Easing into the year with some pleasing Chardonnays

Well and truly slipping back into the saddle, so to speak, as I get back into tasting mode after a rather pleasing break over the holiday season. There were a number of Chardonnays begging for my attention that I didn’t have time to taste pre-Christmas, so this column is a bit of a catch-up.

This selection encompasses Central, Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay offerings as this is a grape variety that has found itself at home in every wine region across the length and breadth of the country. I may have been a bit stingy with a couple of my scores, so forgive me for that.

McArthur Ridge Springvale Alexandra Chardonnay

Price RRP $39.99
Rating Excellent
Rather elegant, 
stonefruit, citrus, a 
smoky backdrop, 
spices and fine oak 
seasoning, peach 
later. Schisty nuances. 
Layers of fruit in the 
mouth, stonefruit, then 
apple, peach, freshly 
squeezed lime too. 
Nice balance and 
integration, some 
chewy tannins adding 
to the texture, with a 
long, cool, minerally- 
tinged finish. Young 
but already drinking 
very well.

2022 Riverby Estate Single Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay

Price RRP $28
Rating Excellent to outstanding
Begins with fresh 
stonefruit notes and 
spice, shifting to tropical, 
white flowers and a hint 
of butterscotch/oak. 
Delightful richness on 
entry yet with poise and 
balance, again the 
tropical fruits, oatmeal, 
wisps of oak seasoning 
with fresh, citrusy acidity 
bring this to a vibrant 
close. The texture more 
creamy as it opens. 
Already drinkability but 
potential too.

2022 Trinity Hill Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay

Price RRP $24.99
Rating Very good to excellent
Cooling qualities to 
the nose, stonefruits, 
rockmelon, flecks of 
toffee apple. The 
palate offers a nutty 
undercurrent with top 
notes of white peach 
and citrus. Youthful 
brightness, racy 
acidity, will be 
delightful with food 
on a warm summer’s 
day. Fleeting 
glimpses of gunflint 
appear, just ripe 
banana, with a tingly 
lip-smacking aspect 
on the fresh close.


2022 Ruru Central Otago Chardonnay 

Price RRP $29
Rating Very good to excellent
Initially some exotic 
characters here, orange 
sherbet, perhaps melon, 
evolving with aeration to 
more typical ripe peach, 
nutty elements, spices, 
butterscotch, light oak 
seasoning. Lemon and 
mandarin at first, 
flanked by nuts and 
white peach, brisk 
acidity portrays its 
youthful side with a hint 
of firmness. With time, 
clay and smoke on the 
nose, rounding out 
nicely; evolution to 

2022 Trinity Hill 125 Gimblett Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay

Price RRP $79.99
Rating Excellent to outstanding
Nose gives the 
impression of 
caraway, refined oak, ripe 
tropical fruits, creami
ness, fragrance building 
with aeration. Power and 
depth of flavour, filling 
your mouth, countered 
by an electric jolt of 
acidity. Lovely carry of 
flavour. Not a ‘‘leap out of 
the glass’’ wine, but 
subtle depth, complexity 
and interest that quietly 
creeps up on you. Just 

2022 Church Road No 1 S V Tuki Tuki Vineyard Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 

Price RRP $120
Rating Outstanding
Powerfully expressed 
nose, wisps of gunflint/
struck match, classy 
oak, a basket of tropical 
fruit, grilled nuts, clotted 
cream, smoke, lots 
going on. Oak-driven 
baking spices, ripe 
peach, creamy notes, 
powerful drive and totally 
mouth-filling. A 
refreshing sherbetty 
tanginess offers a lovely 
counterpoint to the 
richness. Endlessly long 
close, powerful and very 
smart wine.