and ripe fleshy stonefruit filling the palate with a touch of tropical fruit and a hint of grapefruit on the spicy finish. A big Chardonnay with a smoky aftertaste. 13.9% alc. $23.99. 4Dec2013.

Ascension The Ascent Matakana Chardonnay 2010 (sc) The bouquet is quite nutty - cashews spring to mind - and the palate is filled with creamed cashew flavours with a smoky nuance coming through too. Fruit wants to be the hero but the lovely creamy flavours from the vanillin oak and the time on yeast lees are more dominant right now. A classy wine with a soft, smooth impression, a subtle spicy nutmeg-like nuance adding flare and a pleasing butterscotch nuance as the flavours linger. 100% clone 15 with 12 months in new and seasoned oak barrels. 14% alc. $39.00. 5May2011.

Ascension The Druid Matakana Chardonnay 2010 (sc) There's a hint of citrus and a nuance of sizzled butter to the nutty, creamy bouquet and it tastes bright, punchy, bold and creamy with nectarine, an underpinning of citrus and warm toffee apple / caramel flavours that expand beautifully in the mouth, leaving behind a feeling of roundness and satisfaction. Lots of immediate enjoyment here. Clone 15 & Clone 7 with 50% of the blend spending 12 months in new American oak. 14% alc. $27.00. 5May2011.

Ashwood Gisborne Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Delicately fragrant with cashew, oatmeal and citrus aromas. Juicy tropical fruit balances the taut flinty backbone with citrus, nuts and mealy barrel ferment flavours combining in harmony with beautifully integrated French oak and a long creamy finish with depth and power. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 3Oct2012.

Askerne Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) There are lovely toasty overtones to the bouquet and sweet, ripe, peach-dominant fruit in the palate with nuts, fig and nectarines. It's juicy and flamboyantly spicy with well balanced cedary oak and a long, smooth, deliciously creamy finish. 14.5% alc. $28.99. 26Sep2012.
A golden coloured wine with a tropical fruit bouquet yet mellow and buttery in the palate with peach the dominant fruit character. Very smooth, with massive oak layers, butterscotch, caramel and a warm creamy finish. A big wine for oak lovers. 14.5% alc. $28.99. 20Feb2013.

Auntsfield Single Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) There's a caramel coating to the barrel ferment scent of this light golden hued wine that has lashings of toasty oak hidden underneath the layers of grilled peach, nuts and grapefruit. Harmonious and rounded, with a mouthcoating richness and full flavoured length. 14% alc. $36.99. 21Nov2012.

Babich Individual Vineyard Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Medium yellow gold with butter nuances to the scent - definitely some diacetyl action here. Citrus is a feature of this warm fresh wine that's smooth in texture with stonefruit and melon joining tangelo-like fruit and an expansive nutty backbone. Rich, mealy, rounded and long, the acidity cuts beautifully through the fat. A delicious accompaniment to pan-fried fresh salmon. 14% alc. $25.00. 19Jan2013.

Balthazar Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Golden yellow with peaches and cream on the nose and layers of buttered toast flavours. There's peach and creamed nuts too with a butterscotch richness but also a citrus - tending towards grapefruit - freshness that cuts through the full-bodied creamy creaminess, and the finish is balanced and long. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 8May2013.
Shiny golden yellow. Toasty on the nose initially then later stonefruit and caramel. Big, rich, toasty and warming to the taste with a touch of apricot, a squeeze of citrus and a creamy caramel richness to the rounded finish. Ready now. 13.5% alc. $25.99/$19.99. 12Jun2013
There are smoky nuances to the nutty bouquet of this more citrus and nougat style. It's smooth and creamy in the palate with a bright flourish of spice and zest. Dry, long, clean and tasty with subtle stonefruit on the lingering finish. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 4Dec2013.

Black Barn Barrique Fermented Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Pale yellow gold with a bouquet of citrus-infused, savoury nutty oak carrying through to the smooth creamy palate with crème brulee and tropical fruit. Becoming more and more creamy as it lingers there's lots of potential for this wine to develop, just don't over chill at this stage. 14% alc. $29.99. 14Dec2011.
Moderate gold coloured with a crème brulee and citrus aroma and a big, rich, ripe toasty palate with a creamy malo influence and a lovely seam of orange zest, building to a smooth, seamless and spicy oak finish. Long and luscious with increasing caramel richness. 14% alc. $32.99. 25Apr2012.
A powerful 'nuts and nougat' Chardonnay with a creamy richness and beautifully balanced sweet citrus backbone. A very stylish, classy harmonious wine with a well balanced savouriness and a delectable and more-ish finish. An absolute star! 14% alc. $34.99. 5Sep2012.

Black Barn Vineyards Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Juicy nectarines, grapefruit and spicy French oak on the nose follow through to the palate of this rich, bold style. It's classy and elegant with a lovely smoky savoury depth, a zesty brightness and a layer of butterscotch on the lingering finish. 14% alc. $23.99. 7Mar2012.
Light gold with a hauntingly smoky bouquet infused with grilled stonefruit, this tastes warm, rich, nutty, mealy and malty, the savoury components a harmonious contrast to the juicy Golden Queen peach flavours. It's focussed and long with caramel cream accenting the finish. Cuisine Top 10 tasting. 14% alc. $23.99. 18Apr2012.

Black Estate Waipara Chardonnay 2010 (sc) A gorgeous aroma of stonefruit and melon with a nutty infusion to the scent. In the mouth it's rounded and creamy with well-balanced spicy French oak and a pleasing butterscotch layer that adds a nice theme. Juicy tropical fruit with hints of pineapple impress. All in all very well balanced and clean. 14.2% alc. $32.95. 25Jul2011.
Light gold coloured with a heady citrus blossom scent underpinned with cedary oak, this savoury wild-fermented wine is leesy, lemony and nutty with a spicy oak backbone and citrus-infused white peach. Full, rich, mouth filling and long with lingering caramel, butterscotch and malt. 14.2% alc. $34.99. 4Jan2012.
Juicy peach and citrus on the front palate morphs into lovely savoury, toasty nutty flavours in the mid palate with a creamy richness to the spicy oak and lemony leesy finish and a lingering touch of tropical fruit Golden coloured, full-bodied, rounded and long. Serious. Delicious. 14.2% alc. $34.99. 5Sep2012.

Cairnbrae Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Medium bodied, smooth, seamless, soft and creamy with a lemon butter nuance to the scent, integrated spicy oak, hazelnuts, a touch of stonefruit and a long finish. 13% alc. $12.99. 8Aug2012.

Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) A mealy, creamy bouquet infused with nuts and lemon carries through to the dry savoury palate that's layered with toasty oak and butter caramel. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 8Aug2012.
The ripe juicy fruit makes this super smooth wine seem sweeter; it's packed with fruit that sits there nicely with integrated nutty oak and nutmeg, and apple and melons in the background. The lingering finish has an intriguing smokiness to it. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 20Jun2012.

Church Road Cuve Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Sweetly scented aromas with nuts and nougat filling the palate. Lots of creamy, mealy, oatmeal characters, juicy nectarines and peaches and a sweet oak finish that lingers beautifully. A great HB vintage for Chardonnay and it shows in this classy wine. 14% alc. $24.99. 30May2012.

Church Road Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) With a bouquet of smoky oak, nectarine and savoury oak and ripe, juicy, creamy flavours with nectarine, nougat, fig, harmonious oak and a butter caramel finish, this beautiful poised, light golden wine simply oozes finesse. Drinking now but with long term potential. Beautiful wine. 5 star quality. 14% alc. $32.99. 7Mar2012.

Church Road 'Tom' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Golden yellow in colour with delectable smoky oak and sweet mealy aromas with a lovely nutty, savoury infusion. A multi-layered, rich, ripe, creamy wine with a silky harmonious mouthfeel and flavours of stonefruit, savoury oak, nutty mealy notes, honey and caramel balanced by a well-honed citrussy spine. A complex seductive wine with a powerful presence - there really is something about it that puts it on a pedestal. 14% alc. Screwcap. $107.99. 2Jul2014.

Clearview Beachhead Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Moderate gold in colour with stonefruit and toasty savoury oak scents and spicy oak flavours with rich flavours of apricot and citrus with toast on the rounded full-bodied finish. Good wine. Great value. 14% alc. $16.99. 23Mar2011.
Golden coloured with a mealy scent, served well chilled it's a full-bodied savoury style with noticeable yeast and French oak influence, a nutty undercurrent to the lemon/ grapefruit backbone and a spicy finish. As it warms up, luscious stonefruit flavours come through. 14% alc. $16.99 27Apr2011.
Golden yellow with an aroma of spiced pear, and pear and stonefruit flavours. A juicy fruity wine with little influence of oak, although the oak is there, and seemingly quite sherbetty tonight. 14% alc. $16.99. 3Aug2011.

Clearview Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold with a toasty oak, cream and grilled peach bouquet that carries through to the mealy, savoury palate. This is the bigger, richer and more powerful of the pair with a malty backbone, biscuity oak, bottled peaches and a touch of tangelo zest that adds freshness and zing to the lingering mouthfilling aftertaste. Outstanding. 14% alc. $32.99. 9May2012.
Some restraint to the nose, but the delicate toasted brioche-like bouquet is inviting. Surprisingly fresh in the palate with a tickle of zest, it's nutty and savoury with a juicy stonefruit intensity, layers of spicy oak and a bold, rich, almost creamy, mouthfilling finish. 14.5% alc. $37.99. 23Jan2013.

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) A little more restrained on the nose, this ultra savoury wine has a lemony mealy undercurrent and a silky palate that appears to medium bodied at first but intensifies magnificently to a rich full finish. An intriguing peach stone character adds character, there's a hint of caramel and the smoky oak is harmoniously integrated all the way through. 13.5% alc. $40.99. 23Jan2013.
Citrus brightens up the smoky oak bouquet and oodles of toasty oak and juicy ripe stonefruit dance around the palate. Deliciously tasty with a well-balanced spicy, mealy savouriness and a zingy finish, and as the wine lingers bottled apricots and caramel also come to mind. Lovely presence and palate weight. Beautiful wine. 13.5% alc. $36.99. 6Aug2014.

Coopers Creek The Limeworks Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Golden coloured with aromas of tropical fruit and butter, it's a bold oaky Chardonnay with flavours of buttered popcorn and nuts with tropical fruit bringing the mealy savouriness into balance and a nice squeeze of sweet citrus on the finish. A good match to slow braised pork hocks. 13.5% alc. $20.00. 25Jul2011.

Cottle Hill Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2010 (c) Golden coloured with butter and polished oak on the nose and butterscotch and caramelised peaches filling the palate. It's rich and ripe, full-bodied and creamy with a spicy oak backbone and a hint of melon on the finish. Lots of big buttery characters here. 13.6% alc. $20.00. 16Sep2011.

Craggy Range Chardonnay Gimblett Gravels Vineyard Hawkes Bay 2010 (sc) Fresh and fruity on the nose with a subtle smoky perfume. A mealy, savoury wine with a touch of spice, freshness of zest and a nutty, malty, almost salty undercurrent that underpins the stonefruit and citrus flavours. The smoky character found on the bouquet takes over the finish, which is suprising lean and dry. Cuisine Top 10 tasting. 14% alc. $25.99. 18Apr2012.

Crossroads Kereru Road Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Quite neutral on the nose when chilled, but spicier and later hinting of butterscotch, it's fruity and juicy with lovely toasty oatmeal flavours coming through together with a richness of stonefruit and melon with oak spice on the finish. Rounded and full with a seamless impression, but don't over chill to experience the true class. 14.5% alc. $39.99. 15Jun2011.
Straw gold coloured with a tropical fruit aroma, this initially seems more of a 'Chablis' style, seemingly lightly oaked with a fresh springy step. Tasting juicy and fresh with a creamy backbone, nectarine, white peach and a touch of caramel, it takes chilling well. 14.5% alc. $39.99. 4Jan2012.

Crossroads Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Quite golden for such a young wine, it's tight and nutty with a citrussy tang, a buttery nuance and rounded stonefruit flavours on the lightly spicy, full-bodied finish. Can be served well chilled. 14.5% alc. $14.99. 6Jul2011.

Dog Point Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (c) Bright, fresh citrussy yet deep aromas of sweet brioche / bacquette. Then mealy characters dominate the palate that's infused with citrus and smoky French oak - still that brulee / lemon shortbread sweetness comes through. It builds in mouthfeel and complexity to full, rich, long creamy butterscotch-infused finish. 14% alc. $33.95. 24Dec2012.

Elephant Hill Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) The enticing tropical fruit aroma of this wine emanates smoothness and harmony with nougat and nuts in the palate, a toasty savoury oak backbone and a spicy, zesty freshness with a long, focussed finish. The oak is skilfully integrated and harmonious but seems a little more obvious as the flavours linger. 13.5% alc. $22.99. 24Apr2013.

Felton Road 'Bannockburn' Central Otago Chardonnay 2010 (sc) With an inviting bouquet of citrus, nutty oak and cornmeal, this light gold coloured wine has a lovely balance of savoury oak and citrus-dominated fruit with funky wild yeast-influenced mealy flavours and honeyed roasted nuts in the background. It's silky smooth in texture and the finish is dry, expansive and long. 14% alc. $34.99. 23Jan2013.

Flying Sheep Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Served at room temperature, this is a fruity Chardonnay that gives the impression it doesn't have oak. Pear on the nose and peach in the palate with a savoury undercurrent from the yeast lees. Served chilled there's more peach to the scent and texture is like fruit juice with an amalgam of tropical fruit lingering pleasingly. Bright, fresh and tasty for pre-dinner drinks. 14.5% alc. $20.00. 27Nov2011.

Forrest Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Sweet yet dry with a citrussy backbone, macadamia nuts and caramel. Smooth, creamy and seamless with mouthfilling softness and length. Hits the spot quickly. 13.5% alc. $22.00. 9Apr2013.

Giesen The Brothers Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light yellow coloured with a butterscotch-coated toasty aroma and rich, full flavours of wine biscuits, orange, peaches and caramel cream with fresh acidity and spicy zest to balance the butterscotch richness. Luscious and opulent with classy oak, a savoury undercurrent and an expansive finish. 14.5% alc. $23.99. 21Mar2012.
Light lemon gold with fragrant nutty scents. A rich wine in the palate with an opulent and vibrant presence. Spiced stonefruit, honeyed oak and full-bodied mealy savoury flavours too. A big wine, balanced by fresh acidity with great delivery and length. Cuisine Top 10 tasting any my pick for favourite wine on the night. 14.5% alc. $23.99. 18Apr2012.

Greywacke Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) There's a touch more yellow to the colour of this ripe scented wine and the bouquet is seductively funky from the 100% wild yeast. There's grapefruit both on the nose and in the harmonious savoury palate. A glorious wine, it's full-bodied, silky, spicy, mouth-coating and long. 14.5% alc. $38.99. 23Jan2013.
Light yellow gold with a grapefruit, wild yeast ferment and polished oak bouquet – just from the bouquet this seems such a class act and the taste lives up to the tantalising promise. A gorgeous, creamy Chardonnay with flavours of spicy oak, peach, grapefruit, perhaps even a hint of pineapple, and an inspired touch of caramel with a harmonious savoury undercurrent from the wild ferment and a hint of smoky bacon. Silky and seamless with layer upon layer of flavour, it's simply outstanding. 14.5% alc. $42.99. 12Apr2013.

Hyperion Helios Matakana Chardonnay 2010 (sc) A well-rounded, creamy Chardonnay, the aroma is smoky with a hint of fig and the flavours are a little mealy with polished savoury oak and subtle fruit to start, but expands nicely with fleshy peach underpinned with sweet citrus and tropical fruit adding brightness and zing. Subtle nuances of butterscotch as it lingers, too. 4 stars. 14.5% alc. $32. 28Apr2011.

Hunters Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold coloured with a grapefruit-infused smoky oak bouquet, and rich creamy flavours crammed with citrus, stonefruit, toasty oak, nuts and nougat, with a zesty flourish to the long, smooth, tasty finish. 13.5% alc. $13.99. 3Oct2012.

Jackson Estate Shelter Belt Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold coloured with aromas of juicy fruit chewing gum and delicate vanillin oak, but oak stands out in the palate when poured straight after opening. Quite smoky and savoury with lots of juicy grilled peach, I like the savouriness of this wine. The oak settles after the bottle has been open for a day and the wine is beautifully harmonious, soft and long. 13.5% alc. $22.50 9Dec2011.

John Forrest Collection Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Very dry and flinty in the context of the tasting tonight with a momentary suggestion of struck match that quickly passes. Savoury mealy notes on the nose carry through to the palate to harmonise with tropical fruit, citrus, refined smoky oak, nougat, nuts and orange jam with a very appealing touch of caramel on the finish. Still very tight with focussed acidity, it is a wine that is still evolving - a dinner party wine. 13.5% alc. Screwcap. $45.99. 2Jul2014.

Kirkpatrick 'Kirky' Reserve Gisborne Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Bright gold with smoked spices on the nose, loads of sizzled butter, a touch of yellow fruit too. A big rich nutty style of wine, more developed than the other two but lacking nothing for it. Fat full and creamy with plenty of citrus and pineapple flavours and a polished oak finish that is pleasingly dry, it is ready to enjoy right now. 13.4% alc. $19.99. 12Jun2013.

Kahurangi Estate Mt Arthur Reserve Nelson Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold with a smoky, creamed cashew bouquet and a nutty sweetness to the tropical fruit and apricot flavours with nuts, figs and nougat and a tingly citrussy infusion to the long, smooth creamy finish. A lovely wine. 14.5% alc. $20.99. 31Aug2011.

Man O' War Waiheke Chardonnay 2010 (sc) A peachy aroma with a mealy overlay. Spicy and savoury to the taste - quite dry, yet tingly. Layered with citrus and oatmeal and a classy backbone of oak, it seems a focussed, sophisticated elegant style 14.5% alc. $27.99. 25Jul2011.

Man O War Valhalla Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Yellow gold coloured with spicy oak and butterscotch tantalising the nose, then in the palate loads of zesty citrus, spicy oak and malt. Rich and powerful with vanillin notes on the rounded finish, it's dry, flinty and moderately phenolic with maturity beyond its age. 14.5% alc. $33.99. 7Mar2012.
Light gold coloured with subtle mellow oak scents, the first taste impression is spicy vanillin oak with nectarine and a subtle underpinning of zest. It's mealy, nutty and savoury with gunflint and struck match and nothing like the big opulent butterscotch-rich wine we tasted on 7/3/12. Obviously some bottle variation. 14.5% alc. $29.99. 18Apr2012.

Kate Radburnd 'Liquid Gold' Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc)From the inviting 'hot smoke' aromatics to the bright fruity, juicy flavours, this wine hits the spot from the outset. There's apricot, tropical fruit and zesty citrus, a warm nutty backbone, well balanced spicy oak and a long, savoury finish. 13.5% alc. $15.99. 6Mar2013.
There's a hint of butterscotch to the scent, even more in the palate. It's smooth and creamy with a mouth coating texture, a broad range of tropical fruit flavours, an appealing hint of wood smoke, a spiced nut backbone, a warm mid palate and a fresh citrussy finish. From the estate's Gimblett Road vineyards. 13.5% alc. $15.99. 19Apr2013.

Lake Chalice The Raptor Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold, a little malty on the nose and leesy lemony notes infiltrate the palate; it's quite savoury, yet creamy, with beautifully integrated French oak, butter sizzled macadamias and a fine seam of citrus. Very elegant, sophisticated and finishing dry; an Audrey Hepburn wine. 14% alc. $29.99. 29Aug2012.

Mahurangi River Field of Grace Chardonnay 2010 (c) A rich, golden-coloured, caramel-layered chardonnay with nuances of butterscotch and caramel over a wine biscuit backbone with ripe tropical and stonefruit. It’s big, luscious and soft with a smooth seamless delivery and takes chilling well. 14.5% alc. $39. 7Dec2012.
Golden in colour with a nutmeg and subtle baking spices infusing the peache and smoky oak bouquet. Full-bodied, voluptuous, curvaceous, cosy and warm with a bold leesy savouriness to the flavour and a ripe fruit sweetness that is more in the peach spectrum. The fruit is interwoven with butter caramel and a fresh citrus character adds a zesty vibrancy to the finish. But it is the mealy character that is the lasting memory. A caramel lover’s delight. The bold flavours of the wine go best with fresh, acid driven foods like snapper and lemon risotto. 14.5%. $39. 12May2013.

Marisco 'Kings Bastard' Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold coloured with aromas of freshly picked orchard fruit, hints of peach and a subtle suggestion of smoke. Served chilled it's flinty, tight and citrussy with the fruit fleshing out towards stonefruit as the wine warms up. With hints of tobacco and hair oil, it's quite different from the big, bold, creamy 2009. This wine shoud not be overchilled and will probably improve with more time in the bottle. 13.5% alc. $18.99 11May2011.

Marsden Estate 'Black Rocks' Bay of Islands Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Tantalising and appealing with a rich, creamy, spicy vanillin oak and subtle butterscotch bouquet, its light gold-coloured and tastes warm, rich and rounded with spicy oak and tropical fruit combining in harmony. Served chilled it's initially quite nutty and tight but opens up beautifully and the finish is fleshy, mouthcoating and long. Terrific wine. 13.5% alc. $32.99. 31Aug2011.
Light gold coloured with a rich, toasty oak aroma, this tasty, full-bodied, mouth coating wine has a deep caramel richness, tropical fruit, grilled peach and a soft creamy backbone. Northland's top Chardonnay, it delivers every vintage. 13.5% alc. $32.99. 4Jan2012.

Matawhero Gisborne Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Buttery on the nose and buttery in the palate. There’s quite a bit of oak in here, but it seems to have had a ton of malo character too. Fruit reminds me of late summer harvest in orchards – apples and pears. Seems to be made in an oxidative way. 13.9% alc. $25.90. 28Jun2011.

Melness Canterbury Chardonnay 2010 Light gold in colour with 'legs' running down the side of the glass. There's a toasty nuance to the scent enhanced by the fragrance of apricot, and integrated oak in the palate. It's smooth and full-bodied with textural richness, delicate apricot, lemongrass and macadamia nut flavours and a fresh, zesty brightness with a tickle of ginger to the long, savoury finish. 13.5% alc. $12.99. 30Jan2013.

Mills Reef Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold coloured with a smoky nuance to the nutty, mealy scent, and plenty of toasty, cedary oak flavours. Fresh and young with a creamy texture and flavours of spiced peaches and nectarines and a rounded finish. Classy wine that will continue to develop. 13.5% alc. $18.95. 5Oct2011.

Mills Reef Elspeth Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) This is quite golden in colour and is powerful and savoury to the taste. The aroma is intriguingly mealy and savoury with a tantalising smoky aura and there is an appealing freshness to the full-bodied creamy flavours. Rich and spicy with concentrated stonefruit and a long, seamless finish. 13.5% alc. $33.00. 5Nov2013.

Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold coloured with a smoky nuance to the nutty, mealy scent, and plenty of toasty, cedary oak flavours. Fresh and young with a creamy texture and flavours of spiced peaches and nectarines and a rounded finish. Classy wine that will continue to develop. 13.5% alc. $20.99. 5Oct2011.
Concentrated, full-bodied and very rich smelling. Sophisticated, classy and tantalising. Fresh, young and juicy but incredibly oaky. Lashings of peach are underpinned with nougat and pineapple. Lovely full rounded finish but just needs more time. Do not over chill as it pronounces the oakiness. 13.5% alc. $24.95. 1Nov2011.
Green-tinged gold in hue with a tantalising aroma of peaches and cream and flavours of nectarine, lemon, spice, caramel, butter and cream. Smooth in its delivery with vanillin oak well balanced to the juicy fruit, it finishes with a zesty kick. 13.5% alc. $20.99. 7Dec2011.

Morton Estate Black Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light lemon gold with nougat and nutty vanillin oak on the nose and a youthful (estery) vibrancy to the palate. Smooth, subtle, with a harmonious savoury oak undercurrent, it has soft acidity, hints of apricot, tropical fruit, aromatic spices and smoke. It's already very attractive but ideally needs a little more time. 14.5% alc. $24.99.

Morton Estate Coniglio Chardonnay 2010 - Hawkes Bay(c) A super smooth smelling caramel cream aroma leads into a full-bodied creamy, mealy palate where rich fruit flavours add to the complexity of this seamless wine. Moderate gold in colour with raisin bread, creamed nuts and concentrated peach, and the rounded finish is intense and long. A class act. 14.5% alc. $94.99. 20Jun2012.
Brassy gold with restraint to the aroma and a caramelised, oxidised taste with a dominant nut, sizzled butter, nutmeg and bacon character and surprisingly a crisp acid spine. With a very long finish that pushes past the oxidised character, it needs to be poured into a big glass and served alongside rich savoury foods. 14.5% alc. Cork. $85.99. 7May2014.

Momo Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Fruity aromas of apple and pear are infused with buttery toasty oak and nuances of grapefruit that follow through to the palate. Toasty and creamy with a funky savouriness from barrel fermentation with wild yeasts, this brings the smart winemaking of Seresin to consumers at a more affordable price. Very impressed with the Momo wines this release. 13.5% alc. $19.95. 20Dec2011.

Mt Hillary Barrique Fermented Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Pale in colour, served quite chilled this has a neutral aroma but reveals delicate sweet smoky oak and mealy notes as it warms up. Textural with toasty oak, a buttery nuance, fleshy stonefruit and a long finish, citrus flavours are accentuated by chilling. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 15Jun2011.

Mudbrick Reserve Chardonnay 2010 - Waiheke Island (sc) Light gold. Smoky on the nose and quite creamy, mealy, nutty and savoury in the palate with upfront toasty oak, peach pie and a drizzle of caramel. Rich and full-bodied, building in intensity and concentration of flavour with a long, full finish. Engaging wine. 15.2% alc. $40.99. 20Jun2012.

Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) A bright, mealy aroma with a stonefruit richness. The most boisterous of the six in the aroma department and that follows though to the palate. The juicy fruit flavours are definitely tropical in character and the well-integrated oak seems to be a minor player 14% alc. $35.00. 25Jul2011.

Neudorf Moutere Nelson Chardonnay 2010 (sc) The aroma and flavours are so much more nutty, and while the aroma seems a little restrained, the smooth, creamy flavours are rich and full and beautifully expansive in the palate. With nuts, figs, lots of acidity and yeast lees characters, it just needs more time to evolve, but Neudorf's Moutere Chardonnays are incredibly long-lived and reward cellaring upon release. 13.5% alc. $69.99. 25Jan2012.

Ngatarawa Alwyn Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Quite restrained on the nose with scents of smoky French oak with a wheatmeal inflection, it's Burgundian in style with milky malolactic characters and acidity that's forward and striking at this stage of its life, yet inkling of the wine's longer term potential. Flinty and nutty with white peach, citrus, nougat, a smoky savoury undercurrent and a penetrating and expansive finish. 13.5% alc. $37.99. 13Feb2013.

Nga Waka Martinborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Chardonnay more as we know it, golden coloured with lots of delicious toasty oak, stonefruit, butter, sizzled nuts and a little hint of salinity. A full-bodied style with lovely fruit intensity and well balanced citrussy tones, building in the palate to a long lasting finish. Can be well chilled and drinking beautifully right now. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 18Jan2012.

Ngatarawa Glazebrook Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) More of a mealy, dry, barrel-fermented style with stonefruit, spicy oak and a hint of malt in the background. While golden in colour it's tighter than the Nga Waka, but more winemaker influenced than it stablemate, the Silks. A serious wine that's still evolving and best as a 'main course wine' or laid down in the cellar for a while. 13.5% alc. $19.99. 18Jan2012.

Osawa Wines Prestige Collection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (c) A bright light gold colour, this has a toasty oak and creamed nut aroma with a hint of citrus and caramel. In the mouth it is smooth in its attack with smoky French oak and pineapple springing to mind but also incredibly nutty, as the bouquet suggests, with the warmth of toasted spices on the end. A young wine with good cellaring potential if the bright acidity is anything to go by, and the zesty finish is layered with caramel cream. 14.5% alc. $39.00. 14Jul2012.
A fragrant, mouthfilling Chardonnay that's a bright light golden colour with a toasted cashew, honey oak and apricot scent and a fleshy, fulfilling texture. Smoky and savoury with tropical fruit and stonefruit, a spicy oak undercurrent, sweet nutty flavours, a caramel overlay and a zesty flourish to the smooth, seamless finish. 5 star quality. 14.5% alc. 32.99. 25Jul2012.

Pencarrow Martinborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) A fragrant citrussy wine on the nose yet savoury and malty in the rich leesy palate but there’s a lovely citrussy undercurrent bringing forth expansive melon-like flavours and the lasting finish is zesty and bright with the pleasing oak flavour joining in to linger. 13.5% alc. $19.72 28Jun2011.

River Farm Godfrey Road Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) This moderate yellow gold coloured wine smells opulent and toasty and tastes immediately sweeter, richer, and riper (than the Meursault) with juicy stonefruit to the fore. There's lovely use of nutty oak and the tangy finish has a touch of grapefruit to masterfully balance the creamy layers. Stylish and classy and great buying, even at the original $30 price.
14.5% alc. $17.99. 11Jul2012.
Yellow gold with a creamy oak scent and a spicy, smoky, toasty oak flavour. The oak asserts its presence yet is well balanced with an oatmeal complexity and a fresh citrussy backbone. Vibrant and fresh as a seafood wine and mellowed by a creamy cheese, this has the legs to keep on running for a very long time. Made by Brian Bicknell of Mahi Wines. 14.5% alc. $17.99. 9Jan2013.
This smells just gorgeous. It's full-bodied, mouthfilling and mealy with a Burgundian-like, wild ferment character to the aroma that carries through to the palate with a citrus zestiness and a savoury oak finish. Layered with mealy characters and caramel, it's flamboyant in its expression. While perhaps overpowering for all but the boldest food dishes, it's a great conversation starter and developing nicely. 14.5% alc. $17.99. 24Apr2013.

Sacred Hill Riflemans Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) There's a more mealy nuance to the scent with citrus and fine French oak and a much tighter corset to the palate. Finesse perfectly describes this wine - fine oak, fine texture, fine mealy and malo characters with tropical fruit, citrus, stone fruit, a nutty nougat richness and depth and intensity as the fabulous flavours linger. Shows excellent potential for long term development. Top wine. 14% alc. $67.99. 21Sep2011.

Sacred Hill Wine Thief Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Class and sophistication are the hallmarks of this powerful Chardonnay. Aromas of nuts and figs with a hint of nougat are tantalising and the flavours are rich and savoury with a creamy subtlety. Dry, rich and still a little tight, with citrus and stonefruit, a mealy mouth coating richness and butterscotch nuances developing, the overall consensus was excellent. 13.5% alc. $24.99. 21Sep2011.

Saint Clair Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Quite mealy, leesy, creamed nut smelling with a bright, zesty, citrus overtone that carries through to the palate. A fresh, young, lightly oaked style with enough butterscotch richness to be serious enough for Chardonnay lovers, this is a fabulous carefree summer wine that when chilled is juicy, zesty, bright with a tantalising tropical fruit, citrus and a mouthfilling richness. Yum. 14% alc. $21.50 1Nov2011.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold coloured with a bold, rich, creamy scent, this young wine is delicious already. It's creamy and malty with loads and loads of refined American oak, a lovely infusion of orange zest and biscuit spices combining with butterscotch on the lasting finish. A stylish wine that can only get better as the oak integrates and mellows. 14% alc. $35.99. 13Jul2011.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold in hue with a tropical fruit aroma and juicy fruit flavours with delicate spices, melon, peaches and cream. With beautifully integrated vanillin oak, underlying citrus acidity and a long, smooth creamy finish, it just flows. 14.5% alc. $29.99. 7Dec2011.
Grown in the Ure Valley, some 50-km south of Blenheim, this has an attractive bouquet of citrus, vanilla and poached nectarines tastes of nougat, nuts and cream with savoury oak in the background, lively acidity and a stonefruit juiciness. Harmonious and easy going with a long lasting finish. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 7Mar2012.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 4 Sawcut Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light lemon gold, creamed nuts and caramel on the nose, fresh juicy peach in the palate. A youthful wine with a zesty undercurrent, hints of grapefruit, toasty sweet oak and a suggestion of vanilla as the lemon chantilly cream flavours linger. A pretty wine, medium to full-bodied, and very easy to like. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 25Jul2012.
There's lovely integration and balance to this light gold coloured wine that has a haunting smokiness to the scent and a deep toasty savouriness to the taste with pear, citrus and melon fruit and an expansive, creamy, harmonious finish. 13.5% alc. $25.99. 5Dec2012.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 10 Twin Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) This is seriously a charmer. It has a lovely light gold colour, it smells and tastes oaky and toasty with a flourish of spice, ripe melon and stonefruit, and there's a more-ish finish of caramel corn. Full-bodied and mouthfilling with a pleasing texture. 14.5% alc. $29.99. 5Oct2011.
Light gold with a luxuriant bouquet of smoky oak, creamed nuts, popcorn, and citrus. Quite tangy to the taste, yet also layers of complexity and creaminess. Citrus is the key fruit character in the palate, nicely balanced by the savoury winemaking complexities. 14.5% alc. $30.50 14Jul2012.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 Cell Block Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold with a gem-like lustre and an aroma of creamed cashews and hazelnuts infused with zest of lemon. Tight, flinty and citrussy with underlying vanillin oak and a touch of butter caramel coming though, it's texturally complex with a full-bodied finish and shows excellent cellaring potential. 14% alc. $29.99. 31Aug2011.
This full-bodied tasting wine has inviting stone fruit and butterscotch nuances to the scent. It's fresh and citrussy bright to the taste with juicy apricot, warm nutty oak and a long, toasty, mouth-coating finish with lingering cream brulee. 14% alc. $29.99. 20Mar2013.

Seifried Barrique Fermented Nelson Chardonnay 2010 (sc) This new release has an appealing mealy, leesy, barrel-ferment bouquet, and a bold spicy flavour with citrus and stonefruit, plenty of toasty vanillin oak and a buttery creamy finish. Full-bodied and fairly dry, it's hinting it will develop big caramel flavours with a little more time. 14% alc. $22.99. 8Aug2012.
With toasty oak on the nose and a lemon nougat concentrated richness, this powerful style appeals immediately. The flavour is ripe and juicy with layers of creamy oak, spiced peaches and a lovely nutty savoury richness. 14% alc. $22.99. 20Feb2013.
This is vibrantly fruity with perfectly poised toasty oak, peaches and cream. Nougat intermingles with savoury oak on the nose; it's smooth, seamless and layered with deliciousness in the palate with freshness to the full-bodied finish. Drinking at its best. 14.5% alc. $22.99. 5Dec2012.
This gloriously scented buttery Chardonnay tastes rich, bold and toasty with lashings of butterscotch, vanilla and nuts, and bright fruit flavours of tropical fruit, citrus and stonefruit. Powerful, juicy and long. Fans of the big style will like this. 14% alc. $22.99. 16Jan2013.

Sileni The Lodge Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) With hints of grapefruit to the bouquet, this rich, full, fat, spicy Chardonnay totally delivers with flavours of toasty oak, roasted nuts, stonefruit and a nice touch of citrus that adds zest and brightness to the long, mouthfilling finish. 14% alc. $25.99. 8Aug2012.

Soljans Estate Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light yellow gold with floral nuances to the bouquet together with peach, hints of butter and mealy scents. It's ripe, fresh and juicy with subtle vanillin oak interweaving beautifully with fleshy, peach fruit flavours. It has a little bit of creaminess, a touch of spiciness, a rounded mouthfeel allowing it to slip down easily then a zing of citrus is a bonus on the finish. Liked it. 13.5% alc. $19. 11Nov2010.

Stoneleigh Latitude Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Bright gold and tantalisingly aromatic with a hint of bubble gum-scented magnolia infusing the bouquet. A bold-tasting wine with toasty oak, caramel and wild yeast, well-defined fig and stonefruit and a long, creamy finish. Well-liked on the night and a cellaring proposition too. 14% alc. $16.99. 28Sep2011.

Takutai Nelson Chardonnay 2010 (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. Made by Waimea Estate. 3 stars. 13.5% alc. $16. 26Apr2011.

Te Mata Elston Chardonnay 2010 - Hawkes Bay (D) Light yellow with a smoky aroma and a sweet oak palate with a leesy, lemony, nutty backbone. Exhibiting flavours like pineapple and citrus that we've come to expect from Elston, with a delicate hint of honeycomb on the warm rich finish and bright acidity leaving a mouthfeel that is vibrant and clean. 14% alc. $29.99. 14Mar2012.

Thornbury Gisborne Chardonnay 2010 (sc) From the delicate toasted cashew perfume to the creamy richness of the nutty flavour, this medium to full-bodied Chardonnay has an apricot, nectarine and melon fruit brightness and a smoky finish. Called 'Baby Barrique' by the Villa Maria team, it delivers smooth, easy drinking. 14% alc. $12.99. 8Jun2011.

Tohu Gisborne Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold colour with an aromas that is a little smoky, a little savoury with a hint of zest and stewed peach. Dry and savoury to the taste with an underlying citrussy prickle. A little one-dimensional in style but a flourish of tropical fruit adds juiciness and the lingering finish is bright and long. Better chilled, brings out lovely melon and citrus tones and the aroma is more juicy, fruity and beguiling too. 13% alc. $24.95. 1Nov2011.

Tohu Unoaked Marlborough Chardonnay 2010 (sc) The bouquet is like smelling peach stones and it's fruity to the taste with a mealy richness that builds the structure and balances the fruit with savouriness. A touch of melon comes through on the finish. Excellent match to hot smoked salmon on a pasta with basil and lemon. 13% alc. $21.95. 1Apr2011.

Tolaga Bay Gisborne Lightly Oaked Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Restrained on the nose, like juicy fruit chewing gum in the palate, a fresh young chardonnay that could benefit from some maturation. There’s a savoury, earthy undercurrent coming through, and possibly even a nuance of spearmint. Well rounded peach fruit lingers. Simple but has appeal at the price point. 13% alc. $14.95. 28Jun2011.

Vavasour Anna’s Vineyard Awatere Valley Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light yellow gold in colour and while a little restrained on the nose, it's full of flavour. Mealy and savoury with nut bread, stonefruit, an orange zest brightness and a long, rich finish with classy French oak and a slight milky edge to the expansive mouthfilling end. 14.5% alc. $42.99. 11 Apr2012.
A creamy, nutty, leesy, nougat style with crème brulee on the nose and obvious malolactic influence in the smoky palate. It's rounded and creamy with apricot and melon fruit, nuances of butterscotch and a lifted harmonious finish with fabulous length. 14% alc. $42.99. 5Dec2012.
Yellow gold colour. With delicate caramel and citrus on the nose, it seems like a much fresher wine. It tastes creamy and bready with that lovely nougat like character running through it and fruit that's reminiscent of melon with a zing of pineapple and citrus. Seems like a more restrained wine, developing quite slowly, with a flint and savoury oak undercurrent – lovely sweet fruit wells through the finish which is long and fulfilling. 14% alc. $42.99. 12Jun2013

Vidal Legacy Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) A characterful wine with a tantalising bouquet of grapefruit, toasty French oak and caramel cream. A lovely rich, full, mouthfilling wine with flavours of citrus, stonefruits and oak spice balanced by a creamy savouriness. Terrific wine. Cuisine Top 10 tasting. 14% alc. $54.99. 18Apr2012.
There's a slight lime-edged tinge to this smoky, nougat scented wine that is so poised in the savoury palate. Lovely fresh acidity tending towards lime, that nougat coming through too with nuts, hint of apricot and fig - it caresses the palate gently yet has amazing concentration and length. Outstanding. 14% alc. $54.99. 21Nov2012.
Smoky cedar and pencil box join grilled peach on the nose and grapefruit joins stonefruit in the palate of this seriously serious Chardonnay. It’s mouthfilling and seamless with sweet wild yeast characters and a nutty richness to the long full finish with the flavours lingering for ages. Wonderful vintage and this wine is just hitting its straps. So nice to see Chardonnay maturing so well. 13.5% alc. $49.99. 15Oct2014.
There’s more gold to the hue than the younger wines tasted beside it and the smoky, toasted oak bouquet is much prouder too. The taste immediately hints of a more mature wine because it is so smooth, creamy and mellow. It’s full-bodied and savoury with very attractive toasty notes, accents of grapefruit, biscuity flavours, nutmeg, tropical fruit, stonefruit and melon and honeyed oak in the background. Almost five years on from vintage, this is resoundingly good wine. 13.5% alc. $49.99. 25Feb2015.
Grapefruit, crushed wine biscuits and gunflint fill the bouquet – the aromas tantalisingly evocative. ‘An aphrodisiac,' says Joyce sitting beside me. Very mealy, wild yeast influenced in the mouth but these funky characters sit so well with the tropical fruit and grilled peach fruit and subtle touches of spice– perhaps even a whisper of anise. Quite hot on the mouthfilling, mealy finish with integrated spicy oak but overall just so complex, seamless, concentrated and divine with a finish that lasts and lasts. A glorious wine that is becoming more and more expressive with bottle age. 13.5% alc. $49.99. 26Aug2015.

Vidal Reserve Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold with inviting caramel, citrus and leesy malty, barrique-ferment scents. A lovely smooth, creamy, mealy wine with grilled peach and a citrussy tang to balance the butterscotch-infused oak, some funky nuances of wild ferment and a spicy flourish to the lasting finish. 13.5% alc. $16.99. 7Dec2011.

Villa Maria Library Release Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Medium gold. Quite bold on the nose with a little reductive wild yeast character that sends quivers of delight down a chardonnay lover’s spine. Beautifully savoury in the mouth with fine grapefruit-like acidity and an elegant, silky flow. There’s a funky mealiness to the flavour with nougat, macadamia nuts, fresh fig and wonderful chardonnay vinosity. Tightly structured to start but it expands beautifully in the mouth to seduce with very sip and totally belies it six years of age. Gold Easter Show. Gold AirNZ. Gold Hawkes Bay. 13.5% alc. $54.99. 24Feb2016.
The powerful bouquet has hints of grapefruit infusing spicy cedar and loads of wild yeast connotations, and the full-flavoured palate is bright, creamy and spicy with a flinty lemonade undercurrent and lingering smoky bacon and peach. A fine textural wine that six years on from vintage is nowhere near its peak. Fruit is sourced from the Keltern and Ngakirikiri vineyards and the result in the glass tonight is outstanding. 13.5% alc. $54.99. 16Nov2016.
The bouquet entices with subtle nuances of smoke, toast, mealy nuances and peach – it smells classy, it even smells a little Burgundian. In the palate bright acidity balances the complex, mellow, savoury notes, the texture is fine and silky, fruit is lemonade citrus and white peach, there’s gunflint in the background and a nutty oak richness to the finish and later, as the phenomenally long finish persists, bright acidity still marks the wine’s presence. Superb. 13.5% alc. $54.99. 7Dec2016.
Glorious golden yellow with a full, complex and aromatic bouquet that has a waft of vanillin oak and brightness to the fruit. Smoky and toasty in the rounded, mouthfilling palate with hints of stone fruit and a creamy flow. There’s plenty of oak and a lovely touch of caramel to the deliciously satisfying finish with still enough acidity to keep it on the road - and best of all it can be well chilled. Keltern and Ngakirikiri vineyards. 13.5% alc. $54.99. 7Jun2017.

Villa Maria Reserve Barrique Fermented Gisborne Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold. Spicy with the merest tantalising nuance of butterscotch and wild yeast funk on the nose and soft and creamy tasting with caramel-coated toasty savoury oak, spiced peaches, citrus and nectarine. It's full and rich with a smooth, easy-going, seamless flow and while delicious already without too much chilling, it will garner more complexity with a couple of years cellaring. 14% alc. $29.99. 11Jan2012.
Light yellow gold with a creamy lemon biscuit scent and a smooth seamless impression in the palate. Youthful and fresh with juicy tropical fruit, a nougat-like creaminess and a biscuity butterscotch finish. It's like the previous wine on steroids and got most votes for favourite Chardonnay of the three. 14% alc. $29.99. 21Mar2012.
Light gold coloured with an opulent savoury, mealy aroma and some subtle smoke, stonefruit and butterscotch perfumes too. Leesy, mealy, savoury and toasty tasting with ripe tropical and stonefruit flavours and a full-bodied, mouthfilling, long rich finish. Almost luscious, it seems. Cuisine Top 10 tasting. 14% alc. $29.99. 18Apr2012.
A rich, ripe, savoury wine with lovely balance of tropical fruit, savoury oak and skilful winemaking influences of mealy yeast flavours and biscuity oak with some delectable nougat and spice flavours coming through. 14% alc. $29.99. 14Nov2012.
This really hits the spot with attractive mealy notes to the bold toasty oak scent, and spicy savoury flavours with melon and citrus brightness and a funky wild yeast character that is mellowing quite nicely. A touch of butterscotch coming through too. Long and smooth. 14% alc. Screwcap. $29.99. 7May2014.
Light yellow gold with an enticing smoky aroma that hints of nougat and the a gorgeous nutty, citrussy taste with a smooth creamy backbone and spicy oak that is integrating just so beautifully. Stylish, savoury, sophisticated with hints of tropical fruit and a mellow roundness to the edges that is indicative of a little bottle age. 14% alc. $29.99. 8Oct2014.

Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Moderate gold in colour with a tantalising smoky French oak and grapefruit bouquet and butterscotch and toasty oak filling the spicy, savoury palate with the richness of stonefruit, lovely clean-cutting acidity, a rounded mouthfeel and a nice touch of zest on the long lasting finish. Classy. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 14Sep2011.
Light lemony gold with a radiance to its appearance. Tantalising peaches and cream, lemony lees and smoky, barrel fermented aromas and toasty, nutty flavours with terrific concentration of ripe peach and melon. There's a malty, savoury undercurrent and a citrussy finish. A very classy wine. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 29Feb2012.
Light gold coloured with creamy, leesy, nutty scents and subtle savoury smoky oak wafting through. A lovely nougat style of Chardonnay, lifted and creamy with expansive stonefruit flavours and a long, full, fresh finish. Cuisine Top 10 tasting. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 18Apr2012.
Sweet nutty oak and grilled fig scent follows through to the creamy, savoury, nutty palate with white peach, a touch of gun smoke, underlying acidity imparting freshness, mealy nuances and a long, mouthfilling fleshy finish. 70% Waikahu Vineyard and 30% Ngakirikiri Vineyard on the Gimblett Gravels. 13.5% alc. $26.99. 14Nov2012.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Auckland Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light yellow gold with a tantalising mealy, grapefruit-infused, creamy oak bouquet. Expressive in the mouth, this is a toasty wine with melon and tropical fruit underpinned by grapefruit and cornmeal. Hints of caramel and butterscotch push their way through. Seamless in its flow, a great wine from a great vintage and simply delicious. 13.5% alc. $31.99. 3Aug2011.
Light green-tinged straw gold with a bold toasty aroma infused with grilled peach. Chilled just a couple of hours, this is juicy and quenching with abundant oatmeal, smoky French oak, fig, peach, melon and a citrus kicker on the long, creamy finish. Mouthfilling, beautifully balanced and quite simply delicious. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 9Nov2011.
This is instantly appealing with its subtle smoke and stonefruit scents infused with grapefruit and tantalising nougat and caramel cream flavours. Seamless in its flow with lovely fruit and mealy characters and juicy fruit sweetness to the finish, this was the overwhelming crowd favourite, attracting over a quarter of the votes. Cuisine Top 10 tasting. 13.5% alc. $29.99. 18Apr2012.

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Served chilled there's a captivating aroma of citrus and caramel while a funky savouriness characterises the lemony, leesy palate with sweet spicy oak, a nuance of grapefruit, delicious mealy malty flavours, toast, grilled stonefruit and hazelnut lingering harmoniously. A seamless wine with a golden hue, wonderful mouthfeel and phenomenal length. 13% alc. $29.99. 7Sep2011.

Waimea Nelson Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold. Typically creamy scent with buttery oak and a touch of stonefruit. Creamy and toasty with a smooth texture and plenty of fresh citrus and stonefruit flavours on the lingering finish. Lovely starter wine that really hits the spot and plenty of appreciative comments from around the room. 14.5% alc. $17.99. 20Jun2012.
A savoury smelling wine that oozes expensive barrel fermentation scents and backs that up in the palate with toasted nuts, grapefruit and spicy vanillin oak. A lavish Chardonnay of extreme concentration and satisfaction, like the forebears from this label it has developed beautifully in the bottle and will continue to do so. If you like full-bodied, oaky Chardonnay, it is hard to go past this. 14.5% alc. $17.99. 5Sep2012.

Waipara Springs 'Premo' Waipara Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light yellow gold coloured with a tropical fruit aroma infused with nutty oak. Mouthfilling and savoury with a wild yeast barrel-aged influence, there's a strong peachy thread and subtle butterscotch sweetness. Complex and rich with a long satisfying finish. Very smart. 14% alc. $21.99. 30Nov2011.
The bouquet emanates roasted cashews and hazelnuts with a waft of wood smoke. A bold, powerful wine with smoky savouriness quite profound in the palate, perhaps some funky wild yeast plus a touch of grapefruit. The finish is full bodied and lasting with tropical fruit suggestions. 14% alc. $18.99. 20Feb2013.

West Brook Waimauku Chardonnay 2010 (sc) Light gold with a creamy, sweet nut and stonefruit bouquet. Lovely smooth creamy flavour - a touch of sizzled butter, a touch of caramel and ripe peach-like fruit with lovely mealy flavours from the barrel ferment. Nicely balanced throughout. % alc. $29.50 2Aug2012.

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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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