Matt Connell Lowburn SV Chardonnay 2019

Matt Connell Chardonnay 2019

I love that I get to review this wine again, as not only do I rate it highly – I reviewed the 2018 version in May, after Matt gave me a bottle when I visited him at his Cellar Door in Cromwell this year. But it is a chance to talk about vintage variation. Winemakers cannot and do not make the same wine year upon year. The labels on the bottles may look the same from year to year, with just the numbers changing.. but each year is a unique insight into what the winemaker did (what they could) with that years fruit. You’ll hear wine people talking about ‘great vintages’ – for example, Michael Brajkovich MW, of Kumeu River, described the 2019 for him as “an exceptional Vintage of unsurpassed quality”. And, generally the 2019 wines released so far have been well received and awarded. A winemaker will only get so many attempts at making the perfect wine though – vintage only happens once a year. So, what does this new vintage of a Chardonnay that I loved the previous incarnation, of bring?

Again, it’s a Central Otago Chardonnay from a single vineyard site in Lowburn. Light lemon-green in the glass, with a bright nose of braeburn, lemon blossom, almond and shortbread on the nose. A focussed and intense palate of nectarine, nashi, guava, salted caramel, and fresh tarragon herbals. Linear and deep, but with bags of toasty oak, tight acidity and with a generous, softening texture.

The structure and balance is spot on. Again, towards the finish there is that salinity that is beginning to define these really good Central Chardonnays (look them up in other reviews on WF) – a quartzy, shingle, shell-like nuance that also brings a little drying pithyness to the long, memorable finish

94pts. I’m delighted that I like this one even more than the last one. Yes, I’m sure the top vintage conditions have assisted, but this is a beautifully crafted wine – get one for now and a couple for the cellar.

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