Black Barn 2016 Unoaked Chardonnay, Rosé and Orange Wine

As a classical Hawke’s Bay boutique wine brand, Black Barn focusses on the Bordeaux varietal wines and Chardonnay, made primarily from 10 ha of estate vineyards at Havelock North. However winemaker Dave McKee makes a point of diversifying the range to provide a true boutique and cult wine presentation. All of the wines are small volume wines, some of which are only available from the cellar door and excellent bistro. Dave is meticulous in his winemaking, and this is a major reason behind his success in making innovative styles, many of which he sees as an experienced wine judge.

Here, I review three wines, showing Dave’s keenness to experiment and produce interesting and thought-provoking bottlings. There are several pathways with unoaked Chardonnay, one being the delicate, pure and refreshing style, or at the other extreme, fully worked with lees and other inputs – except oak, of course. Dave has chosen to make rosé from dedicated vineyard blocks, the fruit picked early for freshness, rather than by the saignee method. The orange wine has more consideration as Dave dislikes those made without regard to balance, often showing faults such as microbial spoilage, oxidation and coarse phenolics. He acknowledges the part textures and complexity play in this category. This orange wine is under the ‘R&D’ tier for Black Barn.


  • Black Barn Hawke’s Bay Unoaked Chardonnay 2016
  • Black Barn Hawke’s Bay Rosé 2016
  • Black Barn ‘R&D’ Hawke’s Bay ‘Orange’ Wine 2016

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