2017 Chardonnay

A particularly fine example of Chardonnay from our vineyard, with plenty of zesty citrus and grapefruit, made complete and interesting by complex grilled-nuts barrel ferment character.

Out of stock


Elegant chardonnay with unforced complexity and a long glide of flavour to close. Stonefruit, lime, cracked wheat, nuts and spice. A suggestion of spritz but only that. Lovely texture; creamy without being overt. It’s drinking well now though it will arguably improve over the next few years. 91 Points (Campbell Mattinson).

Winemaker's Notes

Chardonnay is one of the original varieties planted in our vineyard in 1988, and expanded in 1999. It consistently produces wines that combine intensity of flavor with richness and balance. Traditionally made using wild ferments of cloudy juice in oak, the emphasis is on complexity and depth of character, combined with intense fruit and crisp structure.

The 2016-2017 growing season started with a wet winter and cool spring, resulting in later growth but strong canopies from all the moisture. The summer was particularly hot, with consistently high temperatures from late December to late February, but then switched into a perfect, mild autumn with sunny days, cool nights and little rain. Crops were larger than expected, accordingly taking longer to ripen, but having perfect conditions to do it in. In contrast to some recent years, ripening of different varieties was well spread apart, so that vintage was measured and controlled (leisurely would be going too far!). There are bright fresh flavours in the earlier varieties, with increasing depth, colour and detail in those ripening later.

Hand-picked 6-10 March 2017 at an average of 11.5 Baumé. Only the free-run and lightly-pressed juice was used, with minimal settling, and entirely fermented in French oak barriques (21% new). Ferments were 81% by the indigenous yeast but this year we dabbled again with some inoculated barrels. The wine was stirred on yeast lees for nine months with full malolactic fermentation. Bottled January 2018 under screwcap; 443 dozen made. Alcohol 12.5% by volume. Vegan friendly?: No (fined with milk protein).

Drink now to 2032.

In The Cellar

Our Chardonnay has been under screwcap since 2003, but there is even life left in some of the earlier vintages under cork. 1991-1995 were not tasted this time. Wines tasted from the winery museum. If your cellaring conditions are less than ideal, consider reducing the expected life of the wine. Tasted June 2014.

Vintage Tasting Notes Drink Until Rating
2013 Pale green. Alluring and exotic with tropical fruit, florals and spice. Good fruit weight and balance, hints of aniseed, lovely and clean. 2029 Excellent
2012 (not made)
2011 Pale green straw. Quite subtle, citrus with green herbs and light sulphide complexity. Tight and fresh, with tremendous lemon and grapefruit zip. Racy. 2029 Excellent
2010 Pale green straw. A lurch to the wild side. Loads of barrel ferment complexity, subtle fruit. Lacks the drive and length on the palate of better vintages. 2018 Good
2009 Pale straw-green. Lovely nose of lemon, florals and confectionery. Soft and generous fruit with good weight, but elegant, subtle and with great balance. Relatively primary and unadorned 2024 Excellent
2008 Pale straw-green. A ripe wine from a mild summer: lots of green melon/honeydew fruit, with hints of oak, barrel ferment and wattle blossom-like florals. Tight and youthful palate. 2024 Very good
2007 Light straw-green. Fresh citrus, dried herbs, sage, complex and interesting. Very soft and harmonious, bacony oak in the background. Palate clean, tight and fresh, with snappy lemon zest and grapefruit. 2026 Outstanding
2006 Straw-yellow. Quite mature nose of honeyed stonefruit and caramel oak. Soft and generous with sweet fruit. Very enjoyable and harmonious. Soon Very good
2005 Light straw. Florals, lemon essence, confectionery, with peaty/bacony oak. Sherbetty-fresh and lemony flavours with rich and smooth caramelly development, savoury notes. Soft and fine with a long finish and clean acid. 2021 Excellent
2004 Straw-yellow. Honey, florals, lemony fruit and hints of pastry. Light and fresh with lovely balance, it shows the softer, sweeter fruit of a ripe year. 2019 Excellent
2003 Deep straw-yellow. Quite fresh with citrus, dried grass, sandalwood and mint. The palate has fresh citrussy fruit with hints of lanolin, musk and grapefruit. Tight and fresh. 2019 Excellent
2002 Light gold. Complex and appealing, quite fresh. Lemon and melon fruit with jasmine, barrel ferment and some peaty oak. Slightly lean and quite elegant. Now Very good
2001 Golden. Mature and buttery, rich and appealing. Soft, silky, lingering and full. Plenty of weight and richness but with enough finesse, enjoyable. Now Good
2000 Golden. Developed stonefruit, ripe peach, honey and toast. Some suplphide complexity. Now Good
1999 (Not commercially released, frost year). Golden. Oak, caramel and vestiges of citrussy fruit. Still very pleasant, though past its best, depending on bottle. Past Good
1997 Amber. Caramel-molasses, nutty. Pleasant palate but past its best and possibly not a good bottle. Past
1996 Golden. Still has melon fruit and slightly corky oak. Rich, nutty, soft palate, still tight with bright acid and very enjoyable. Past Very Good