A mild spring was followed by a sunny summer and a lingering dry autumn. It was a perfect growing season with enough warmth to produce optimal ripeness but it was not too hot to destroy varietal purity or freshness.
THE VINEYARD AND THE VINES
The vines, which are almost 30 years old, grow on their own roots in well-drained stony soil on a series of north facing, gradually descending terraces. The site is warm during the day but cool at night, resulting in good ripening while retaining the grape’s natural acids. The plants are from an old, low cropping clone that is prone to having a mixture of small and large berries on the same bunch. It typically produces chardonnay with good concentration and depth.
HARVEST AND WINE MAKING
We use traditional Burgundian winemaking methods. The fruit was hand picked in stages during April and then gently pressed. The non-clarified juice was put into large French oak barrels (puncheons), 70% of which were old in order to limit pickup of oak flavour. In these it underwent primary fermentation by the grapes’ indigenous yeasts. The wine was then matured in the puncheons on its natural yeast deposit (sur lie). In the summer after harvest it started to go through spontaneous secondary (malolactic) fermentation. It was regularly tasted during this time and the fermentation was stopped when the ideal balance was obtained. It was bottled after 1 year in barrel.
White peach, nectarine, yellow plum and citrus fruits are at the front of the ample flavour and bouquet but they are supported by a complex underlay of grilled nuts, sizzled butter and barbecued corn. Palate entry is deceptively light but the wine expands in the mouth to become rich and concentrated. There is a sinuous spine of minerality and acidity that keep it refined and help draw out the lingering aftertaste.
★★★★★ Awarded Classic Status.
“Although wine makers Matthew and Lynnette look as though they have just got in from an all night rave they are presently producing some of New Zealand’s most exhilarating, Burgundy inspired white wines…”.
★★★★★ “..complexity builds as the wine rests on the palate; specific use of oak adds texture and length.A great wine that teases the palate in all the right ways..”
★★★★★ “…The wine has a linear core following a fine, textural thread, unveiling layers of savoury stonefruit and nutty detail with subtle oak and minerally nuances as it carries to a long, softly refreshing finish. This is a complex-flavoured savoury, stonefruit and nutty Chardonnay with excellent vitality and fresh acidity . . .”.
This Chardonnay comes from North Canterbury’s best known winery,Pegasus Bay, whose reputation has been forged on making great whites – particularly full bodied Rieslings but also exceptional good Chardonnays, which can age well. This is due to the cool climate delivering grapes with vibrant acidity, which preserves these lovely fleshy whites.
One of the best NZ Chardonnays I’ve tasted this year. This youthful Chardonnay is taut and linear, focused and elegant. It gives attractive flinty sulphide-derived characters, as well as white stone fruit. New French oak adds a hazelnutty layer. High level of concentration in mouth suggests low yields, and combined with a long finish, this Chardonnay exudes quality.
90/100 “…Reticent, pure aromas of lemon peel, lime, minerals and white pepper.Densely packed and subtly complex, with citrus and nectarine flavors complemented by spicy oak and a captivating leesy quality that contributes texture as well as another flavor element. More Burgundy than New World in style in spite of its mid-palate sweetness….” .