Featured Reviews

Vidal ‘Legacy’ 2016 Chardonnay and 2013 Cabernet Merlot

11 July,2017
The Vidal ‘Legacy’ Chardonnay is one of this country’s best representations of that variety. Its heritage and breeding in its current format is not as long as Chardonnay wines from the likes of Kumeu River and Neudorf, but in its shorter history, it has proven itself and the skills of Vidal winemaker Hugh Crichton by being awarded numerous, if not multiple gold medals and trophies both here and overseas for all the vintages over the last half dozen years. It stands tall, even among the stunningly successful Villa Maria group wines, which have dominated the wine judging scene for many, many years. The style of that of showcasing the fruit and minerality along with the complexing sulphide reduction characteristics that is very popular and contemporary, especially in the judging circuit, and among progressive sommeliers and winemakers. 2016 is deemed to be a great Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay vintage, and the Vidal ‘Legacy’ wine is to be highly anticipated. Here, I review the 2016 release. It appears very elegant and still youthful.

Accompanying the ‘Legacy Chardonnay 2016 in this review is a re-look at the 2013 ‘Legacy’ Cabernet/Merlot. I last reviewed this in October 2015, as part of the Gimblett Gravels 2013 Annual Vintage Selection (click here to see my review of the selection). Here, I have been given the chance to taste this wine again, with a little bottle development. The current releases of the Vidal ‘Legacy’ reds are from the 2014 vintage. It is a treat to see this again, the wine from what is regarded the greatest in living memory in Hawke’s Bay. My reassessment follows. The wine remains remarkably fresh and elegant. It is worth noting that Hugh Crichton regards his ‘Reserve’ wines as his premium bottlings. The ‘Legacy’ wines are only made from vintages that are "truly extraordinary”. www.vidal.co.nz


Vidal ‘Legacy’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

Bright, light straw-yellow colour with pale green hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is soft and elegant with harmonious and well balanced aromas of white stonefruits and white florals, with subtle flinty and mineral reductive complexities, and some nutty oak. This is very elegant and exudes finesse, building in intensity and depth with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate features rich, lively and vibrant fruit flavours of white stonefruits, white florals and subtle notes of citrus fruit entwined with refined flint and mineral complexities. The palate is finely concentrated, forming a delicately textured phenolic-threaded line, enlivened by crisp, lacy acidity. The flavours are pristine, showing drive and linearity, leading to an elegant, sustained finish of stonefruits, nutty oak and minerals. This is a fresh, bright, youthfully elegant, but rich and intense, complex-detailed Chardonnay with stonefruit, nutty oak and flinty minerals. Serve with seafood and poultry over the next 5+ years. Clone 15 Chardonnay from the ‘Lyons’, ‘Keltern’ and ‘Kokako’ vineyards, hand-picked, WBP and indigenous yeast barrel-fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months on lees 43% new French barriques and partial MLF. 28 barriques made. 19.0/20 Jul 2017 RRP $54.99

Vidal ‘Legacy’ Gimblett Gravels Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2013

Cabernet Sauvignon from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay


Very dark, even black-hued purple-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The bouquet is well-proportioned with beautifully ripe aromas of blackcurrant and blackberry fruit along with black plums, cassis and aromatic, pencilly oak. The fruit is vibrant and still youthfully primary in expression, but balanced and harmoniously interwoven. Medium-full bodied, the palate is rich and lusciously ripe with sweet fruit flavours of blackcurrants, blackberries, cassis and black plums, along with sweet and spicy oak notes which enrich the vibrant fruit. The palate is elegantly concentrated with a fine firmness, with powdery tannin extraction along with enlivening acidity. This flows with good energy and vitality to a concentrated and long, lingering finish. This is a beautifully elegant, concentrated and rich, vibrant Cabernet/Merlot blend with blackcurrant, blackberry, cassis and plum fruit on a fresh, lively, very fine-textured palate. It remains youthful in expression. Match with roast lamb and beef over the next 9-10+ years. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot from the ‘Anthony Vidal’ and ‘Omahu Gravels’ vineyards in the Gimblett Gravels, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine spending 27 days on skins and aged 19 months in 50% new French oak barriques. 525 cases made. 19.5-/20 Jul 2017 RRP $65.00

80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot from the ‘Anthony Vidal’ and ‘Omahu Gravels’ vineyards, fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 19 months in 50% new French oak. Very dark, deep, purple-hued ruby-red colour, lighter on the edge, and youthful in appearance. The nose is very refined with fragrant blackcurrant fruit entwined with plum and liquorice layers, lifted by oak vanilla, unveiling violet floral notes. The aromatics build in intensity and detail with aeration. Medium-full bodied, rich, lush and spicy blackcurrant fruit flavours are lifted by sweet vanilla-like oak, and unfold layers of exotic plum fruit, liquorice and floral elements. The juicy and opulent fruit and oak flavours are underlined by very fine-grained tannins lending elegant structure and grip. The wine flows smoothly to a very long, lush, exotic nuanced finish. This is a rich, plush-fruited Cabernet/Merlot blend with exotic, vanilla-like oak and fine, smooth tannin structure. Match with lamb and game meat over the next 10-12 years. 19.0/20 Oct 2015 RRP $69.99
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