Chardonnays with plenty to impress

Wine reviewer Mark Henderson is enjoying reacquainting himself with chardonnay.

Today's wines were a clutch of chardonnays, and as much due to luck than by design, ended up being a Marlborough vs Central Otago gig with honours fairly evenly shared.

More and more I'm finding a lot to like in recent chardonnay releases with a little more generosity in many wines, something that could be elusive in the past.

Messrs Collins and McLaren sat in again today and bemoaned the lack of chardonnay in their own cellars, yet the tasting once again highlighted how good so many chardonnays are right out of the blocks.

2015 Framingham Chardonnay
Price (cellar door): $25
Rating: Excellent

Fragrant and attractive nose showing white peach and melon, evolving to pineapple. Creamy richness on the palate with white peach, spices and hints of oak underlined by a delightful citrusy freshness: a bran-biscuit nuttiness evolves with time.

Nicely balanced and with great length: this is intense and simply delicious.




2013 Forrest Marlborough Chardonnay
Price: $27
Rating: Good to very good

This opens to a smoky/burnt match character with a creamy, milky note. In the mouth it’s all about crisp apples, spices, a touch of pear, and a lemony sweet and sour zing on the close. With time, butterscotch emerges, a smoky note too as the wine mellows.

This is bright and zingy and would pair well with fish and chips.




2014 Felton Road Block 2 Chardonnay
Price: $55.50
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

On the nose, matchstick at first, evolving into tropical fruit/pineapple notes. The palate leads with tropical fruits and a nutty, mealy, oatmeal character.  Changing and evolving in the glass, delivering peach, citrus, lovely spiciness, butterscotch; all the while with the acid adding a lovely counterpoint and poise.

Texturally lovely while deceptively powerful.




2015 Giesen The Fuder Single Vineyard Clayvin Chardonnay
Price: $60
Rating: Excellent

Oak more evident here, aligned with matchstick, peach and grilled nuts. Weighty and rich and making a statement: this offers a creamy texture, tropical fruit elements, peach spices and a lemony citrus undercurrent.

A powerful wine; chewy and mouthfilling with a long finish. Serious drinking here with future potential.




2015 Allan Scott Generations Chardonnay
Price: $31
Rating: Good to very good

Fresh and bright aromas, evolving into toffee apple, tropical fruit and burnt bramble. Fresh and bright with little perceptible oak at first; the tropical fruit again to the fore with good flavour intensity.

Quite linear in the mouth, developing notes of coconut rough and banana skin. A crowd pleaser.




2015 Wooing Tree Chardonnay
Price: $34
Rating: Very good

Fragrant nose with notes of stonefruit, peach and a milky, lactic note. Rich on entry with the fruit on the nose repeated on the palate, with oak nuances. Develops a spicy, toffeed note and hints of lime.

A chewiness to the palate and a long finish. Deceptive power here.

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