Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2013

Chardonnay is one of many strong wines with a creditable track record for Charles and Sandi Wiffen. As with practically every wine, vintage plays a major role in its personality, and this can be seen in the degree of richness, power and complexity over different years. The multi-gold medal 2009 was one of the more powerful bottlings, whereas 2010 was a more elegant wine. With 2011 and 2012, we have seen a growing weight and intensity of fruit, the latter suggesting a return to that of 2009, but more influenced by acidity, this wine also a gold medal winner.

Parallel to vintage expression is the growing experience of winemakers Anthony Ivicevich and James Rowan at West Brook where the wines are made, as they come to understand the intricate and intimate detail of what the Wiffen vineyards in the Lower Wairau and Southern Valleys deliver. Their goal is to fashion wines classically elegant Chardonnay wines with balance and fine textures, rather than chase fashions and fads using exotic oak or incorporating funky sulphide reduction. The vineyards just don’t supply fruit suitable for excesses in any case. What has happened is a continued tweaking of the cooperage exploring different suppliers and toastings.

The new release 2013 is one that the Wiffens and the winemaking team of Anthony and James is extremely happy with. It’s the result of an excellent vintage and the sum of the accumulated experience of many vintages. Here is my review of the wine.


  • Charles Wiffen Marlborough Chardonnay 2013

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