One thing I’ve had a couple of requests to comment on, and write about, is ageing of wines – in particular the question of “how well, or long, can the best of New Zealand wines be kept for – and do they improve with age?” I’ll look at this in depth in an article in a couple of weeks, but I did have a tasting recently looking at some (but not all) local Bordeaux-style reds with up to thirty years of age in the bottle – https://winefolio.co.nz/?p=6178. And this review today is a chance to look at a top Chardonnay from an iconic vineyard, but ten years apart. Thanks to Curt Thomas and Stephan Wallender for the opportunity to do this!
Fromm Clayvin Chardonnay 2020
A very pale green-lemon in the glass, opening with a crushed-shell minerality, lemon peel, nashi pear, blanched almond and grapefruit on the nose. Delicate, with an underlying power that isn’t showy or blowsy, but super structured, taut and sinewy. The acidity is electric, with a citric note and a jazzy line and drive. Well balanced – the fruit is not just ripe, but has a lightly astringent tannin edge and pithyness. Very subtley oaked, and with a complex, layered palate that keeps delivering new discoveries as the wine evolves in your glass. Sweet, then savoury; chalky then peppery. The finish is elongated and sweetening. 94pts
Fromm Clayvin Chardonnay 2010
A bright, golden straw colour in the glass, with golden aromatics to match. Peach, ripe pear, oyster shell, white pepper, chestnut, acacia and lemon blossom on the nose. At twelve years in bottle, this is showing some age, and the acidity has muted. Nicely integrated and harmonious in the palate though. Good toasty oak, a honeyed edge to the fruit, and still that signature minerality, layered through. Green olive, fennel and chamomile notes at the back, and a lovely smooth texture. The finish is drier and with a pithy tang to it. 93pts
Interesting to see the family resemblance across a decade here. Delicately oaked, a bright minerality and a savoury edge above fruitiness. Tight, clean and focussed wines.