Gibbston Valley ‘China Terrace’ Chardonnay 2017 and 2016, and ‘GV’ Pinot Noir 2017
Gibbston Valley Winery is one of the most important wine producers in Central Otago. One of the pioneers of the region, Alan Brady planted Vines in 1983 releasing his first commercial vintage wines in 1987. From small beginnings, Gibbston Valley has grown, with some expansion pains, as most do, into one of Central Otago’s most popular wine destinations with restaurant, bustling cellar door and a wine cave to feel the ‘natural’ underground experience of wine storage and maturation. Alan Brady has moved on, but along the way, a succession of top winemakers (and viticulturists) have honed their craft with Alan. Incumbent head winemaker Chris Keys joined the company in 2006 and has tightened up the range and pushed the quality of the wines even further, and I see the ‘Single Vineyard’ Gibbston and Bendigo Pinot Noir wines as among the top bottlings from Central Otago. Chris has been handed the baton from Grant Taylor and continued the wonderful progress.
Chris would also rate his Chardonnay wines from the ‘China Terrace’ area of Bendigo as being of the same ilk as his Pinot Noirs. The vineyard they have used since 2007 sits on an elevated terrace in "a lovely sweet spot climatically and geologically – warm enough, just fertile enough, without excess” says Chris. The growth happens slowly allowing time for decisions in the vineyard without undue pressure. His tastings of the wines suggest a decade of drinking too. Here are my reviews of the ‘China Terrace’ Chardonnay, 2017 and 2016, plus the single B95 clone bottling of 2016, plus the 2017 ‘GV Collection’ Pinot Noir. www.gibbstonvalley.com
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Gibbston Valley ‘China Terrace’ Central Otago Chardonnay 2017Chardonnay from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 08-Oct-2018Bright, light straw-yellow colour, pale on the edge. The nose is fresh and aromatic with intense and penetrating aromas of white stonefruits, peaches and citrus fruit layered with creamy, nutty oak and some toastiness, with a little flint. This has depth and firmness at the core. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a fine, firmly concentrated core with deep and intense flavours of white stonefruits, peach and citrus fruit entwined with creamy barrel-ferment, nutty and toasty oak and a little flint. The mouthfeel is fresh and lively with bright acidity and the wine carries along a light-textured phenolic line leading to a very long lingering finish of stonefruits, nuts and toast. This is a fine, firm and fresh Chardonnay with intensity and concentration of stonefruit, nutty and toasty flavours on a bright palate with good length. Match with grilled seafood and poultry over the next 4+ years. Clones 2-23 and B95 from the ‘China Terrace’, hand-picked on 25 April (late), WBP, and indigenous yeast barrel-fermented in barriques and puncheons with high solids to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months on lees in 25% new oak with 85% MLF. 18.5+/20 Oct 2018 RRP $42.00
Gibbston Valley ‘China Terrace’ Central Otago Chardonnay 2016Chardonnay from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 08-Oct-2018Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with some green hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly full and broad with good weight and presence, and rich and stylishly restrained aromas of white stonefruits and citrus fruit entwined with nutty oak and flinty complexities, some creamy barrel-ferment unfolding to enrichen the bouquet, and revealing an underlying mineral freshness. Medium-full bodied, the palate is full with integrated flavours of rich white and yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit forming a well-packed heart. The fruit is melded with a subtle layering of creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak with hints of toast and flint. The mouthfeel is harmonious and balanced, rounded and rich with a firm core, and an underlying linearity and good acid brightness, leading to a long toasty finish. This is a full, integrated, harmoniously layered complex Chardonnay with rich and ripe stonefruits, nuts, toast and flint flavours. Serve with roated poultry and pork over the next 4 years. Clones 2-23 and B95 from the ‘China Terrace’, hand-picked on 6 April, WBP, and indigenous yeast barrel-fermented in barriques and puncheons with high solids to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months on lees in 25% new oak with 100% MLF. 18.5/20 Oct 2018 RRP $42.00
Gibbston Valley ‘China Terrace’ ‘Central Otago ‘B95’ Chardonnay 2016Chardonnay from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 08-Oct-2018Bright straw-yellow colour with pale golden hues, lighter edged. The nose is softly concentrated with a solid and deep core with an amalgam of savoury white stonefruits, nutty and complexing mealy oak and a firm line of gunflinty reduction all forming a dense heart. Ripe yellow stonefruit notes emerge with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a fulsome and rich, well-concentrated and packed heart of savoury yellow stonefruits with nutty and mealy oak, and gunflint complexities. The palate has weight and depth with layers of richness, unfolding layers of fruit, oak and flinty detail. This is mouthfilling and the wine carries to a full, strong, concentrated and deep, sustained finish. This is a weighty and fulsome, complex Chardonnay with deep and dense flavours of savoury stonefruits, nutty oak and gunflint, on a solid, powerful palate. Match with roasted pork and veal over the next 4+ years. A bottling of B95 clone Chardonnay from 3 rows in the ‘China Terrace’ vineyard, Bendigo, hand-picked on 5 April, and 95% indigenous yeast barrel-fermented in French barriqies and puncheons to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months on lees in 25% new oak, with 95% MLF. 19.0-/20 Oct 2018 RRP $55.00
Gibbston Valley ‘GV Collection’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017Pinot Noir from New Zealand - OtagoReview Date : 08-Oct-2018Even ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim, with slight purple hues. The nose is elegant in proportion with good depth of dark-red cherry and berry fruit entwined with fresh and dark herbs and a little whole bunch stalk perfume. This has cooler spectrum elements that lend a fresh edginess. Medium-bodied, the palate is softly full with good mouthfeel and presence, with flavours of fresh red cherry and berry fruit intermingling with fresh and dark herbs, and subtle stalk elements. The fruit forms a good heart with moderate depth and concentration and is supported by light, grainy tannin extraction and grip with balancing lacy acidity lending energy and tension. The flavours carry to an elegant finish. This is an elegant Pinot Noir with red cherry and berry, and herb flavours on a grainy-textured palate with freshness. Match with tuna, salmon and poultry over the next 4 years. A blend of hand-picked fruit from 50% Bendigo, 46% Pisa and 4% Gibbston, fermented with 18% whole clusters on average to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 23% new French oak. 17.5/20 Oct 2018 RRP $46.00