You can never have too much of a good thing . . .

I suspect that I’m among many in having phases when I get enthusiastic about a wine style or variety, and then after a period, feel the need for a change and shift on to something else.

I’ve had a bit of a Chardonnay phase recently, both with wines that friends have poured for me, and others that I have opened at home. So far, I don’t seem to have tired of them, so it was a pleasure to dip my toes, so to speak, into the following collection.


2020 Church Road Gwen Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay

Price RRP $25
Rating Very Good to Excellent

A wisp of struck match
quickly shifts to warm
baguette and citrus.
Quite fine, lighter in
body, an elegant style
picking up notes of
citrus and grilled nuts
with a stonefruit
undercurrent, closing
with an earthy nuance.
Subtle to start but
fleshes out nicely with
aeration, developing a
crunch, almost spritzy
mouthfeel which
makes this rather
refreshing .


2020 Riverby Estate Single Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay

Price RRP $28
Rating Excellent to Outstanding

The nose leaps from
the glass, a little wild
and funky nuance with
nuts, citrus and white
peach. A cooling feel
with a thirst quenching
juiciness. Supple with
neatly balanced acidity,
offering nectarine,
growing nutty hints and
a wisp of lime cordial.
Great integration,
length and depth of
flavour on an elegant
frame. Gets the salivary
juices going nicely.


2019 Elephant Hill Salome Chardonnay

Price RRP $75
Rating  Outstanding

Immediately beguiling and complex
nose with warm
baguette, cream,
spices, ripe peach and
deft oak. Powerful
palate yet a sense of
vibrancy and crispness
too with nuts, caramel
and nougat adding
complexity to the
backbone of fruit. A
long, lip-smacking
finish draws you back
for more. A lot of
power, yet light on its
feet, with potential also.
Super stuff.


2020 Riverby Estate Single Vineyard Old Vines Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay

Price RRP $35
Rating Rating Very Good to Excellent

Fascinating start, hints of
sweet n sour and a little
wildness shift to bran
biscuit, perfume and ripe
nectarine. Underlying
power here, with a rich
vein of acidity driving it
along, becoming more
citrusy, with a hint of
musk on the close. This
feels quite tightly wound
today and I suspect is
built for the future.
Potential here, but has its
grumpy face on today.


2019 Astrolabe Marlborough Chardonnay

Price RRP $32
Rating Excellent

Initially a tanginess to
the nose, with lemon
cordial, nectarine and
white plum. Density,
citrus and rockmelon
to the fore, a hint of
fruit pith adds both a
textural, grainy quality,
but also a bittersweet
nuance as a contrast to
the richness. Grows
really nicely, adding
topical fruit and bonfire
notes to the nose,
while the palate
becomes more
complete, fat and rich.


2018 Tatty Bogler Waitaki Valley Chardonnay

Price  RRP $35
Rating Excellent

Inviting nose of ripe
peach, nuttiness and
perfumed oak, a little
struck match with
aeration. The palate is
racier than the nose
might suggest with
bright acidity framing
flavours of red
delicious apple, yellow
plum and white peach,
while there’s a tingly
quality to the close.
Opens up nicely,
building depth and
creamy richness,
while maintaining
lovely vibrancy.

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