Neudorf ‘Twenty Five Rows’ Nelson Chardonnay 2013

It can difficult to comprehend how Chablis is one of the most revered wines and wine styles of the world, yet its imitators are among the most derided. For the most part, unoaked Chardonnay is made with the lowest aspirations, from left-over fruit, and to save on costs rather than any other reasons. The fruit employed is certainly far from premium, and the minimalist intervention and inputs more for ease rather than finesse, balance and style. A few producers in New Zealand are attempting the Chablis-inspired style seriously, making wine based on the finest possible fruit available, from fully mature vines, cropped low and properly ripened, and handled with great care and sensitivity in the winery to enable the finest and most precise detail to play its part in something beautifully refined and fascinating, a wine of particular style and transparency to allow its origins to speak.

Those who are dabbling in this style are somewhat reluctant to refer to the name "Chablis”, not wanting to appear to be unoriginal, and possibly for fear of disrespecting a great region and wine in the eyes of the sophisticated and educated. Or they don’t want to be associated with wines that seem too subtle or simply plain for those who don’t yet understand what Chablis is truly about. From the consumers’ and wine lovers’ point of view, it requires putting on a different hat to appreciate the different parameters by which these wines should be approached. Sheer richness, ripeness and overt inputs or complexities are not desirable. Purity, freshness, cut and linearity are more important aspects to consider. Then the most delicate and poised detail to provide interest, and the most subtle, building richness and presence to make an expression of something special and another level of quality.

Neudorf Vineyards has begun its exploration of the Chablis-inspired style, desiring to have "unadorned” Chardonnay express their unique Moutere terroir. Employing low-cropped Mendoza clone fruit from the first 25 rows from the ‘Hill Block’ fermented in tank and aged in neutral oak and undergoing partial MLF, the aim to fine the purest expression of the uniqueness of the site. Here is my review of the wine that is the beginning of this work.


  • Neudorf ‘Twenty Five Rows’ Nelson Chardonnay 2013

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