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Featured Reviews

Anthony Joseph Vidal 1888 Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2014

12 September,2017
The flagship wines of Vidal Estate in Hawke’s Bay are under the ‘Legacy’ range. Winemaker Hugh Crichton considers them to be his grand cru’ wines, if one uses the Burgundy analogy. My tastings of these wines have put them among the very best of the country. I was extremely impressed with the quality of the ‘Legacy’ wines at the recent annual ‘Legacy’ release event in Wellington (click here to see my report). Arguably, the Chardonnay is the feature variety of the ‘Legacy range, the wine winning more gold medals and trophies than the other styles.

But Hugh Crichton and Vidal Estate have gone one level higher than ‘Legacy’ with the making of a very limited quantity of a super-premium Chardonnay, from a tiny parcel of fruit from one of the ‘Legacy’ vineyards. For Hugh, it was just too good not to bottle separately, and Hugh was very sensitive to ensure that making this wine did not detract in any way from the extremely high standard of the ‘Legacy’ Chardonnay. Hugh sees that there may be other vintages of this super-premium wine, but only in the very greatest vintages. No other variety will be used.

The wine is named ‘Anthony Joseph Vidal 1888’ in honour of the founder of Vidal Estate, marking the year of his arrival to New Zealand. Anthony Joseph Vidal established Vidal Estate in 1905, and soon earned a reputation for excellent wine, championing the Hawke’s Bay region. The wine comes from the Lyons ‘Love Block’ and is based on clone 15 fruit from vines planted in 1996. The wine, coming from arguably the best Hawke’s Bay vintage, is regarded as the absolute pinnacle of Vidal Estate. Here is my review of the wine.


Anthony Joseph Vidal 1888 ‘Lyons Vineyard’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2014

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with green hues, lighter on the edge. The nose is very tightly bound and taut with intense and remarkably penetrating aromas of piquant white stonefruits harmoniously layered with complexing flint and mineral notes, along with creamy and nutty oak, with smoke and toast. The nose has great depth and unfolds in volume with aeration, the fruit blossoming. Medium-full bodied, the palate has immense depth and intensity, but with a finely concentrated heart and elegance and finesse as a feature. The flavours are a complex amalgam of white stonefruits, white florals, flint and minerals, creamy and nutty barrel-ferment notes, and smoky, toasty oak. The mouthfeel is lively with lacy acidity, and is underlined by fruit-driven power providing considerable linearity. The wine carries with excellent energy to a very long, sustained finish of stonefruits, nuts and smoke that lingers forever. This is a superbly concentrated, intense Chardonnay with a complex amalgam of stonefruits, nuts, smoke, flint and minerals on a vibrant, refined and powerful palate and a never-ending finish. Serve with grilled and roasted poultry, pork and veal dishes over the next 5-6+ years. Hand-picked clone 15 fruit from the ‘Lyons’ vineyard ‘Love Block’, vines planted in 1996, WBP and indigenous yeast barrel-fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months on lees in 50% new French oak barriques, undergoing batonnage and MLF, followed by one month in tank. 736 bottles made. 20.0/20 Sep 2017 RRP $120.00
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