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edited by Sue Courtney

Wine Reviews - Chardonnay
1999 vintage and older
by Sue Courtney
Last updated 16 May 2004

Although some of these tasting notes may be found elsewhere on this site, this page brings together most of my Chardonnay notes, listed alphabetically by Producer. Click here for rating systems and abbreviations.

Click on year to go to reviews for that vintage
[2008/2007] [2006] [2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [1999] [1998] [older] [index]

1999 Vintage [top] [index]

Akarua Chardonnay 1999 (Bannockburn Heights, Central Otago) no difficulty in determining this variety. Lovely leesy, creamy, notes on the nose with ripe stone fruits. Rich in the palate with smoke, honey, stone fruits, spicy oak - the works. Very long with a smoky finish. $24.95. 7 Feb 2001

Bradshaw Estate 1999 Hawkes Bay Chardonnay Mucho buttery oak. Creamy, buttery, vanillin, very rich. Rich butterscotch to honey comb, melons. Ripe round, but overpowering buttery component indicates the need for food. Very long aftertaste. 31 Jan 2000.

Brajkovich Chardonnay 1999 Fermented partly in stainless steel and partly in old oak. Lemony, yeasty scents with a touch of honey carry through to the palate with tropical fruits emerging along with racy acidity and a honeyed finish. It is fairly steely with a touch of lanolin. The oak is not apparent in the flavour. It has a good palate weight and length and is a quality wine at $16.00 a bottle. May2000.

Cedar Creek Chardonnay 1999Fairly, weighty (oily) in palate, peach, melons, simple, perhaps a wee touch of oak, quite nice flavour with a hint of tropical on the finish. 3***

Chard Farm Judge & Jury Chardonnay 1999 (Central Otago). Mealy, mealy wine. Light at first but really intensifies in the palate. Hints of apples - odd! Fruit hard to determine as masked by the complex character of the wine. A wine that will probably reward cellaring. Smoky finish and perhaps a hint of stewed guava. Voted most popular by the people at the tasting. $34.95. 7 Feb 2001

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 1999 Light gold with golden peach and honeyed fig aromas. Rich and full-bodied with spicy oak and mealy lees characters and peach, melon, fig and lifted oak lingering. 24Sep2001.

Clearview Estate Reserve Chardonnay 1999 ($33.95) Very rich and spicy with marmalade citrus bubble-gum oak. A big wine with nuances of vanilla custard. ****1/2 11 April 2001

Coopers Creek Swamp Reserve Chardonnay 1999 A softly smoky nose with a touch of meat. Very rich in the palate with fig, underlying stone fruit and beautiful French oak lifting the texture. Very classy wine. Would be a perfect accompaniment to peach wrapped in pancetta. $27. 22Oct2001.

Corbans Chardonnay 1999 Aromas of grilled pineapple and flavours of tropical and stone fruit layered with citrus and melded together with warm mellow oak. A very appealing and drinkable wine and with its recommended price of $13.95 it is unbelievably good value. This is one of the wines in the Corbans 'varietal' range, identified by the stylistic fern frond and is a blend of three regions, Marlborough, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne. It is good to see a wine of this quality with the development of bottle age at an everyday affordable price. $13.95. 12May2002.

Corbans PB Chardonnay 1999 Mealy, malolactic style of Chardonnay. A touch of juicy fruit chewing gum. Melons, bananas. Lovely balance, flavour and length. Champion Chard @ NZ Wine Awards 2000. 28 Feb 2001

Corbans Winemakers Private Bin Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 1999 A rich full-bodied chardonnay with toasty melon and stonefruits at first then hints of tropical fruit and cape gooseberry with creamy oak and a dry finish. Three days later the taste proved the wine has the ability to age well. Now there's citrus and melon with a distinctive mealy richness and ripe smoky fig lingering on the warm buttercream finish. The classy French oak is well integrated in this excellent wine. $25. 16May2002.

Corbans Cottage Block Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 1999 ($26.95) Smoky grapefruit. Milky and Burgundian-like. Nuts, lees, peach, citrus, soft oak-smoky but not overpowering in palate. Very balanced. Elegant mulled spice on finish with a touch of marmalade lingering and an after kick of citrus zest. ***** 11 April 2001

Corbans Cottage Block Marlborough Chardonnay 1999 Lovely sweet oak aromas and in the mouth it is a very ripe style showing good development with toasty oak, nuts, peach & melon fruit, buttery creamy texture and a spicy ripe fruit finish. A big well-balanced wine with a big long finish. Drinking well now. $27.95. 30Jan2002.

Crossroads Reserve Chardonnay 1999 Lemon gold, seems slightly oxidised at first, the nose becomes quite salty, creamy, nutty, savoury with peach, fig and lemon flavours quite subtle against the backbone of hot spicy savoury oak and high-toned mealy, leesy influence leading into a long nutty savoury finish. Ready now. 6Jun2003.

Daniel Schuster Petrie Vineyard Chardonnay 1999 (Canterbury). Burgundian aromas. Most stinky French-like Chard I've smelt in a long time. Smoky and very milky, lemony, leesy with a sweet peachy flavour. Quite an individualistic style. No wonder. It is made by Daniel Schuster. You either love it or hate it. I liked it to taste. Don't know if I could drink more than a glass, though. $30.95 RRP. 20Mar2002.

Domaine George Michel La Reserve Chardonnay 1999 (Marlborough) An oaky mealy wine with plenty of spice and creamy malolactic influence. Excellent accompaniment to a rack of lamb with a blue cheese and walnut crust. July2001.

Esk Valley Reserve Chardonnay 1999 Rich, buttery aromas, spicy oak, fine and toasty with elegant refinement. Mealy and biscuity with spice, peach and melons. Hints of pineapple. Lovely lifted fruit. Really big and mouthfilling, fills out well in the palate. Very long lasting, satisfying aftertaste. Excellent potential. 18.5/20. Tasted 0/10/2000

Foxes Island Chardonnay 1999 medium gold colour with a honeyed, leesy bouquet. Rich and full-bodied with broad peach and fig, spiced honey oak and a sweet ripe, finish. A lovely big chardonnay that is nicely mellow with a long finish. Good drinking now. $34. 24Sep2001.

Goldridge Matakana Premium Reserve Chardonnay 1999 ($18.95). It is a classy wine with milky notes, hints of peaches and melons and sweet but subtle toasty oak that lingers nicely with the fruit. ****1/2 Feb 2001

Gibbston Valley Reserve Chardonnay 1999 (Central Otago). Attractive aroma subtle mealy complexities and a touch of citrus and a wee hint of bubblegum. Mealy, lemony in palate. Very complete. Vanillin. Warm. Finishes like pavlova very eggy and a little sugary. But otherwise lovely barrel-like complexities. Well-integrated oak not obtrusive. $27.95

Grove Mill Marlborough Chardonnay 1999 Subtle butterscotch aromas. Rich tropical. fruits. Very balanced complex well-made wine. 4.5 24 Jan 2001

Herons Flight Barrique Chardonnay 1999 ($29) is a golden colour with toasty rich flavours of fig and melon with a touch of honey emerging. July 2001

Isabel Estate Chardonnay 1999 Very toasty with figs and honey and lots of yeasty nuances. Long and full with sweet ripe peach flavours emerging. This is a rich wine, which needs food to accompany it. It was fermented in old oak, 90% wild ferment, 80% malolactic fermentation and lees stirred. 18/20. Nov 2000

Kawarau Estate Reserve Chard 99 Wood-smoked then gumdrop aromas. An earthy, smoky Chardonnay with stonefruit and apricot and some custard. Fairly high acidity with a little astringency lingering on palate. Debate on pronunciation of this name. $24.95. 6Feb2002.

Kemblefield Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 1999 (about $24) is a stylish wine with sweet, delicious peach, melon and juicy fruit flavours. There's a waft of smoke that lingers on the peachy finish of this youthful wine that will reward about 6 months in the cellar. ****1/2 March 2001

Kerr Farm Limited Release Kumeu Chardonnay 1999 Pale gold in colour. Rich, mealy, barrel fermentation scents, dried figs and pears and hints of butterscotch. Soft and round in the palate with firm, refreshing acidity, a touch of buttered golden delicious apples, well-integrated toasty oak and a long mellow finish where exotic, tropical fruit flavours and linger. A fruity lively style of wine, perfect for drinking in the afternoon, yet its smooth richness ensures it is also a style that will suit many foods. $23.95. WOTW 6 Aug2000.

Kumeu River Chardonnay 1999 100% barrel fermented with 20% new French oak. Honey scented oak with subtle toastiness gives way to subdued fruit aromas, reminiscent of fruit salad. The oak is dominant at first in the palate - the tiny component of new wood is making a statement here. However, there is quite delicious fruit underlying which quickly emerges. This is a wine of real class with a mouthful of tropical and exotic fruits, melon and peach. The texture is creamy and there's a nuttiness as well. A nice touch of citrus lifts the finish to leave a taste of sherbet lingering. One of NZ's top chardonnay. $35.00 May2000.

Kumeu River Maté's Vineyard Chardonnay 1999 Clear and brilliant with hues of gold. Vinously scented with melon and pear-like fruit. Immediately rich and mouthfilling with upfront oak making a short but pleasant appearance, the palate weight is excellent and sweet tropical fruits, melon and citrus flavours take over from the oak. Lovely balance and structure with a broad creamy texture and a touch of lively sherbet. Rich lingering flavours hints of peach and butterscotch and perhaps even a suggestion of roasted cashews. All the while the lemon-like citrus flavours emphasise the presence of the subtle acid and indicate this wine will be one that lasts well into the 21st century. $45. WOTW 14May2000.

Lake Chalice Chardonnay 1999 ($24.95) A huge rich wine. Full, rich, mealy characters with figs and melons. Well put together, "seamless'' with subtle oak emitting a butterscotch nuance. 18.5. 7 Mar 2001

Lombardi Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 1999 Rich toasty lees wine with plenty of oak work. Honey and figs on the slightly oxidative finish. $19. 24Sep2001.

Margrain Chardonnay 1999 Love these toasty buttery aromas without the 'over the top' characters that some wines get. 100% barrel fermented and about 40% malolactic. Rich and silky with spicy figs, melons, nectarines and a toasty finish. Very enjoyable. 18/20. Nov 2000.

Matakana Estate Chardonnay 1999 ($27) has vibrant aromas and rich fig, honeyed oak and toasty flavours. It's warm, long and flavoursome with a touch of spice lingering. July 2001

Mills Reef Reserve Chardonnay 1999 ($20.95). Creamy, smoky spice with a touch of honey. A very classy wine. Richly flavoured, mealy, Very nice. ***** 11 April 2001

Millton Opou Gisborne Chardonnay 1999 Yeasty, leesy, malolactic-influenced, barrel fermented style. Melon, tropical fruit, citrus. Toasty. A little honey. Not too buttery but quite milky leesy finish. Very nice initially but I don't think I could ddrink too much of this. 15Aug2001

Montana 'O' Chardonnay 1999 (Ormond Estate, Gisborne) Creamy texture, buttery, nutty, leesy with a butterscotch richness that is not overpowering. Pear and ginger nuances. Very finely balanced with beautifully integrated oak and a long lingering finish. A very classy wine. June 2001

Mt Difficulty Chardonnay 1999 (Central Otago). Butterscotch aromas. Spicy and hot, (hiqh alcohol), melons, stewed peach. Very oaky. 24 Jan 2001.

Nobilo Dixon Estate Chardonnay 1999 ($34.95) Grapefruit dominates with powdery peach. Bright citrus, nutty oak and a touch of butterscotch honey. A nice drink. **** 11 April 2001

Nobilos Tjeitjen Chardonnay 1999 (Gisborne) Toasty aromas - obviously Chardonnay. Fairly oaky, spice, hot, hints of butter and peach, toffee finish. Oak chips? 3.5*** 17 Jan 2001.

Okahu Estate Clifton Proprietors Reserve Chardonnay 1999 Bright, clear rich gold colour. Rich, toasty and strong mealy, leesy and dried fruit aromas. This is a wine that attacks the front half of the mouth. It's a warm, full-boded mouthful with fairly dominant buttery oak at first with rich tropical and pineapple fruit flavours, then abundant bready leesiness and some ripe stonefruits that loiter on the dry, custardy and aromatic fumé finish. Shows better integration and mellowing of the oak a couple of days later. 12.5% abv. Very enjoyable. July2001.

Palliser Estate Chardonnay 1999 Lemony oak aromas and opulent mealy characters with lots of buttery spice in the palate. Well balanced, rich and full. 17.5/20. Nov 2000.

Peregrine Back Road Chardonnay 1999 Unusual, yeast-dominated aroma. Yeasty at first in the palate. Full, rich weight. Fruit is hidden but slowly emerges so that the finish is tropical fruit and honey. 22Sep99.

Peregrine "Murfin" Chardonnay 1999 What a completely different wine. Spicy, prickly at first. Nice weight, some oiliness and a toasty (from the lees) tropical fruit flavour with pears on the finish. Lemon acidity emerges. The winemakers says he expects this wine to develop peaches, fresh bread and mineral complexity as it ages. 22Sep99.

Rippon Chardonnay 1999 Milky, leesy with subtle lemon, apricot stone fruits and emerging butterscotch. $23. 24Sep2001.

Selaks Founders Reserve Chardonnay 1999 Rich, toasty scents of peaches and melons. mouthfilling flavours of spicy oak and ripe peaches with soft mealy barrel fermentation characters and a butterscotch rich texture. A rock melon-like flavour lingers on the finish, which is very long, building on the spicy fruit structure of the wine. Gisborne fruit. 100% mlf. $22.95. WOTW 15Oct2000.

Seresin Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 1999 Honeyed and yeasty with heaps of barrel-ferment leesy characters. Rich and toasty in the normal Seresin style. Yes, I would like to drink this.

Siefried Nelson Chardonnay 1999 Floral aromas, very fruity in palate with zingy spice, nectarine, pineapple and other tropical fruit. Seems foreign in origin at first. A smidgen of oak that gets stronger. Quite juicy. 4**** 17 Jan 2001.

Seresin Estate Chardonnay 1999 Some leesy characters but simple, lemony flavours with a toasty oak backbone. Lifted finish with spicy peach and melon lingering. There's some residual sugar in this wine, which made it a bit sweet for me. The oak is nicely integrated (it has about 75% seasoned oak) and not at all dominant. 16/20. Nov 2000.

Stonecroft Chardonnay 1999 (Hawkes Bay) Subtle peachy and nutty aromas. Very rich, creamy, nutty and peachy flavours - lovely and rich and clean. Later a lemon citrus flavour emerges. Hazel nuts appear quite dominant on the finish and I also detected a touch of volatile acidity, which does not detract from the wine at all. Lovely balance and integration of components. Subtle oak and subtle malolactic fermentation (about 10 to 15%). Made in the same style as the chardonnay from the last few years. Completely barrel fermented and kept on the lees until January 2000.a month before release. A very elegant wine, as usual. Tasted 20/2/2000 at the Stonecroft release tasting.

Stoneleigh Rapaura Series Marlborough Chardonnay 1999 (about $24) is an oaky style with attractive citrus and stone fruit flavours. It is quite a tight wine at this stage of its life. Leesy and mellow with nutty, toasty oak and buttery flavours that linger on the finish with a hint of honey. (WOTW 22nd March) ***** March 2001

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 1999 ($24.95). Biscuity, sweet peachy fruit, new French oak, again that bubble gum character. Smoky oak and a toasty butterscotch-like finish. This is a chardonnay I really like and so does everyone else. ***** 11 April 2001

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 1999 Lime gold. Aromas ooze melon scents. Leesy with a touch of wet wool in the palate - a touch of Burgundy perhaps. Then rich ripe fruit fills the palate. Sweet vanillin and soft spice with melon & peach & a touch of orange linger on finish. Oak is very well balanced to the fruit. Style that pleases everybody. 2/3 Mendoza, rest clone 6. $25.95 13 June 2001

Saints Gisborne Chardonnay 1999 That first sniff makes the promises of the tastes to come - delicious stone fruit scents with a waft of honeyed oak and a ripe flavour of melons and stone fruit with pineapple and a reminder of dried bananas with just a splash of honey. Well-integrated oak adds a creamy complexity to this dry wine that has a hit of grapefruit acidity just as you swallow but this subdues to a mellow roundness and the flavours that linger are clean and long. 13.5% alc. About $16.95. WOTW 23Jan2000.

Te Mata Estate Chardonnay 1999 Fifty percent of this wine was fermented in stainless steel tank and underwent malolactic fermentation. The remaining fifty percent was barrel fermented. It is a dry, crisp wine with ripe, supple, forward stone fruits, honeysuckle and sherbet and mellow subtle oak. An early developing wine offering excellent drinking now. 7Mar2000.

Te Mata Elston Chardonnay 1999 Rich golden colour. Subtle barrel ferment aromas - lots of nutty, mellow oaky characters with some fresh peach scents. Very buttery and creamy in the palate with lemon acidity. Some tropical fruit notes are trying to creep in. Tight at this stage of its life compared with the '98, which was very forward very early. This is a rich full wine that will reward cellaring and John Buck says this is a 3 to 5 year prospect. 7Mar2000.

Tiritiri Gisborne Chardonnay 1999 Vanilla custard aromas. Warm and leesy in the plate with the custard flavour being joined by melon, tropical fruit and toasty caramel. The oak adds body and richness without intruding with its flavour. $20 ex cellar door. 16May2002.

Trinity Hill Gimblett Road Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 1999 ($34.95) Soft in the mouth, like satin. Lemon honey and nuts. Sherbet. Quite juicy and delicious. Subtle oak plays in the background, with toasty hot honey on the long finish. A terrific classy wine. Heady. ***** 11 April 2001
Closed aroma. Fat peachy fruit. Plenty of varnishy/toasty/creamy oak. Fills out well in palate and lingers well with concentrated flavours. 28Aug2001

Vidal Reserve Chardonnay 1999 Toasty spicy oak leaps out of the glass. Rich and mouthfilling with spicy peach fruit. Quite lifted and creamy with good weight. Oatmeal flavours emerge. Very long and powerful finish. Good potential for the future. 18/20 Tasted 30/10/2000
Great aromas rich, spicy flavours, toasty popcorn, mealy. Fig and nectarine. Stylish. Creamy. Fantastic balance, mouthfeel and length. A well deserving gold medal winner. 9 May 2001

Villa Maria Private Bin East Coast Chardonnay 1999 Butter, citrus, nuts, well balanced, shows a bit of class. Nice glycerol adds to the mouthfeel. Even a little honey on the finish. Gold medal in Canada Intervin. $13.95 9 May 2001

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Chardonnay 1999 Lemony, malolactic aromas. Rich, with a strong malolactic influence in the palate. Butterscotch emerges. I do not like this style. 15.5 /20. Tasted 30/10/2000

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 1999 Richer, more defined butterscotch, peach and melon flavours with spicy oak. Toast peach flavours linger. Prefer this wine to the Marlborough version today. 16.5/20. Tasted 30/10/2000

Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 1999 Rich, mealy wine in barrel ferment characters, leesy, spicy oak, peach and nectarine fruits. Classy wine with heaps of potential ahead of it. Full, weighty, almost chewy. Intensifies on the finish. 18/20. Tasted 30/10/2000
Butterscotch, yeasty aromas. Mealy, nutty, buttery oak. Honey. Fig, melon flavours. Dry with sweet ripe fruit. Lots of interesting complexities. Pretty smart. 14% alcohol makes it quite warm. $28.95 9 May 2001

Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 1999 Toasty scents, buttery with spicy oak and leesy characters. Peaches again. A savoury note (wild ferment?), malolactic - but well integrated and balanced malo. A rich, full powerful wine with some citrus emerging on the finish. 18/20. Tasted 30/10/2000
Gold colour. A touch of toffee on the nose. Varnishy at first then warm yeasty honeyed oak in palate. Biscuity, lemon, quite a polished style. Some underlying juicy fruit. Oak and butter linger on finish- in fact oak seems a little dominant. NZ$34.95. 12Dec2001.

Waitiri Creek Chardonnay 1999 (Central Otago). Another chard with a honeyed nose & citrus & tropical fruits. A smoky note too. But not the intensity of the Akarua. Nice balance, delicate citrus and some honeyed toastiness lingering on the finish. Would be nice with a cray or rich fish that doesn't want too much oak. $23.95. 7 Feb 2001. A few days later quite pleasant citrus and some marmalade but oak a little dominant. Therefore an earlier drinking style.

William Hill Chardonnay 1999 (Central Otago). Bubble gum aromas on the nose. Bubblegum, peaches and pears in the palate. Gentle wine, not startling but of solid bronze quality. Malolactic interferes with flavours. A creamy nutty overtone. 16/20. FG Sept99.

West Brook Barrique Ferment Chardonnay 1999 ($18.90), a blend of Auckland and Marlborough grapes, is a classy wine with dominant stone fruit flavours and spicy oak. It has a creamy texture, great body and flavour. **** March 2001

1998 Vintage [top] [index]

Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay 1998 Rich, mealy barrel ferment aromas and flavours with a nutty rich, roundness. In the palate there's a citrus, sherbet lift with prickly, spicy flavours from the barrels and peach and nectarine flavours from the fruit. There's a lovely weight and concentration and a good punch of alcohol. This is a very classy wine with heaps of elegance and style. $32.00. 23Aug99.

Ata Rangi Petrie Chardonnay 1998 Heaps of oak and peachy flavours make this a very easy to drink, pleasing chardonnay. There's some elegant components but I think the wine is just a little simple for the price. $25.00. 23Aug99.
Lime gold. Immediately recognisable as a classy Chardonnay. Nutty honey aromas. Leesy, mealy characters, mlf, Creamy, very little oak. Lemon and honey-flavoured butterscotch fills the palate. 14Mar2001.

Brajkovich Signature Series Chardonnay 1998 Rich, pale gold, colour. Malolactic aromas overlain with oatmeal. Creamy, not really buttery and no discernible oak - the wine was made in old barrels. An elegant style with soft acids and faint citrus, perhaps a hint of stone fruit. It is mellowing quite nicely after a few months in the bottle. It has a gentle finish with a lovely ripeness of stone fruits with those of the nectarine variety being more dominant. RRP about $18.00. 22Jul99.

Church Road Cuve Series Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 1998 Bright lemon gold in colour. This is an amazingly classy wine, very youthful for its three years of age but showing nice toasty developed characters. Appealing toasty scents with honeyed biscuity oak and lemon meringue. A creamy and elegantly rich mouthfilling wine with lemon, melon, pineapple and fig on a toasty backbone that has plenty of mealy, warm, cashew-like barrel-ferment characters. Complex and harmonious with a satiny texture and grapefruit zest lingering on the finish before a lovely nutty sweetness fills the mouth on the aftertaste. Top class. New release. Tasted 21Sep2001.

Church Road Chardonnay Reserve 1998 Toasted peaches and mellow oak aromas. Nice fruit, weight, and class. Excellent length and flavour. If it has malo, it is very well done. Butterscotch on the finish. Very very rich right now. Will develop nicely with a little bit of cellaring. Very good. I can drink this wine. Tasted 20/12/99.

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 1998 A rich, fat. toasty, buttery, style with spicy oak, figs and stonefruits. It is very rich, very full with a butterscotch finish. This has developed very well since I last tasted several months ago. 17.5/20. Nov 2000

Covell Estate Chardonnay 1998 From an organic vineyard at Galatea in the Central North Island. Quite a developed golden colour. Nutty scents and buttery flavours with little oak influence developing to peaches and baked apple flavour with a touch of spice on the finish. Long and dry. Excellent with baked chicken drumsticks - organic chicken, of course. Tasted July 2001

Daniel Schuster Petrie Vineyard Selection 1998 It smells distinctly Burgundian with leesy aromas and a richness of buttery oak. Full and flavoursome in the palate with spicy oak, fig-like fruit and a butterscotch richness, a hugely powerful wine with concentration, power and a harmonious marriage of fruit and oak. And it has the x-factor that gives it some individualism amongst run-of-the-mill copy cat chardonnays that proliferate the market these days. Tasted with cerviche of snapper with shaved coconut, palm heart and a cumin flavouring, with this food the butterscotch richness of this wine emerges even more. It is just so lush and full and rich and powerful with the taste lasting for ages. $30. WOTW 28May2000.

Domaine Georges Michel Marlborough Chardonnay 1998
A delicate little wine that is pale lemon in colour and at first I thought the wine was unoaked, but it's had 4 months in new French. A fruti driven wine, the aromas are reminiscent of hazelnuts and lollies with a hint of stonefruit while lemon citrus and peaches fill the palate with a backing of caramel and vanilla. Creamy textured with mouth-filling richness on the finish and lingering butterscotch. About $20. WOTW 18Jul1999.

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 1998
Barrel ferment aromas with fig and a delicious nutty and butterscotch flavour followed by citrus fruit. Lovely texture and weight in the mouth with with spicy oak and a refreshing touch of acidity. Definitely figs on the follow-through and perhaps a touch of tobacco too with yeast lees characters and finally butterscotch again. $18. WOTW 13Jun1999.

Esk Valley Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 1998 Leesy, mlf-influenced, tending to honeycomb, butterscotch and caramel corn. Touch of spicy oak and sweaty melons/nectarine. But disappointing tonight. Some lanolin characters reminiscent of some Burgundy wines that I have tasted. Dry, nutty, leesy, mealy finish. 25July2001.

Forrest Marlborough Chardonnay 1998 Attractive barrel-ferment and oak aromas with peachy tones emerging. Mealy flavours dominate the palate at first, then spicy oak emerges. Fruit flavours are of the stone varieties. Some 'sour orange' flavours emerge on the finish. It's a big wine and very flavoursome. Although I found it a little disintegrated in the palate at this stage, it's still a baby and it has the potential to develop into a blockbuster with a year-or-so's ageing. RRP $19.95. 25Aug1999.

Kumeu River Chardonnay 1998 Fruit comes a selection of five vineyards, predominantly Mendoza Clone. Toasty subdued aromas from the subtle use of oak. Lovely, full, upfront, mouth filling flavours - creamy, buttery and nutty. Lovely balance. Warm, spicy, oak characters, Excellent toasty length. It has good acidity and opens up even more on the finish leaving lovely ripe melon and stone fruits flavours lingering. A beautiful wine. RRP $33 - $34. 22Jul99.

Kumeu River Maté's Vineyard Chardonnay 1998 Subdued nose at first. Later quite tropical with an inviting richness - even some floral tones and a touch of toasty oak from the Sequin Moreau barrels of which 30% were new. In the palate are pears, peaches, bananas and pineapple fruit with a lovely balance of acid and warm alcohol. Lees stirring is apparent from the creamy nuttiness (but seemingly more integrated than in the KR Chardonnay). Much later the wine has gorgeous butterscotch, honeyed, toasty aromas with a touch of creaminess and is much more nutty and leesy and lifted in the palate. Excellent length. "Yum" sums it up quite nicely!! A fantastic wine - one of the best I've tasted from the 1998 vintage. $38 - $40. 22Jul99.

Mahurangi Estate Gisborne Mendoza Chardonnay 1998 Oak dominates the aroma at first then perfumes of peach and peach blossoms waft by. In the palate stone fruit and some oiliness. Oak fills out in the cheeks and dominates on the finish with some acidity to lift it. This wine is too young and needs to soften, which it will do with time. 22/11/98 Rating Good.

Mission Reserve Chardonnay 1998 ($25.95) Figs and oak on the nose. Heaps of warm mealy oak in the palate. Mellow, malo characters. A smoky, robust wine with sweet fruit lingering. One to improve in the cellar. 17.5. 7 Mar 2001

Montana Gisborne Chardonnay 1998: This wine is always one of the first releases of the new vintage and always the first chardonnay. Aromas of melon and honey and in the palate lashings of tropical fruit with just the slightest hint of oak. A firm wine that again shows that 1998 will be one of New Zealand's best. ****

Montana Renwick 'R' Marlborough Chardonnay 1998 ($25.95). Nutty, leesy, pineapple, citrus and stone fruits. Smoky oak, bubble gum, bacon and classy sweet fruit in a Burgundian style. Rich and mouthfilling very balanced. ****1/2 11 April 2001

Mt Riley Marlborough Chardonnay 1998
There's nothing pretentious about this rich, full flavoured, well-coloured, lemon-gold wine with its strong melon, nectarine and tropical fruit influence and buttery texture. The barrel fermentation imparts a nutty sweetness to the taste, the acids are soft yet with 14% alcohol there's plenty of weight. The flavours intensify in the palate and the finish is long, warm and replete with lingering flavours of nuts and toasty vanillin spicy oak. $14.95. QPR. WOTW 5Dec1999.

Seresin Estate Reserve Chardonnay 1998 This is more like it. It's got everything I love in a chardonnay. A fine, complete wine with layers of flavour. The aromas grab you with their delicious, appealing scents and in the palate it's toasty with integrated oak, figs, melons and stonefruit. Ripe and delicious with a very long length. This is very dry, very Burgundian in style and undoubtedly one of the best Chardonnays I've tried in a long time. 19/20. Nov 2000.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay 1998 (Marlborough) Aromatic and bubblegum-like ok with lots of toasty peach. Interesting texture, wam and a touch of viscocity. (K. says caramel and Créme brulée). Nice barrel-ferment characters and a touch of claay mealiness. Spicy peach lingers. Tasted 22/12/99 at Kingsley's 'Wines of the Year'.

Saints Gisborne Chardonnay 1998 This wine has all the hallmarks of being another runaway success story for the Saints label. It is deliciously approachable now with the up-front oak and flavours of peach and citrus combining to provide lovely drinking now and over the forthcoming summer months. Gisborne has long been regarded as the Chardonnay capital of New Zealand and with the hot summer of 1998 producing fabulously ripe fruit and top quality wines such as this one, it is ensured the crown will remain in the area. WOTW w/e 20Dec1998.

St Jerome Chardonnay 1998 (Hawkes Bay) Butterscotch with peach and perhaps melon fruit. Other flavours include butter, vanilla, cream hazelnuts and oak. - all characteristics of barrel fermentation. Nicely balanced and pleasing finish. 27/3/99 Rating: Very good.

Te Mata Estate Elston Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 1998
The aromas are closed at first but become quite Burgundian later with an overlay of nuts and cream. Much much later it is just so wonderfully scented and inviting. In the palate, dominant nutty, bready and biscuity flavours and lots of lees characters well balanced to the fruit - lemon perhaps - with subtle oak and butterscotch coming through on the finish. Sweet exotic fruit flavours linger with the spicy oak. A big mouthfilling wine with heaps of glycerol giving a very satisfying completeness. Fantastic ripeness and balance, wonderful complexity and length. $26.55 ex winery. WOTW 2May1999.

TW The Golden Slope Growers Selection Chardonnay 1998. Just heaps and heaps of lemony, buttery oak which dominates the palate. Pity, it leaves a really weird finish tending almost toward rancid butter and banana esters. FG 14Oct2000.

Villa Maria Private Bin East Coast Chardonnay 1998 A blend of Gisborne and Hawkes Bay fruit. Nice weight. Malolactic quite dominant (to me anyway). Sweet, tropical, melony fruit with a touch of ginger spice and a toasty complexity on the finish. A fairly simple wine in comparison with Villa's other chard numbers, but good drinking at the price (under $15). Tasted 10/11/99.

West Brook Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 1998
A blend of Auckland and Gisborne fruit. This wine is not so pronounced with oak as the Blue Ridge yet there is still plenty of it there. Citrus drives the flavour with a barrel ferment 'mealy' character. Rich and mouthfilling with good weight, very drinkable chardonnay. 10Oct1999.

West Brook Blue Ridge Barrel Fermented Marlborough Chardonnay 1998
An oaky wine with fresh nectarine and plum on the nose and heaps of tropical fruit and warm toasty oak in the palate with a a spicy, toasty, buttery finish. $21.95. WOTW 10Oct1999.

Wither Hills Chardonnay 1998 Subdued nose - has the potential of the 1997 nose, though. Smoky, but very elegant and classical. Later quite perfumed. Much later, tropical fruit. Toasty at first in the palate. Peachy fruit. Smoky nuances linger with ripe fruit then taking over. Quite subtle complexity White peaches and cream with a touch of spicy oak and a toasty finish. Lovely balance. A very very good wine. 12Oct99.

Older Vintages [top] [index]

Caves Fauchon Machon Uchizy 1996 ($14.95 at Vinotica, reduced from $25.50) White Burgundy - when first opened, strongly lamoilin-like, little oak influence and a hint of nuts. Later it really opened up to be quite yeasty, mealy, malolactic, buttery, creamy and nutty. Quite full of flavour with crisp acidity and lemon lingering on the finish. **** March 2001

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 1996 Rich gold compared to the 1998. Some developed characters tensing towards a Burgundian style, with very integrated, mellow oak. Its rich, full and long with juicy fruit tending toward the tropical spectrum with hints of pineapple emerging. 17//20. Nov 2000

Corbans PB Chardonnay 1993 Another deep and bright lime gold. Developed tropical fruits, melons, nuts, and pineapple. Very lively, vibrant an excellent wine and terrific for its age. 28 Feb 2001

Corbans PB Chardonnay 1996 Lime gold - fairly bright. Lovely creamy wine, slightly oaky but well integrated. A fruity wine. Melons abound. Some butterscotch emerging on the finish. Very nice. I quite like this - it's just a little chilled. Good mouthfeel and long, mouthfilling finish. 28 Feb 2001

Hunter's Marlborough Chardonnay 1997
Brilliantly coloured lively pale gold, new French oak and citrus on the nose, full and fat, luscious and rich in the palate. Buttery oak, ripe citrus and stone fruit, beautifully balanced acids and a spicy finish. $21.95. WOTW 15Aug1999.

Katnook Coonawarra Chardonnay 1997 (Aus). Rich, toasty, oaky, spicy, peppery fruit with figs and things. Quite dominant malo. An oak bomb and not my style. Mellow finish with barrel-ferments flavours lingering on the finish. A very powerful wine and far too rich for me. Tasted 22/12/99 at Kingsley's 'Wines of the Year'.

Kemblefield Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 1997
Bright lemon gold with a tinge of lime with a deeply satisfying lemon oak aroma. Richly flavoured with butterscotch, nuts and stonefruit on a creamy texture with peaches, nectarines and vanillin oak persisting on the smooth, creamy mouthfilling finish. $21.95. WOTW 4Apr1999.

Mission Hawkes Bay Jewelstone Chardonnay 1996 A rich toasty, honeyed wine with opulent full scents, buttery oak and sweet mealy components. Poached peaches were strong on the finish with lingering butterscotch and toffee. Tasted with food (which it defitely needed), Dec 2000.

Montana 'O' Chardonnay 1996: This wine is from the Ormond region in Gisborne. Rich, full-bodied, dominant oak at this stage, lovely balance and excellent varietal characters. *****

Morton Estate Black Label Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 1996
This wine just screams CLASS. Three years into its life and it is just blooming with elegance and richness. It 's a brilliant gold in colour with leesy scented aromas of butterscotch, stone fruits and sweet oak. In the palate there is creamy peachy fruit, toasty, spicy oak and a sweet nutty and mealy complexity. It finishes with a lemony hint and an excellent length of a nutty, oaky flavour that lingers for a long time. Remarkably youthful for a 1996, showing no aged character as it develops and unfolds. A huge wine, really, with its 13.5% alcohol. About $33.00. WOTW 9May1999.

Morton Estate White Label Chardonnay 1996 This wine has rich, peachy, honey sweet, malo aromas. In the mouth the malolactic influence continues, honeyed and sweetish, full-bodied with high alcohol. In the mid palate developed characters start to appear. It has a lovely mouth feel on the finish. A vey pleasing and enjoyable wine. Tasted 7/4/99

Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 1996 A tight knit wine. Rich yet mellow, with leesy, mealy characters, emerging butter and a honeyed citrus lemon-butter tinge and stonefruits. Very balanced, no obvious oak . A very elegant, very fine wine with years ahead of it. Tasted with food, Dec 2000.

Rabbit Ridge 'Burrow' Chardonnay 1996 At first dominantly oaky and noticeable malololactic on the nose. Quite a nice array of flavours, at first predominantly peach then later all sorts of complexities - perhaps melon, plus nuts (sweetish, like cashews) plus a hint of tobacco. Rich, full flavours, with good balance and persistent aftertaste. If judging I think this would have got a bronze or silver, but again could have less because of that awkward part of the malolactic character, which dissipates in the finish of the wine. Overall, a good wine. Tasted 28 Mar 1999

Stonecroft Chardonnay 1994 Deep gold in colour. Quite developed, with an oxidative air, it's mellow and soft in the palate and tastes better than the nose suggested. There's good fruit weight and richness and the oak is totally integrated now. 13.5% alc. 29Feb2004.

Te Mata Estate Chardonnay 1997 Te Mata's flagship Elston Chardonnay has been joined by a new and cheaper stablemate, the Estate Chardonnay. And what a little beauty has emerged with the second vintage of this wine, the 1997. The greeny-gold wine has heaps of oak on the nose, while buttery, malolactic fermentation (MLF) characters, are apparent in the mouth. But the MLF is elegantly done and the result is not overpowering. Then the fruit emerges and takes over. The wine leaves a lovely persistence with lots of flavours bouncing off the tastebuds - oak, stone fruit, citrus fruits and an interesting 'pink bubble-gum' flavour I find in many young NZ oaked whites. Quite satisfying and pleasing. WOTW w/e 22Nov1998.

Villa Maria Hawkes Bay Cellar Selection Chardonnay 1997 I found the malolactic component quite dominant in this wine, with an overpowering milky, acidity. The flavours were peachy with a mealy component from the 8 months spent on yeast lees while in the barrel. While a good wine, I would like a bit more time for the components to settle. *** Sep1998.

Villa Maria Marlborough Cellar Selection Chardonnay 1997 Michelle explained that this wine and the previous wine had exactly the same handling in the winery. Therefore the wines showed "what the vintage said in the region". I preferred this wine to the previous. It had nice oak and a better integration of the malolactic component. The lemon citrus flavours combined well with the leesy characters. **** Sep1998.

Wither Hills Chardonnay 1997 Fantastic aromas - someone has crushed 'Round Wine' biscuits into it. In the plate it is quite fat - like too much butter. Sweet fruit - pepino, melon, with spicy oak adding complexity. 100% B.F., lees stirred for 12 months, some MLF. 12Oct99.

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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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