It is well-recognised that Tony Bish is one of this country’s best makers of Chardonnay. Not only is this based on his track record with the Sacred Hill ‘Riflemans’ wine, but his different approaches in making his own-label Tony Bish wines which include the use of concrete eggs for fermentation.
I too, like Raymond found all his wines are elegant and refined, never any lack of interest, detail or intensity.
FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW
Tony Bish Heartwood Chardonnay 2019, Hawke’s BayChardonnay from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 11-Jun-2020Bright, medium yellow with some depth and a golden hue. Perfume of white florals, oak and spices fill the glass with grace and style; entwined with lemon sherbet, citrus peels, underlying a subtle note of roasted chestnut. Medium-bodied, mouthwatering acidity with a softness carries lemon sherbet, and spicy oak nuances flow with strength and power; unveiling citrus peels, subtle nuttiness and white florals. Prickly spices sharpened the mouthfeel, alongside a smooth and fine phenolic texture, leads to a lingering fresh finish. This is an elegant and perfumed Chardonnay with pure attractions, purity of the fruit shines through with a smooth and fine phenolic texture line, freshen by lively acidity. Match with grilled seafood and fowl over the next 5+ years. Mendoza clone, from Bridge Pa Triangle vineyards. Handpicked, 100% barrel-fermented to 13.5% alc. Aged in 100% Taransaud French oak barriques, 30% new. Full MLF. 19/20pts June 2020 RRP $35
Tony Bish ZEN Chardonnay 2018, Hawke’s BayChardonnay from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 11-Jun-2020Clear, medium yellow colour with a slight gold hue. The nose is complex and elegantly presented. Nuances of warmed hazelnuts, lemon curd in the centre, interweaved with fresh herbs, sweet chamomile; unveiling spices melded in subtle soft and light caramel and cream. Medium-bodied, lemon curd and spices are on the centre stage, complexing flavours of fresh herbs mingled with hazelnuts, discreet caramel and cream nuances. The palate is bright and structured; the acid is lively with power, leading the flows with great energy to a wet-stone mineral texture line balanced by light cream, leaves a long and sustained finish. This is a sophisticated and elegant Chardonnay, full of charming interests that excite and satisfy. Match with exotic shellfish and white truffle over the next 6+ years. The second release, single-vineyard Skeetfield block, Mendoza clone. Handpicked, fermented in French oak ovum egg and new French oak barriques to 13.5%. Full MLF. 19.5/20pts June 2020 RRP $140
Tony Bish Skeetfield Chardonnay 2018, Hawke’s BayChardonnay from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 24-Jul-2020Bright, medium lemon with depth and a golden hue, even throughout. The nose is voluminous and engaging with citrus, stonefruit, dried florals, entwined with sweet hazelnuts, warm butter and nutty oak detail. The palate is mealy and opulent, with flavours of white peach, citrus and grilled pineapple, along with grapefruit zest and pith, melded with hazelnuts, warm butter, vanilla and nutty oak detail. The acidity is buoyant and mouthwatering, well balanced with the concentrated fruit, and support by the toasty oak element provides freshness to this medium-full bodied wine. The mouthfeel is coated with an elegant extraction of phenolic, provides grip and structure. This wine is very youthful in appearance with strong ageing potential, would benefit from decanting. Match with roasted chicken, charred grilled fish over the next 8-10 years. Dry-farmed Mendoza clone handpicked, whole bunch pressed. 100% barrel-fermented to 13% alc, 60% new Taransaud French oak. 100% MLF, battonage, on lees for 12 months. 19/20 pts July 2020 RRP $60
Tony Bish Skin In The Game Chardonnay 2019, Hawke’s BayChardonnay from New Zealand - Hawke's BayReview Date : 24-Jul-2020Bright, medium straw yellow with a golden hue, even throughout. The nose is gentle, on the low tone with concentrated aromas of chamomile, yellow florals, lemon flesh and preserves, underlying a roasted corn and cashew nuts detail. Medium-bodied, there's a good core of citrus fruit of lemon, tangerine and grapefruit with its pith, along with apricot, greengage, melded with yellow florals, chamomile and a subtle hint of cashew, corn and burnt butter. Mouthwatering acidity is uplifting and gentle, providing balance and structure; flows with energy, along with a pithiness which compliments the fruit and lingers to a moreish finish. The skin extraction is mellow and elegant, contributes to soft, powdery phenolic grip texture. This is a charming Chardonnay full of interest; familiar characters with defined features on a powdery phenolic texture. Match with tapas selections over the next 5 years. Handpicked fruit, destemmed, foot crushed, fermented in an open fermenter to 12.5% alc. Aged in concrete egg for 11 months on lees. 18.5+/20 pts July 2020 RRP $30