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Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay 2018
Situated just north-west of Auckland, the family-run Kumeu River winery has built a solid international reputation for elegant, Burgundy-style Chardonnays. Despite the winery’s sultry northerly location, the vines are planted just 20km from the Tasman Sea and 30km from the Pacific Ocean which both help to keep summer temperatures under 30°C. This cooling effect ensures ideal conditions for creating fresh, aromatic white wines which really give their French counterparts a run for their money.
Kumeu’s Hunting Hill Chardonnay is a single vineyard wine sourced from a sloping site which tends to ripen early and contributes a distinctive stony minerality and lemon blossom aroma to the wine. The grapes are carefully hand-harvested and fermented with indigenous yeasts in oak before spending 11 months maturing in used barrels. This adds a smooth, rounded texture to the wine without overwhelming the bright lemon, pineapple and pink grapefruit essence of the varietal.
Thanks to the mouthwatering freshness and intense fruit flavours, this sophisticated Chardonnay offers significant ageing potential and will continue to develop if cellared up to 2026. When you do decide to drink it, pair with roast chicken seasoned with herbs, lobster or strongly-flavoured cheeses to match the concentrated flavour profile of the wine.
Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 2017
The Chateau Montelena Chardonnay is one of the world’s most famous white wines thanks to the Judgement of Paris wine competition in 1976 which helped put the estate on the map. The competition pitted top wines from Burgundy against wines from California which were all tasted blind by the panel of French wine experts. To the surprise of the world, the judges selected the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay as the best white wine, placing it ahead of many famous white Burgundies.
Despite winning this competition, the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay has remained remarkably affordable and still offers exceptional value for money for those looking for an alternative to expensive white Burgundies. Following vinification the young wine is aged in French oak barrels for 10 months to add extra complexity and depth.
On the nose there are intense hints of white peaches, green apples and lemon zest while the first sip reveals a generous full body, soft tannins, and rich tropical fruit flavours which linger long on the tongue. There are delicious hints of sweet spices, smoke, and toast from the oak ageing. This is a wine that is delicious to drink now, although it can also be cellared for at least another decade for those that have the patience to wait.
Jermann Were Dreams 2018
Immediately charming on the nose, this rich Chardonnay opens with intense aromas of tropical fruit, sweet pastries and citrus. The first sip reveals a creamy texture, full body, and succulent pineapple, mango and grapefruit flavours that linger long on the tongue. This bold Chardonnay is an excellent option for pairing with creamy chicken dishes, mushroom risottos, or baked cheeses thanks to the powerful flavour profile.
Jermann carefully source the wine for this sensational bottle from prime vineyards which are predominantly planted on sandstone. Following the harvest and vinification process the wine is transfered to small French oak barrels for at least 11 months to add extra complexity and the characteristic rich, buttery character that is so typical of oak aged Chardonnay.
The unusual name of this wine is testament to the many name changes that this wine has undergone since it was first produced in 1987. The wine is dedicated to the U2 song entitled “Where the streets have no name” and was originally named “Where the Dreams have no end…” The winery leaves the interpretation of this quirky reference up to the drinker, inviting everyone who opens the bottle to reflect on their own dreams.
Montille Chateau de Puligny Montrachet Bourgogne Clos du Chateau 2017
“Le Clos du Chateau” is the name of the five hectare viineyard which sits right in front of the Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet and is entirely enclosed by walls. The site includes Chardonnay vines which are up to 80 years old, producing a wine with intense fruit character and minerality from the prized Puligny terroir. The grapes are all harvested by hand to ensure they arrive in the winery in optimum condition.
Two-thirds of the grape must is fermented and aged in oak barrels while the remainder is vinified in neutral tanks. On the nose there are inviting hints of fresh peaches, lemon zest and lime blossom while the first sip reveals a bright freshness, medium body and subte toasty hints from the fermentation and maturation in oak.
The estate has enjoyed a dramatic revival since the arrival of Etienne de Montille in 2001 and the subsequent purchase of the property by Etienne and a group of investors in 2012. Etienne has introduced significant changes including converting the estate to organic and biodynamic grape growing and reducing the influence of oak barrels in the winery. This hard work has already begun to pay off with the quality of the wines soaring in recent years and receiving serious attention from international wine critics.
Catena Zapata Catena Alta Chardonnay 2018
The Catena family’s Alta Chardonnay is one of Argentina’s most famous white wines thanks to its unique flavour profile and the passion of the Catenas for making inspiring high mountain wines at the foot of the Andes Mountains. Grapes are sourced from the family’s prime Adrianna vineyard which sits at 1450 metres above sea level in the Uco Valley and Domingo vineyard at 1120 metres of altitude.
The Adriana vineyard is particularly prized for its calcareous soils and cool nights even during high summer which gives the wine a distinctive minerality and incredible purity. In the winery the grapes are treated with a light touch and are fermented with wild yeasts in large oak casks. The young wine is then matured in French oak barrels for 14 months.
The result is a remarkably elegant Chardonnay with a rich full body, smooth creamy texture and ripe tropical fruit flavours balanced by a burst of freshness. The finish is pure and clean with zesty hints which make this a great match for roast chicken, pan-fried fish or creamy cheeses. While very drinkable right now, this is a wine which will age gracefully if cellared for up to another eight years or so.
Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay 2018
The Jordan story began in 1982 when Ted and Sheelagh purchased the 164 hectare estate in Stellenbosch and began to replant the land with varieties which were best suited to the local terroir. In 1993 Ted and Sheelagh’s son, Gary, and his wife Kathy took over the running of the estate and set the winery on a path to producing world-class wines.
Gary and Kathy focus their attention on the natural advantages of their vineyards which are blessed with a pleasant Mediterranean climate and need little intervention in the winery to produce outstanding wines. The hot summers are cooled by breezes and early morning mists coming from the nearby Atlantic and Indian Oceans which helps to preserve a balancing acidity in their wines.
Made with grapes sourced from the couple’s top vineyard, the Chardonnay vines used for this wine face south and east which helps to moderate temperatures and create an delicate aromatic character in the grapes. The result is a vibrant and elegant Chardonnay which bursts with fresh lime and lemon zest along with gentle hints of vanilla from the barrel fermentation and 11 months of maturation on the lees. The first sip reveals a rich creamy texture and intense fresh tropical fruit flavours which linger long on the tongue.