This was a surprise entry, from our judge Michael Turner, and deservedly came 4th place in the WineFolio Top 10 Chardonnay Tasting in September. Intrigued, I tracked down the winemaker, Jane Cooper, at the label’s new Cellar Door in Greytown and bought a couple of bottles of the same wine to try again later – at a tasting you may only have a few sips of a certain wine, and I wanted to really take a little time with this ‘undiscovered gem’ of a wine. Last night was that chance.
A pale green-gold with vibrant aromas of lemon, pear, roast hazelnut, peach and a touch of baking spice. Taut, structured and with great concentration of flavour. A spine of electric acidity drives the wine through layers of fruit, light tannins, phenolics, and keeps going to a long, lingering finale. Framed with a toasty, biscuity lick of oak, the fruit really shines through. On the journey through these complex layers, you’ll find at various points… candied ginger, oyster shell, muesli, tarragon, blanched almond.
I found a fascinating balance between savoury and sweet here – at times seeming to flit between the two from sip to sip. The savoury side showing herbal, mineral and oatmeal elements, the sweeter with the stonefruit, citrus, nougat and nuts. It took a good chill as well – the first glass wasn’t quite chilled enough (for my tastes, and I do tend for room temperature for Chardonnay), and enjoyed the second, colder, glass more.
You could say the style is ‘a fruity burgundy’ but actually I’d argue that that is exactly what Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay is – at it’s best. This wine is from Hawke’s Bay (sorry, sworn to secrecy on the vineyard source) and it fits the bill completely. It’s a complete wine. And a complete revelation. From the moniker it’s clear that Jane made this for her partner, but I’d advise getting hold of some of this, pronto. I’ll be on the lookout for more, and heaven only knows how good the 2019 might be..
At the Top 10 Tasting, this averaged a score of 93.3pts between 6 judges. On my own review I’m saying it’s 95pts, and great buying at the current RRP.