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Villa Maria ‘Cellar Selection’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2017

06 July,2018

The most successful Chardonnay exhibitor in New Zealand wine judging competitions for the last two decades is Villa Maria Estate. Not only do the ‘Single Vineyard’ and ‘Reserve’ wines win the top awards, but the more accessible ‘Cellar Selection’ range has taken a good share of the gold medals too. It’s that ‘trickle-down’ effect where what is learnt in making small, high-end batches can be applied to the wines made in a larger volume. The ‘Single Vineyard’ and ‘Reserve’ wines can possess very distinctive and funky characters that appeal especially to critics, judges and serious wine enthusiasts. For a broader market, these characters must be moderated to a degree to ensure that the consumers at this level are not put off. But all things in wine evolve, and we are seeing the incorporation of complexing inputs that might have been seen only at the top level before, becoming standard in the more commercial wines. The careful introduction of the complexities has allowed the greater body of consumers follow the changes with ease. I believe Villa Maria have rightly been cautious in their approach on this. Here, I review the new release 2017 Villa Maria ‘Cellar Selection’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay, from a more difficult growing season, which required a careful approach to balance and inputs, and thus does not push boundaries. Its harmony makes it a success. www.villamaria.co.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Villa Maria ‘Cellar Selection’ Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Hawke’s Bay

17.5/20

Bright yellow colour with pale golden hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is elegantly proportioned with fresh aromas of white and yellow stonefruits and some citrus fruit elements, very finely entwined with subtle creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak notes and a suggestion of lemon-curd MLF. This is harmonious and integrated. Medium-full bodied, the palate has good depth and intensity of stonefruits and citrus fruits melded with creamy and nutty oak hints and a delicate amalgam of minerals and lemon-curd MLF. This has a good core with some roundness and a smooth flow, enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity. The wine carries to a light, but lingering finish. This is an elegantly concentrated Chardonnay with good depth of stonefruit flavours harmoniously integrated with subtle oak on a fresh, smooth palate. Serve with seafood and most white meat dishes over the next 3-4 years. Clones 95, 15, 548 and Mendoza from the ‘Keltern’, ‘Lyons’ and ‘Waikahu’ vineyards, 10% of the fruit hand-picked, the wine fully barrel-fermented, 10% by indigenous yeasts, to 13.5% alc., the wine aged in approx. 17% new French oak with 20% MLF. 17.5/20 Jul 2018 RRP $17.99

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