Defining differences

Recent years have seen a prolific rise in interest in chardonnay in the retail market, partly driven by the plethora of offerings from California that have flooded the country. That interest helps to shine a light on our own wines.

It is a lovely time of year to enjoy chardonnay, as their richness makes them food friendly across a range of cuisine, whether that be lighter dishes on a warm late autumn day, or something heartier. A wine from Burgundy in today’s selection too, but a Kiwi connection as it’s from Domaine Thomson’s vines there.

2022 Domain Road Defiance Bannockburn Chardonnay

Price RRP $35
Rating Very Good to Excellent
Perfumed and fragrant, 
melding stone fruit and 
ripe apple, evolving to 
spice and nuts. The 
palate fatter and richer 
than the nose implies, 
mouthfilling yet not 
heavy. Stone fruit and 
tropical notes, 
butterscotch, spices, 
light oak seasoning 
joining in, with the 
warm glow of the 
summer sun on the 
finish. Develops 
rockmelon notes and 
additional creaminess 
as it opens.

2021 Hunter’s Offshoot Marlborough Chardonnay 

Price $34.90
Rating Excellent to Outstanding
A wisps of gunflint 
quickly evolves to 
ripe fruits, a touch 
of clotted cream, 
refined oak 
seasoning. Depth of 
flavour matched by 
a cooling feel in the 
mouth, stone fruits, 
nectarine, citrus, a 
zesty tanginess that 
keeps this lively. 
Nuttiness and light 
toasty elements 
come into play, lots 
of complexity and 
interest in the glass. 
Lively, vibrant, 
nicely done.

2022 Carrick Organic Bannockburn Chardonnay 

Price RRP $39
Rating Outstanding
Smoke and dustiness, shifts to 
fragrance, nuttiness 
and stone fruits. A 
creamy lactic note 
countered by fruit 
sherbet tanginess. Nut 
and stone fruit 
characters meet 
lemony citrus keeping 
this crisp and zesty. 
Opens out wonderfully 
in the glass, a 
beguiling and fragrant 
nose with mandarin 
zest, palate builds in 
breadth and intensity, a 
long, fresh, spicy 
close. Tautness in a 
good way.

2023 Hunter’s Marlborough Chardonnay

Price RRP $25.90
Rating Excellent
Fresh and inviting 
nose, peach and 
stone fruit notes 
lead, a touch of 
toffee/caramel and a 
light seasoning of 
oak that lets the fruit 
shine. Creamy palate 
entry, again the fruit 
nicely to the fore, 
fresh acidity 
supporting the whole 
without dominating, 
that wisp of toffee 
making an 
appearance too. 
Supple, refreshing, 
nicely done.

2023 Jules Taylor Marlborough Chardonnay

Price RRP $25
Rating Excellent
Clearly volume on the 
nose here, ripe fruits 
in the tropical 
spectrum contrasted 
by a stony/saline 
quality. Full in the 
mouth, brimming with 
flavour impact, again 
that ripe fruit very 
much to the fore, 
hints of toasty oak, 
creamy, almost 
viscous. Soft and 
cuddly at first, the 
acidity creates a 
nicely cooling 
contrast as it gets into 
gear, while spice notes frame the close.

2020 Domaine Thomson St Aubin les Travers de Chez Edouard

Price RRP $85
Rating Excellent
Fascinating nose, 
initially wisps of 
something wild, wet 
wool, shifting to 
with the fruit swelling 
up to meet it. The ripe 
fruits kicks off the 
palate, supple and 
rich before a core of 
stony minerality 
makes its presence 
felt, leading to a dry, 
nutty close. Fleshes 
out very nicely in the 
glass; a wine that makes you think.