Beautiful hand-crafted wines from Gisborne, New Zealand

TW Chardonnay

Chardonnay

Balanced, fruit-laden, concentrated. Ever-evolving, yet eternally elegant with its balance of minerality and fruit.

In terms of structure and acidity, they recall the great chardonnays of Burgundy. In their totality they are like nothing else from anyplace.” — Michael Franz, Washington Post, USA

Chardonnay is the world’s most famous white-wine grape and also one of the most widely planted. Although the most highly regarded expressions of the variety are those from Burgundy and California, many high-quality examples are made in New Zealand and also Italy, Australia and parts of South America.

Describing the flavours of Chardonnay is no easy task. While many Chardonnay wines have high aromatic complexity, this is usually due to winemaking techniques (particularly the use or non-use of oak) rather than the variety’s intrinsic qualities. Malolactic fermentation gives distinctive buttery aromas. Fermentation and/or maturation in oak barrels contributes notes of vanilla, smoke and hints of sweet spices such as clove and cinnamon. Extended lees contact while in barrel imparts biscuity, doughy flavors. Because of this high level of winemaker involvement, Chardonnay has become known as the “winemaker’s wine”.

Chardonnay vines

The variety itself (although often said to be relatively flavour-neutral) is responsible for most of the fruity flavours found in Chardonnay wines. These range from the tropical (banana, melon, pineapple and guava) to stonefruits (peach, nectarine and apricot), citrus and apples.

Climate plays a major role in dictating which fruit flavours a Chardonnay will have. Broadly speaking, warm regions such as California, Chile and much of Australia tend to give more tropical styles. Temperate zones such as Gisborne, southern Burgundy or northern New Zealand create wines marked out by stonefruit notes. The very coolest Chardonnay vineyards (those in Chablis, Champagne and Germany) lean towards green-apple aromas.

Mineral descriptors such as chalk, wet stones and crushed seashells also find their way into Chardonnay tasting notes. These are sometimes attributed to the soils in the vineyard, although the relationship between soil and wine flavour has become widely exaggerated. The most famously minerally Chardonnay wines are those of Chablis, one of the very few wine regions to focus on a largely unoaked style of Chardonnay.

Although most famous for its still, dry wines, Chardonnay is used to produce an impressively diverse range of wine styles. The variety is put to use in sparkling wines all over the world (most famously Champagne), when it is usually paired with Pinot Noir.

In the vineyard, Chardonnay presents a few viticultural challenges, but none that can’t be solved with age-old techniques or a little help from technology. In very warm climates, Chardonnay grapes tend to lose their natural acidity, resulting in flat, overblown wines. This can be partially corrected with a simple addition of acid, or by harvesting early and compensating for lack of flavour by using oak and malolactic fermentation.

NZ Chardonnay

Elegant and fruit-driven, the classic New Zealand Chardonnay is mouth- filling, with concentrated citrus and tropical fruit. A crisp acidity balances the flavours, which are often perfectly rounded with oak.

Its versatility makes Chardonnay a perfect canvas for viticulturists and winemakers eager to craft a masterpiece. A range of Chardonnays are produced in New Zealand from fruit-driven, unoaked styles to concentrated Burgundian styles.

  • During the 1990s, plantings of this internationally fashionable variety exceeded those of every other grape. Chardonnay remains planted in every region.
  • As a wine, Chardonnay strongly reflects New Zealand’s unique terroir and the huge diversity within its regions.

 

Food matches for Chardonnay include:

  • Butternut squash risotto
  • Japanese style pork belly
  • Roast chicken with honey-sesame carrots

TW Chardonnay wines

TW Estate Chardonnay 2013

Bright pale lemon, this Chardonnay is perfumed with notes of golden apricot and jasmine with hints of cream. The silken palate offers flavours of ripe apricot and mandarin with hints of nectarine. Wonderfully bright on the finish, flavours of stonefruit continue with lingering flavours of nectarine syrup.

Harvested in the cool of the morning at optimal ripeness, the fruit for this wine was quickly transported to the winery where the juice was extracted while still cool. After further cooling and slight clarification, the wine was fermented using careful temperature control and aromatic yeast. Partial malolactic fermentation contributes a slight fullness to the palate while allowing the ripe fruit flavours to shine through. Fined with traditional agents of fresh skim milk and isinglass before filtration and bottling.

 

Information sources:

http://www.nzwine.com/wine-styles/chardonnay/

http://www.wine-searcher.com/grape-98-chardonnay