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General Blog

Palliser Estate ‘The Great Riddler’ Chardonnay 2016

In July 2016, Richard Riddiford, the founding managing director of Palliser Estate passed away. Richard was a very strong-willed man who is best known for making Palliser Estate one of the strongest producers in Martinborough, and who many credit was a major force in putting the Martinborough region on the world wine map. He was also a very strong supporter of fine New Zealand wine, and was behind the beginnings of the ‘Toast Martinborough’ wine festival and inaugural Pinot Noir Conference in 2001. He was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday honours, inducted into the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame in 2010 and received posthumously the Sir George Fistonich Medal in 2016 for services to New Zealand wine (click here to see my article on his passing).

But behind the infamous gruff veneer was a human being with a kind heart, and a small group of Richard’s friends and colleagues were gathered By Palliser Estate to remember the more personal side of him. Palliser Estate’s CEO Pip Goodwin and winemaker Allan Johnson hosted a lunch at Richard’s favourite restaurant, Boulcott Street Bistro to mark the second anniversary of his passing, and to also introduce a wine made as a tribute to him.

Pip Goodwin, CEO & Allan Johnson, Winemaker
Palliser Estate

‘The Great Riddler’
Richard Riddiford’s tribute wine is called ‘The Great Riddler’ and sits with the super-premium ‘The Great Dogs’ series of wines. ‘The Riddler’ is one of Richards’ nicknames, this originating from the incorrect spelling of his surname in a media article. Richard’s favourite wine was Chardonnay, so ‘The Great Riddler’ is a Chardonnay made from fruit from the original ‘Om Santi’ Palliser Estate vineyard, from his last vintage, 2016. The wine is a selection by winemakers Allan Johnson, Guy McMaster, Pip Goodwin and consultant Olly Masters, of the two best barrels, thus making it a true limited edition wine with a production of 500 bottles. It will only be available from the cellar door. Here are my notes on the wine tasted over lunch.

Palliser Estate ‘The Great Riddler’ Martinborough Chardonnay 2016
Bright, full, light golden-yellow colour. The bouquet is full and voluminous, quite expansive, and packed with intense, beautifully ripened yellow stonefruit aromas along with citrus fruits, tropical fruits and complexing mealy notes, harmoniously melded with creamy barrel-ferment and soft nutty-spicy oak notes. The aromatics are dense and full, and unfold layers of interest and richness. Medium-full bodied, the palate has masses of packed flavours of ripe yellow stonefruits, tropical fruit and citrus fruit interwoven with mealy complexity. The palate has immense presence, but is seamlessly smooth in its mouthfilling nature, combining a near unctuous richness with plush, luxurious, creamy barrel-ferment textures, and soft, integrated, lacy acidity which contributes to the roundness. This is sensational and multi-dimensional and complex in flavour, yet the balance is striking resulting in wonderful, perfect integration. The flavours and rich mouthfeel flow seamlessly to a sustained, nuanced finish. A stupendously rich and complex Chardonnay of great presence and multi-dimensional facets. Serve with creamy seafood, poultry and pork dishes over the next 5-6 years. Clone 15 fruit from the ‘Om Santi’ vineyard, vines planted in 2005, fully barrel-fermented with light solids by indigenous yeasts to 12.9% alc., the wine aged 18 months in new Damy wood comprising 20% of the oak, with 80% in second fill Mercurey 228 L barrels, undergoing some batonnage and 100% MLF. 500 bottles made. 20.0/20 Jul 2018 RRP $85.00 Cellar Door only

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