SOHO 2016 Carter Chardonnay and 2014 Zabeel

For those who know Rachael Carter, the company’s ‘Jomara’ vineyard at Onetangi on Waiheke Island is very special to her. While all of the prestige ‘Black Collection’ wines are of an extremely high standard, the bottlings from Waiheke Island stand out for me. The ‘Westwood’ Rosé, ‘Carter’ Chardonnay, ‘Valentina’ Syrah and ‘Revolver’ Bordeaux-varietal blend are 5-star or very close to 5-star wines for me on a regular basis. James Rowan is SOHO’s contracted winemaker for the Waiheke Island wines, and though he has many vintages there under his belt, he always works hard at making the best possible wines. He is ably assisted by viticulturist Matt Sloane who, like James, is coming to understand and appreciate the nuances of the ‘Jomara’ vineyard.

In 2015, Rachael introduced a new super-premium red wine named ‘Zabeel’ as part of the ‘Blue Blood Collection’, named after the champion sire of Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan and their syndicate. The wine, made as a blend of Merlot, Syrah and Malbec (to date) from the ‘Jomara’ vineyard lived up to its billing (click here to see my review of the inaugural 2013 vintage) The ‘Zabeel’ is regarded by James and Matt as a "moving” or "evolving” style, as the vines grow in, and express more with, maturity. Here, I review the new 2016 ‘Carter’ Chardonnay, the vintage deemed to be exceptional for the variety on the Island, and the second 2014 ‘Zabeel’, a wine only made in exceptional years. There will be a 2015 ‘Zabeel’, but no 2016 or 2017.


  • SOHO ‘Carter’ Waiheke Island Chardonnay 2016
  • SOHO ‘Blue Blood Reserve’ ‘Zabeel’ Waiheke Island 2014

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