Awarded Classic Status.
Waipara was buffeted by frequent strong winds in late spring and early summer which coincided with the period when the grapes were in flower. It impaired pollination and thus quite markedly reduced the crop level. The rest of the summer, however, was excellent and the autumn was warm, dry and lingering. We were thus able to harvest beautifully ripened grapes in optimum condition.
This wine has been made utilising the traditional techniques which have made the chardonnay of the Burgundy region in France so famous. We thus adopted a hands-off approach so that until the last, or blending, stage, the wine has largely made itself. After harvest the grapes were gently pressed and the unclarified juice was put into 500L oak barrels (puncheons) made by artisan Burgundian coopers. Here it underwent natural fermentation by the action of the grapes' own yeasts. It was then matured in these puncheons, 30% of which were new, on its yeast lees (sur lie). When the temperature in the cellars warmed in the spring after harvest, the wine began natural malo-lactic fermentation through the action of its indigenous micro-organisms. While all the wine commenced this secondary fermentation the exact amount which was allowed to occur in each barrel was determined by taste. Multiple batches of chardonnay were made, each coming from a different part of the vineyard. The final wine was produced by blending these according to taste.
This blend was then put into a tank for 5 months one year after harvest to allow it to integrate before bottling.
On release the aroma and flavour emphasises stone fruit and corn characters supported by hints of bacon and mushrooms grilled on a wood fired barbeque. The wine has gained extra concentration and depth from the naturally low crop. It seems to expand in the mouth and becomes very powerful, but there is a backbone of minerality and acidity which keep it tight knit and refined. It lingers on the palate long after swallowing. It will show further development and integration with careful bottle ageing.
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.
“…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….” .