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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.
Tzora Judean Hills Blanc 2018
Crafted from Chardonnay and a smaller proportion of Sauvignon Blanc, the Tzora Judean Hills white is a stunning testament to the potential of this up-and-coming region. The vines are planted on the hillsides where they are cooled by breezes from the mountains as well as mists from the nearby Mediterranean Sea. The soils are composed of limestone and terra rossa which help to create wines with great depth and complexity while retaining a bright freshness to balance the intense fruit character.
On the nose there are ample aromas of lemon zest, tropical fruit, and dried herbs while the palate offers a bright freshness, a medium body, and creamy texture. The elegant and balanced flavour profile makes this an ideal gastronomic wine and it will pair well with everything from roast chicken and fresh seafood to light summer salads and creamy cheeses.
The Tzora Vineyards was founded by Ronnie James in 1993 who had a dream to show the viticultural potential of the Judean Hills to the world. Wine has been made here for over 5000 years, but Tzora was one of the first wineries to begin applying modern winemaking techniques and technology to produce top quality wines.
Sieur d'Arques Toques et Clochers Limoux Chardonnay Oceanique 2016
The “Toques et Clochers” series from Sieur d’Arques literally translates as “Chefs’ Hats and Bell Towers”, and takes its name from a famous annual charity auction and major wine event which raises money to preserve the Limoux region’s historic churches. These wines are designed to showcase the region’s four distinctive terroirs and to emphasise their remarkable gastronomic potential.
The Chardonnay Oceanique is made with grapes from the Sieur d’Arques cooperative’s cooler vineyard sites which sit on gravelly soils at 300 metres of altitude and enjoy breezes from the nearby Mediterranean Sea. After harvesting the grapes at optimal ripeness, the grape must is vinified in oak barrels and aged on the lees for 6 months to add seductive creamy notes and a well-rounded mouthfeel.
On the nose the characteristic green apple, citrus and white peach notes of the Chardonnay come to the fore, followed by delicate hints of toast and salinity. The first sip reveals a velvety smooth mouthfeel complemented by a vibrant acidity and well-developed fruity and honeyed flavours. This delicate balance and finesse makes this wine a great partner for scallops cooked with saffron, creamy chicken dishes or pan-fried fish with roasted Mediterranean vegetables.
Kumeu River Village Chardonnay 2017
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.