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Featured Reviews

Mudbrick ‘Francesca’ Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2017

19 July,2018

Mudbrick Vineyard on Waiheke Island has ‘The Velvet’ as the flagship wine. Originally, its blend was undisclosed, but clearly it was a selection of barrels from the Bordeaux red varieties. The wine was ‘out there’, maybe ‘over the top’ with ripe and bold flavours and oaking to match. Recent vintages have seen a greater elegance in the wine, and this is to its benefit in terms of balance and accessibility, with a greater focus on the fruit quality. And the varietal proportions are disclosed, which from my viewpoint does wonders for transparency. I wonder how much of the change is due to Pat Newton coming on board as winemaker in 2011?

Mudbrick owners Nick and Robyn Jones have wanted a Chardonnay and a Syrah to join the ranks of ‘The Velvet’, and in 2017, considered to be a challenging year, the Chardonnay fruit was so good that the first ‘Francesca’ Chardonnay was made. I’ve already reviewed the 2017 ‘Reserve’ Viognier and Chardonnay from Waiheke Island in this vintage for Mudbrick, and I rated them both 5-stars (click here to see). The ‘Francesca’ is a selection of the best Chardonnay barrels, based on the criteria of richness complexity and length. It is named after the Jones’ daughter who was born the year that Mudbrick was established. Only 85 cases were made. Winemaker Pat Newton tells me there is a flagship Syrah in the works, to be named ‘Oscar’ after Nick and Robyn Jones’ son. I review the 2017 ‘Francesca’ Chardonnay here.


Mudbrick ‘Francesca’ Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Northland & Auckland


Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, a little paler on the rim. The nose is elegantly presented with firmly packed, but rich layers of white and yellow stonefruits harmoniously melded with creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak, with a little smoke, unfolding an amalgam with toasty oak and buttery MLF complexities. This is concentrated with finesse, intensity and a degree of elegance. Medium-bodied, the palate has concentrated and intense, vibrant fruit flavours of yellow stonefruits, citrus fruit and tropical fruit along with a mealy layer. The fruit is interwoven with a fine line of creamy barrel-ferment, nutty oak and lemon-curd and buttery MLF, which is balanced by crisp acidity. This has excellent drive and linearity, flowing along a tight line, leading to a finish that blossoms in fruit, oak and MLF richness. This is an elegantly concentrated and firmly-packed Chardonnay with a complex array of fruit, oak and MLF flavours on a fresh, balanced palate with linearity and a blossoming, detailed finish. Serve with roasted pork and veal over the next 5+ years. 100% Chardonnay from the ‘Shepherds Point’, ‘Hawkes Crest’, ‘Seaview Road’ and ‘Mudbrick vineyards, WBP direct to barrel and fully indigenous yeast barrel-fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 9 months in 45% new French oak barrels with 100% MLF. 85 cases made. 19.0+/20 Jul 2018 RRP $120.00

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