A fine pair of Felton chardonnays

Felton Road Wines (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

When I first tasted chardonnay from Central Otago I wrote that the variety should never have been planted in the region because the wine was excessively green and hard. Later, when Felton Road first released a chardonnay, I completely changed my mind suggesting cautiously that it was capable of greatness but might not achieve greatness every vintage.

I’m now a big fan of the taut, mineral-laced wines, which Felton Road and others seem to be able to produce with consummate ease. They are high energy wines that typically have a strong fruit expression and can become even more interesting with bottle age, as I discovered when a friend opened a 10-year vertical of Felton Road Chardonnay a few years ago.

The 2016 Felton Road Block 2 Chardonnay is a very Chablis-like wine this year with pronounced mineral/oyster shell characters and assertive green apple acidity. It’s a little austere right now but should develop well with bottle age. (NZD $60)

I preferred the 2016 Felton Road Block 6 Chardonnay, which is an altogether richer, riper and more complex and approachable wine. Delicious now, but if you can resist opening it for a few years your patience will be rewarded. (NZD $60)

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