Chardonnay tasting

165 wines tasted, the top 75 wines with tasting notes are listed below in maker order.

85 Allan Scott 2005 Marlborough NZ $21.00

Fresh, supple wine with attractive yeasty lees, citrus and spicy oak flavours. An elegant, understated wine with good balance and a pleasantly drying finish. – view on

90 Allan Scott 2005 The Wallops Marlborough NZ $30.00

Big, weighty, complex wine with lovely hazelnut and wholemeal flavours adding extra complexity to strong citrus and white peach characters. A warming and generously proportioned wine. – view on

86 Alpha Domus 2006 Barrique Fermented Hawke’s Bay NZ $27.00

Attractive, fine, minerally wine in a rather Burgundian-inspired understated style. Good integrated oak gives a subtle nuttiness to this smooth-textured wine. – view on

85 Ascension 2006 The Ascent Reserve Matakana NZ $32.00

A sleek, oaky chardonnay with considerable complexity from barrel fermentation and extended yeast lees contact. Bone dry wine in a very food-friendly style. Should develop well in bottle. – view on

93 Ata Rangi 2005 Craighall Martinborough NZ $38.00

Fine-textured Chardonnay made with a light touch allowing tight mineral and stone fruit flavours to remain in centre-stage with subtle support from oak and yeast lees. It’s a pleasure to savour without the complication of food and even better with relatively light seafood dishes.The wine encapsulates subtle power. – view on

86 Babich 2004 Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay NZ $18.00

Subtle, stylish wine with appealing sweet fruit and a savoury/hay straw character from bottle age now adding extra complexity. Mellow, smooth-textured wine in an appealing style. – view on

88 Black Barn Vineyards 2005 Barrel Fermented Hawke’s Bay NZ $35.00

A nice mix of grapefruit/citrus, mineral and hazelnut characters. Elegant wine with a slightly grippy phenolic finish. Lovely minerality. – view on

89 Black Barn Vineyards 2005 Hawke’s Bay NZ $25.00

Sensitively made Chardonnay with good complexity from barrel fermentation and appealing hazelnut and bran biscuit characters from extended age on the yeast lees.The peach/grapefruit flavours remain strongly evident. – view on

85 Black Barn Vineyards 2006 Unoaked Hawke’s Bay NZ $20.00

A very appealing unoaked Chardonnay with good concentration of peach and grapefruit flavours in a style that too often lacks flavour. Fresh, tangy and (thankfully) dry. – view on

89 Bouldevines 2006 Marlborough NZ $22.00

Gentle, charming, soft-textured Chardonnay that gains a silken texture and extra mouthfeel from a relatively high (14.5%) alcohol without any suggestion of heat or hardness. The wine has an exquisite balance of alcohol and acidity with subtle white peach, citrus, hazelnut and spicy oak complexity. – view on

88 Cape Campbell 2006 Limited Edition Reserve Marlborough NZ $24.95

Strong nutty oak flavours with peach and grapefruit. A stylish and moderately complex wine with an ethereal texture and lengthy finish. Good weight and mouthfeel – a tick in all the boxes. – view on

92 Church Road 2004 Reserve Hawke’s Bay NZ $34.95

What a change in style from past vintages! It’s moved from being a bit old-fashioned and rather frumpy Chardonnay to one that’s sleek, stylish with a slight French accent. Vibrant, complex wine with plenty of flavour including an impressive mineral strata. – view on

93 CJ Pask 2005 Declaration Hawke’s Bay NZ $35.00

Pask’s flagship wine is a subtle statement with impressive power. The winemaker has avoided the “more is best” trap and has created a vey elegant wine with lovely minerality, classy oak and tight citrus fruit flavours. There’s a hint of yeast lees character and barrel fermentation adding extra complexity. The texture is ethereal and the finish long. – view on

95 Cloudy Bay 2005 Marlborough NZ $35.95

Intense and complex wine with an array of very subtle flavours with mineral, hazelnut and grapefruit moderately prominent. The wine has great weight and mouth feel but is supremely elegant. This is the best Cloudy Bay Chardonnay I have tasted. – view on

88 Corbans 2005 Private Bin Hawke’s Bay NZ $20.95

Savoury, developed wine with appealing bran biscuit, sizzled butter and nutty oak together with citrus/grapefruit flavours. A mellow, mouth-filling and sophisticated wine. – view on

90 Cottage Block 2005 Hawke’s Bay NZ $33.95

Good wine with subtle power and an appealing mix of fruit (peach, grapefruit) and winemaking (hazelnut, bran biscuit and subtle oak) influence. Accessible but not forward and with good length although not strong-flavoured. Sensitively made Chardonnay that reflects a light touch. – view on

91 Craggy Range 2006 Gimblett Gravels Vineyard Hawke’s Bay NZ $27.00

Full-flavoured Chardonnay with strong grapefruit /citrus and spicy French oak flavours. Sensitively crafted wine with plenty of weight and an appealingly soft texture. – view on

85 Craggy Range 2006 Seven Poplars Vineyard Hawke’s Bay NZ $30.00

Plenty of winemaker artifact in this moderately complex Chardonnay with sizzled butter, spicy oak and bready lees dominating delicate citrus fruit. Balanced, long and with a good texture. – view on

90 Craggy Range 2005 Les Beaux Callioux Hawke’s Bay NZ $59.95

An adventurous style with taut mineral and citrus flavours embellished with very classy oak, yeasty lees, and toasted nut flavours. Restrained and complex wine that gives a glimpse of the potential flavours that will be released in time. A pure expression of subtle power that is slightly tough now but will certainly develop. – view on

85 Crossroads 2005 Destination Series Hawke’s Bay NZ $18.95

A lean and quite oaky style with a drying and slightly hard finish. Apple, grapefruit oak and sizzled butter flavours are evident. A tad hard. (fresh oak, ripe aromatic fruit) – view on

94 Cullen 2003 Margaret River Australia $60.00

Quite an oaky wine with lovely nutty complexity from barrel fermentation and bottle age. Quite burgundian in style. Rich, complex, long – a very attractive Chardonnay. – view on

93 Dog Point 2005 Marlborough NZ $33.00

A ripe and full-flavoured example of Marlborough Chardonnay. It has strong grapefruit and white peach flavours with a curious root ginger character. Intriguing and appealing. There’s plenty of bready yeast lees flavours plus a suggestion of butter. – view on

85 Domaine Laroche 2005 Saint Martin Chablis France $42.00

Light, fresh wine with typical mineral character but in a pristine New World style. Delicate and appealing wine. Seems a bit simple next to some of hte top Kiwi Chards but has good balance. – view on

94 Escarpment 2006 Martinborough NZ $30.00

Absolutely delicious wine with wonderful citrus, creamy lees, sizzled butter and very classy oak flavours. Intense Chardonnay with a creamy texture and very long finish. Super-stylous and generously proportioned wine with all the trimmings. – view on

85 Fairleigh Estate 2004 Single Vineyard Marlborough NZ $19.95

Dense and moderately complex wine with strong peach, grapefruit and French oak flavours. Now showing the benefit of bottle age with emerging forest floor complexity and a silken texture. – view on

90 Felton Road 2006 Elms Central Otago NZ $24.00

My favourite unoaked New Zealand Chardonnay that achieves complexity and intensity by using iusing grapes from low-yielding vineyards and allowing the wine a lengthy period of skin contact. The result is a sophisticated that bears some comparison to good Chablis. – view on

90 Framingham 2005 Marlborough NZ $22.95

An elegant Chardonnay with a creamy texture and impressive length. Attractive white peach and citrus flavours with fresh bread and subtle buttery flavours. The oak is nicely integrated – it is evident but lets the fruit occupy centre-stage. – view on

87 Glazebrook 2005 040S 177E Hawke’s Bay NZ $27.00

Stylish Chardonnay with plenty of grapefruit and other citrus flavours supported by sizzled butter, yeasty lees and classy oak characters. The wine has richness, warmth and a good mouthfeel. – view on

89 Greystone 2006 Waipara NZ $24.00

Citrus/grapefruit and mineral flavours of great purity occupy centre-stage with a supporting role played by subtle nutty oak and mealy lees. This is a very attractive youthful Chardonnay with potential for good bottle development. – view on

91 Highfield 2005 Marlborough NZ $32.30

Rich, complex wine with ripe white peach, citrus and guava fruit flavours together with a solid influence of sizzled butter, toasted nuts and creamy yest lees. Mellow, silken-textured Chardonnay. – view on

86 Hunter’s 2006 Marlborough NZ $19.95

Pretty fruit-focused wine with delicate lemon, grapefruit and white peach flavours. Subtle use of oak adds seasoning without shifting attention from the fruit. – view on

87 Isabel 2005 Marlborough NZ $30.00

Attractive varietal wine with mineral, peach, melon and citrus flavours. Classy French oak is a little too prominent especially on the finish. Good concentration – a nice example of subtle power. – view on

86 Kathy Lynskey 2004 Godfrey Reserve Marlborough NZ $35.00

Impressive weight and concentration of grapefruit, wholemeal and French oak flavours. Rich, mouthfilling wine with good acidity and a reasonably smooth texture. Complex Chardonnay. – view on

89 Kathy Lynskey 2005 Casto Reserve Marlborough NZ $40.00

A big and complex Chardonnay with hazelnut, wholemeal, grapefruit/citrus, sizzled butter and spicy oak flavours. Powerful full-flavoured wine with cellaring potential. – view on

89 Laroche 2005 Chablis France $34.00

Attractive wine with mineral salts and subtle citrus, stone fruit and delicate floral flavours. An ethereal texture adds appeal. The acidity is relatively soft and the flavour lengthy. A subtly powerful Chardonnay. – view on

87 Lawson’s Dry Hills 2003 Marlborough NZ $24.95

Anyone who think screwcaps retard bottle development should taste this very attractive Marlborough wine. Citrus and oak flavours have added complexity with an appealing lime and hay/straw bottle development. Age has also mellowed the wine’s silken texture. Very appealing. – view on

94 Leeuwin Estate 2004 Art Series Australia $100.00

Quite oaky on the nose, but very classy French oak together with hazelnut biscuit lees characters and subtle citrus fruit. A very elegant yet powerful wine with great complexity. – view on

88 Margrain 2005 Martinborough NZ $28.00

Rich, dense, oily-textured Chardonnay with strong grapefruit and spicy oak flavours. A tight, complex and intensely flavoured wine. – view on

90 Martinborough Vineyard 2005 Martinborough NZ $35.00

Soft, generous and stylish Chardonnay with subtle stone fruit, sizzled butter and spicy oak flavours. A seductive wine that reveals its considerable power in its lingering finish. Quite oaky. – view on

87 Matariki 2005 Reserve Hawke’s Bay NZ $35.90

Dense wine with a strong oak component over grapefruit and mineral. Balanced, dry and with a good texture. The wine has a good nutty complexity from barrel fermentation and extended lees contact. – view on

86 Matariki 2005 Hawke’s Bay NZ $26.90

Attractive, weighty Chardonnay with grapefruit, hazelnut and spicy oak flavours. There’s also a suggestion of savoury bottle development. – view on

86 Maven 2006 Reserve Marlborough NZ $25.00

A big, ripe, rich and fairly oaky Chardonnay. High alcohol (14.5%) adds extra body and lusciousness while introducing a little heat on the finish. Ripe stone fruit, sizzled butter and spicy oak are the dominant flavours. – view on

86 Montana 2004 Ormond Gisborne NZ $32.95

Mellow, developed Chardonnay with hay/straw and Irish Moss bottle developed flavours together with peach, citrus and creamy, nutty oak. Complex and appealing. – view on

93 Morton Estate 2004 Black Label Hawke’s Bay NZ $33.00

Intense wine with strong hay/straw bottle development together with grapefruit, classy oak and some attractive nutty/mealy complexity. A big, mellow wine with a great balance, smooth texture and lengthy finish. – view on

93 Muddy Water 2005 Waipara NZ $27.00

A powerful and complex Chardonnay that beautifully interweaves intense citrus fruit, classy oak, sizzled butter and nutty, mealy characters. This wine gets a tick in every box with a great texture, good mouthfeel and a lingering finish. – view on

85 Nautilus 2005 Marlborough NZ $20.00

Lemon/citrus and spicy oak flavours with some sizzled butter and bran biscuit characters. A delicate and rather understated wine with a soft texture and a pleasantly dry finish. – view on

93 Pegasus Bay 2005 Waipara NZ $34.95

An intense and very full-bodied Chardonnay with strong citrus, peach, nutty lees and spicy oak flavours that are all beautifully integrated. Long and overtly powerful – there’s nothing subtle about this wine. – view on

86 Revington Vineyard 2004 Ormond Valley Gisborne NZ $22.00

A fresh and strongly fruit-focused style with classic Gisborne charm. In pristine condition thanks to a screwcap. Delicately succulent wine. – view on

87 Revington Vineyard 2005 Ormond Valley Gisborne NZ $35.00

Intense, weighty wine with mouthfilling peach, guava, oak, sizzled butter and nutty yeast lees flavours. There is a suggestion of honeyed botrytis characters that might compromise cellaring ability. Big and complex wine – one of Gisborne’s best. – view on

88 Richardson 2006 Marlborough NZ $35.00

Fine, tight, fruit-focused wine with subtle oak and yeast lees characters. An elegant and stylish wine with a great balance between acidity and alcohol sweetness. Silken-textured. – view on

86 Saint Clair 2006 Twin Hills Pioneer Block 10 Marlborough NZ $24.95

The aroma of fresh toasted oak and brioche on the nose with fine citrus and white peach flavours more evident on the palate. Soft-textured, dry and rather stylish Chardonnay with a lingering finish. – view on

93 Saint Clair 2006 Sawcut Block 4 Marlborough NZ $24.95

Full-flavoured and complex Chardonnay with lovely nutty, mealy characters adding extra interest to citrus/grapefruit and spicy oak. The texture is great and the finish impressively long. – view on

85 San Hill 2006 Central Hawkes Bay NZ $19.00

Light, fresh fruit-focused wine with citrus/grapefruit and subtle oak flavours. Delicately tangy and with a soft and appealing texture. Subtle power impresses. Good value at this price. – view on

92 Seresin 2006 Marlborough NZ $27.00

Lovely rich and moderately complex Chardonnaywith an impecable balance between alcool and acidity. Apealing sizzled butter, grapefruit, stonefruit and a suggestion of mineral salts flavours. Impressive wine that gets a tick in every box. – view on

93 Shaw & Smith 2005 M3 Vineyard Adelaide HIlls Australia $44.00

Pale, restrained, tight Chardonnay that struts its cool climate status with tangy acidity and fine citrus and mineral flavours. It is complex although the flavours are subtle. Delicately powerful. – view on

86 Shepherds Ridge 2004 Marlborough NZ $14.95

Stylish, slippery Chardonnay with appealing sweet fruit and spicy oak flavours. A mellow, integrated wine with plenty of weight and flavour. Peachy, but simple. – view on

90 Sileni 2005 The Lodge Hawke’s Bay NZ $36.95

Rich, intense wine with plenty of peach, fig and grapefruit flavours plus a solid influence of classy oak. Good weight and flavour with a creamy texture and drying finish. – view on

86 Southbank Estate 2006 Hawke’s Bay NZ $19.95

More weight and flavour than the 2005 vintage with appealing nutty complexity adding interest to the citrus fruit flavours. A subtle, stylish wine that offers good value at this price. – view on

87 Spy Valley 2005 Marlborough NZ $19.90

Delicate cool climate style with pleasantly tangy acidity that leaves a dry finish. Slightly leesy, oak subliminal. – view on

85 Squawking Magpie 2006 Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay NZ $32.95

Serious Chardonnay with quite intense stony, citrus and spicy oak flavours. Still quite youthful and needing time to show its true potential. – view on

90 Staete Landt 2006 Marlborough NZ $30.00

Intense and full-flavoured wine with strong, nutty and very classy oak interwoven with grapefruit and peach fruit flavours. A very stylish and quite complex wine. – view on

90 Stoneleigh 2003 Rapaura Series Marlborough NZ $23.95

Fresh and attractive Chardonnay with appealing yeast lees, white peach and grapefruit flavours. A strongly fruit-focused wine, it has good mouth feel and a great balance between fruit/alcohol sweetness and tangy acidity resulting in a pleasantly drying finish. – view on

85 Stoneleigh 2006 Marlborough NZ $23.95

Attractive fruit-focused wine with pure white peach and citrus flavours. Oak and other winemaking artifact is subtle. The wine has good weight and a lengthy finish. – view on

85 Te Awa 2006 Left Field Hawke’s Bay NZ $28.00

Soft, ripe melon and peach aromas. A gentle wine with moderate intensity and a soft, smooth palate. Strongly fruit focused with little evidence of oak. – view on

88 Te Awa 2005 Hawke’s Bay NZ $36.00

Complex, creamy Chardonnay with plenty of peach and grapefruit flavour cleverly interwoven with nutty oak, bready lees and a suggestion of sizzled butter. Stylish wine with integrated flavours and a smooth texture. – view on

85 The Crossings 2006 Unoaked Marlborough NZ $19.95

One of the more impressive unoaked New Zealand Chardonnays I’ve tasted. It has good fruit weight and clarity with vibrant acidity and appealing mineral/citrus flavours. Quite Chablis-like. – view on

86 Tohu 2005 Reserve Gisborne NZ $26.00

Flavoursome wine with good weight and a silken. Attractive nutty oak dominates slightly but there is plenty of fruit evident. Stylish wine with character. – view on

89 Vavasour 2005 Marlborough NZ $26.00

A class act from the Awatere Valley with intense citrus, pineapple and mineral fruit flavours cleverly enhanced with sensitive winemaking adding nutty oak complexity. – view on

90 Vidal 2005 Reserve Hawke’s Bay NZ $32.95

Seductive Chardonnay with an appealing mix of creamy yeast llees and citrus together with a seasoning of oak. Soft-textured and persistant. The finish is long with a little residual heat from a highish alcohol of 14%. – view on

91 Villa Maria 2005 Reserve Hawke’s Bay NZ $32.95

Sophisticated wine that shows a nice mix of mealy, nutty character with grapefruit, peach and spicy oak characters. Long, and linear. Drying finish. Will age.

88 Villa Maria 2005 Reserve Marlborough NZ $32.95

Quite sweet fruit with plenty of yeast lees spicy oak influence. Quite high alc. – view on

85 Villa Maria 2006 Cellar Selection Marlborough NZ $21.95

Attractive wine with subtle citrus flavours and plenty of bready yeast, sizzled butter and spicy oak flavours. Supple, elegant and surprisingly assertive Chardonnay. – view on

93 Wither Hills 2005 Marlborough NZ $28.00

Rich, creamy and complex Chardonnay with attractive mealy, nutty characters from winemaking adding extra interest to citrus.white peach fruit flavours. High alcohol promotes a lovely mouth feel and silken texture together with a little warmth on the finish. – view on

First published in Taste Magazine NZ – Jul 2007.

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