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Felsina I Sistri Chardonnay 2017
Although the Felsina estate is best known for their legendary Chianti Classico red wines made with the traditional local Sangiovese grape, they have been producing this refined Chardonnay ever since the first vintage in 1987. The result of years of experimentation and research, the vines that produce these Chardonnay grapes are grafts from French clones that were planted on an area of the Felsina estate close to the Ombrone river.
Each harvest the grapes are carefully picked and selected by hand before being pressed and fermented in French oak barrels. The wine is then matured in the barrel for a year on the lees and undergoes daily battonage to help create a rich, creamy texture and complex flavour profile. When the maturation period is complete the wine is bottled and rested for at least three months before it is deemed ready for release.
The result is a deeply-coloured white wine with enchanting aromas of white peach, mango and vanilla. The first sip reveals a full body, firm structure and intense tropical fruit aromas along with hints of sweet baking spice balanced by a fresh acidity. The rich, buttery character of this Chardonnay makes it an ideal match for risottos, chicken served in a creamy sauce or hard cheeses.
Lothian Vineyards Chardonnay 2017
The cool climate of Elgin is ideal for producing elegant Burgundian-style whites and this example from Lothian Vineyards is no exception. This stunning wine is made with top quality grapes from the estate’s three blocks of Chardonnay vines which are harvested by hand at optimal ripeness. On arrival at the winery the grapes are pressed as whole bunches and allowed a period of skin contact to add complexity and structure to the wine.
Following fermentation in stainless steel tanks to preserve the graceful varietal character, the young wine is transferred to French oak barrels for 10 months. The result is a richly-flavoured white wine with enticing notes of white peach, apricot, vanilla, and lemon zest. On the palate there is a full body, intense flavours, and firm structure which will help the wine to age gracefully over the next five years or so.
Lothian Vineyards sits on the banks of the Palmiet River and boasts perfectly-sited vineyards planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. This stunning estate was born of the Wilson family’s long search to find the ideal spot to produce Burgundian-style red and white wines and now produces some of Elgin’s most elegant bottlings.
Orin Swift Mannequin 2016
This Chardonnay blend introduces five predominantly French varietals to create a unique wine unlike any other made in California. The winemaker originally conceived of this wine as a white blend, but Chardonnay from Carneros and Sonoma Valley became the dominant varietal. From these regions, the winemaker sources Chardonnay from particularly cool climate vineyards to showcase the best grapes in one of the best Chardonnay growing regions in the world.
In the glass, the wine has a pale straw color and releases aromas of granny smith apple, poached pear, jasmine and orange blossom. When tasting, an assertive mouthfeel and striking acidity give way to layers of honeysuckle, white peach and tangerine. The wine is aged in 40% new French oak and aged sur lie for nine months. This brings out lovely baking spice and crème brulee notes and an intoxicatingly creamy mouthfeel.
The vibrant acidity and lush mouthfeel make this a perfect accompaniment to assertive and sharp cheeses.
Orin Swift Cellars is owned and operated by David Swift Phinney. After falling in love with wine on a trip to Florence, Italy, he worked as a temporary harvester for Robert Mondavi Winery before starting Orin Swift Cellars in 1998. Orin comes from his father’s middle name while Swift is his mother’s maiden name.
Kumeu River Village Chardonnay 2018
Serve well chilled.
The story of Kumeu River is also the story of an adventurous family who left their small Croatian village in 1937 to create a new life on the other side of the world. At first life wasn’t easy, and Mick and Katé Brajkovich spent years doing backbreaking work for other farmers before they could afford to buy their own winery in Kumeu in 1944.
Today the family winery is looked after by the third generation of Brajkovichs and has gained international recognition for its refined Burgundy-style Chardonnays. Although Kumeu River is one of New Zealand’s most northerly wine regions, thanks to the cooling influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea conditions are perfect for producing vibrant, aromatic wines from early-ripening varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.
For their Kumeu River Village Chardonnay the family ferments just 25% of the wine in used French oak barrels with the remainder going into stainless steel tanks. The result is a fruit-forward, aromatic wine with ripe peach, lime and Sicilian lemon aromas and a crisp, cleansing freshness on the palate. There are also hints of a flinty minerality and a smooth, rounded mouthfeel, making this an excellent partner to creamy cheeses or a generous platter of fruits de mer.
Roxanich Milva Chardonnay 2010
Although Mladen Rožanić only released his first vintage in 2008, he has quickly developed a cult following amongst natural wine aficionados. His unique bottlings take inspiration from both traditional Istrian winemaking methods and his extensive travels which enabled him to work alongside some of the world’s top winemakers.
Mladen’s Milva is often described as a Mersault-style Chardonnay thanks to its rich, luscious style which quickly seduces fans of orange wines. The hard work begins in the vineyard where Mladen insists on organic farming practices to produce the best quality grapes possible. When the grapes arrive at the winery they undergo a week-long maceration to extract plenty of colour, aromas and flavours from the skins. After a wild yeast fermentation the wine is aged in large wooden casks for a total of six years until Mladen decides it is ready for release.
Pour yourself a glass of this special Chardonnay and you’ll immediately notice the gorgeous amber hue and complex, multi-layered aromas of nutmeg, almonds, jasmine and tropical fruits. These aromas carry on to the palate where they are complemented by hints of minerality, a generous full body and a very long finish. Try pairing Milva with pan-fried salmon or veal dishes to complement the intense flavour profile and firm structure of this unique wine.
Domaine Vessigaud Pouilly-Fuisse Vieilles Vignes 2017
Unlike some of its more northerly cousins, the Macon sub-region remains an excellent place to source excellent white Burgundy with an accessible price-tag. Made in a richer and riper style thanks to the slightly warmer climate here, these are generous full-bodied Chardonnays with plenty of tropical fruit character and toasty oak notes.
This bottling from Domaine Vessigaud is crafted from “vieilles vignes” or “old vines” which are between 40-80 years of age. They grow on stony and calcareous soils which helps to give plenty of aromatic character and a touch of minerality to the wine. To ensure the highest quality possible all of the vines are harvested by hand and the wine is then fermented in a combination of barrels, casks and stainless steel tanks. The wine is then aged in used French oak barrels for 12 months before bottling and release.
Domaine Vessigaud is a boutique family-run winery which was established in 1839 and owns some of Pouilly-Fuisse’s finest vineyard plots. Remarkably the estate is still in the hands of the same family today and current owner Pierre Vessigaud represents the 5th generation to make wine on the property.