You don’t have to be a socialist...

It feels like a bit of a race to the (Christmas Day) finish line at the moment as I compare the dwindling number of Wednesday columns to the burgeoning number of wines I would like to taste and review.

I’ve plumped for Chardonnay today as it’s a wine style that can hold its own in any sort of company, working equally well simply enjoyed with friends, as an easy accompaniment to barbecues and gatherings, or as an integral part of a sit-down dinner party.

The selection traverses the country and even across the Tasman, providing plenty to entice.

2019 Orlando Lyndale Adelaide Hills Chardonnay
Price RRP $45
Rating Excellent
 
Struck match, petrichor, mixed stone and 
tropical fruits, 
spice, citrus. A lot 
going on. A sense 
of coolness to the 
palate, another 
wine where the 
palate weight and 
richness is 
matched by 
freshness. This 
gets the salivatory 
juices flowing. 
Time allows notes 
of grilled nuts to 
build, a wisp of 
apricot kernel adds 
a drier influence. 
Stylish wine that 
draws you in.
 

2019 Orlando Hilary Adelaide Hills Chardonnay
Price RRP $30
Rating Very Good to Excellent
 
Subtle but rather elegant, nuts, vanilla 
bean, ripe 
nectarine, rising 
perfume. Bolder 
on the palate than 
the nose might 
suggest with 
fresh, crisp peach, 
spices and toffee 
apple, with a 
grainy element 
adding to the 
texture. Time sees 
the nose turn more 
tropically fruited 
as the wine fattens 
and broadens in 
the mouth. 
Classically 
chardonnay and 
very drinkable.
 
2019 Church Road 1 Single Vineyard Terraces HB Chardonnay 
Price RRP $70
Rating Excellent to Outstanding
 
Struck match and 
stony mineral 
characters lead, 
the fruit lurking, 
definitely some 
winemaker input 
here. Powerfully 
expressed palate, 
tropical fruits 
flowing to cream, 
apple and citrus. 
Wonderful texture, 
and flavour 
intensity yet 
vivacity too. A lot 
going on here, yet 
for all its power 
there’s lovely 
freshness too. I suspect the best is yet 
to come.
 
2019 Te Kairanga John Martin Martinborough Chardonnay 
Price RRP $39.99
Rating Excellent
 
Attractively nutty 
nose, a dash of oak 
seasoning, the fruit 
flitting between 
stone and tropical 
fruits. Richer, 
powerful 
mouthfeel, 
viscosity here, hints 
of clotted cream, 
the fruit more 
tropical with a wisp 
of ‘‘perky nana’’. 
Dense and supple, 
the acidity 
providing a nice 
frame. Lots of 
flavour and nice 
integration, showing a little more youthful 
brashness with time.
 
2019 Elephant Hill Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay
Price RRP $28
Rating Very Good to Excellent
 
Subtle but inviting nose, grilled nuts, 
citrus, a lactic 
note. Juiciness to 
the fruit, lending 
an almost crunchy 
feel to the palate, 
with crisp acidity 
providing good 
framework. The 
fruit swells as the 
wine opens up, 
adding to the 
clotted cream and 
oak derived 
spices, a vanillan 
oak note more 
apparent as time 
goes on. In a good 
place to enjoy 
now.
 
2020 Saint Clair Block 10 Twin Hills Marlborough Chardonnay 
Price  RRP $34.90
Rating Excellent to Outstanding
 
Perfume, refined 
oak scents, subtle 
peach and spice 
nuances. Full of 
life and energy, 
crunchy, dancing 
on the palate with 
an underlying 
creaminess of 
texture. Tropical 
fruits, pineapple 
lumps, spices, 
lovely integration 
and works so 
nicely as a whole. 
Classy stuff that 
will almost 
certainly improve 
but already lovely. Deliciousness in a 
glass.
 
2020 Trinity Hill Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay
Price RRP $24.99
Rating Very Good to Excellent
 
Lanolin, perfume, white flowers, the 
fruit neatly in 
support, almond 
icing. Almond 
notes, a fruit 
kernel like tang, 
peach notes 
growing. This feels 
really nicely 
integrated with 
nothing out of 
place. A supple 
quality to the 
palate, yet good 
acidity too which 
keeps this zesty. 
The tanginess 
builds with 
aeration, adding 
grapefruit into the 
mix.
 
2020 Rabbit Ranch sur lie Central Otago Chardonnay
Price RRP $22
Rating Very Good to Excellent
 
Pushes some different buttons, 
grapefruit, fruit 
sherbet, oatmeal, 
fruit pastille, pea 
pod/green bean 
later. A bittersweet 
aspect leads the 
palate, joined by 
nutty notes, 
bonfire embers, 
lime and a little 
funky nuance, 
while bright, crisp 
acidity lends a racy 
feel to the close. 
This one ploughs 
its own furrow and 
does it with 
interest and 
intrigue.

 

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