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Featured Reviews

Alchemy Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2015

01 March,2017
Neal and Suzanna Cave established Alchemy Wines after returning from London to Wellington, then moving to Hawke’s Bay for a lifestyle change. They "stumbled across” their dream property of an old villa on a vineyard in the Dartmoor Valley about 10 years ago. The Caves have since acquired another vineyard, just 10 minutes away from their home, in the Omarunui district. Both vineyards have been replanted and redeveloped now, and the Caves have approx. 20 ha in production, mainly in Chardonnay, including 3 ha of Bordeaux red varieties. The Chardonnay is in clones 15, 95, 548, 1066 and 809, and the fruit has been contracted to some high profile producers in Hawke’s Bay and beyond. Neal studied viticulture and winemaking at EIT in Taradale, and the Caves introduced their own label, a Chardonnay named ‘Alchemy’, with the 2010 vintage, working with Elise Montgomery. Ant Mackenzie has been the consulting winemaker since 2013. The Chardonnay wines have developed a strong following, especially in Auckland and Hawke’s Bay. The Alchemy brand will commercialise red wines in the near future. Here, I review the new 2015 Alchemy Chardonnay.


Alchemy Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Bright, even straw-yellow colour with pale gold hues and some depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is soft and gently voluminous with well-concentrated aromas showing an array of fresh white and yellow stonefruits entwined with piquant, nutty oak and an amalgam of creamy barrel-ferment and MLF notes, unfolding minerally lees and toasty oak detail with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate is harmoniously integrated with interwoven flavours of yellow stonefruits, creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak, with a layer of mealy complexities. The palate is stylishly rich, revealing positive palate presence, the flavours filling the mouth. The wine flows smoothly on a fine-textured line with underlying alcohol power and fresh, lacy acidity, leading to a long and sustained finish with stonefruit, mealy and toasty flavours. This is a stylishly rich and harmonious, complex layered Chardonnay with stonefruit, mealy and nutty flavours. Match with grilled seafood, poultry and pork dishes over the next 4-5 years. Chardonnay clones 15, 95 and 548, from the Dartmoor and Omarunui vineyards, vines 5-15 y.o., hand-picked, WBP and fully barrel-fermented, partially with indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 11 months on lees in 30% new French oak, with 95% MLF. 19.0-/20 Mar 2017 RRP $28.50
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