Black Estate and Netherwood 2013 Chardonnays

There’s a case for Chardonnay being the best variety in the Waipara Valley. One can certainly cite outstanding releases from the district by Pegasus Bay and Mountford and a good number of others such as Greystone, Muddy Water, Black Estate and Waipara Springs, but I believe the track records of Riesling and Pinot Noir are presently superior. However, Chardonnay is quickly joining their position. Black Estate has released two single vineyard Chardonnays from the great 2013 vintage as a fascinating comparison of soil and terroir. The ‘Estate’ wine is sourced from the property where Omihi joins Waipara, the fruit being own-rooted Mendoza clone, from 3.8 ha of 18 y.o. vines planted in Awapuni clay influenced soils. The ‘Netherwood’ wine is Black Estate’s first release from mass selection vines thought to be Mendoza clone, planted by Russell Black and Danny Schuster in 1986 on sandstone-clay ‘Waipara Greensand’ soils of the Omihi site. The vineyard is 5 km further north from the Black Estate vineyard. The 0.8 ha ‘Netherwood’ plantings were among the first hillside plantings in North Canterbury, and Black Estate now lease this vineyard. Penelope Naish of Black Estate describes the ‘Estate’ wine being brooding, dense and weighty, featuring minerality and acidity, and the ‘Netherwood’ wine as being aromatic with a soft, broad palate. Following are my reviews of the two wines. My interpretation in ‘old world’ terms would be the ‘Estate’ wine is Meursault-like, and the ‘Netherwood’ is the Puligny-Montrachet. Both are outstanding. www.blackestate.co.nz


  • Black Estate Waipara Valley Chardonnay 2013
  • Black Estate ‘Netherwood’ Waipara Valley Chardonnay 2013

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