Top picks of New Zealand chardonnay's 2016 vintage

by Michael Cooper / 23 September, 2017
RelatedArticlesModule - Wine

New Zealand chardonnay. Photo/Getty Images

Wine columnist Michael Cooper lists some of the best New Zealand chardonnays of 2016.

If you could drink only the white wine of a single grape variety, what would it be? For me, the selection would be easy, because as a source of deeply satisfying, full-bodied dry whites, chardonnay is unparalleled.

At the end of the warm, heavy-cropping 2016 vintage, winemakers picked chardonnay as a highlight. There’s now a great array on offer, from fresh and buoyantly fruity to powerful, rich and complex.

Beach House The Levels Stoney Beach Gravels Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016 •••••

This already delicious, classy wine was estate-grown in The Levels Vineyard, Te Awanga, and fermented and mat ured in French oak casks. Fragrant and full-bodied (13% alc/vol), it has highly concentrated, ripe stone-fruit flavours, enriched with toasty oak, and excellent complexity. $35

Hunter’s Unoaked Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 ••••

This single-vineyard wine was handled solely in tanks, rather than barrels. Drinking well now, it is mouthfilling (13% alc/vol), with strong, vibrant grapefruit and peach flavours, moderate acidity and a long, fully dry finish. $19

Lake Chalice The Raptor Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 ••••½

Unexpectedly classy for its price, this refined wine was made from hand-picked grapes and fermented and aged in French oak barriques. Fragrant, mouthfilling (13% alc/vol) and creamy-textured, it has vibrant peach and grapefruit flavours, leesy, biscuity notes adding complexity, and a finely poised, persistent finish. $23

Selaks The Taste Collection Hawke’s Bay Buttery Chardonnay 2016 ••••

If you like soft, buttery chardonnays, try this. Mostly barrel-fermented, it is full-bodied (13% alc/vol), with ripe, peachy flavours and strong buttery, toasty notes – as you’d expect. $22

The Boneline Barebone Waipara Chardonnay 2016 ••••½

If you are looking for an unoaked, chablis-style chardonnay, this beauty is hard to beat. It’s not at all brash, but still full of personality. Mouthfilling (13% alc/vol), it is fresh and vibrant, with pure, delicate, citrusy, peachy flavours, lively acidity, a minerally streak and excellent vigour and length. $23

Vidal Reserve Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016 ••••

Bargain-priced, this wine was fermented in French oak barriques. It is full-bodied (13% alc/vol), with vibrant grapefruit-like flavours, a subtle seasoning of biscuity oak, fresh acidity and youthful vigour. $20

Wine of the week

Pask Small Batch Gimblett Road Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2016 ••••

Estate-grown, this attractive Hawke’s Bay wine was fermented with natural (wild) yeasts and barrel-matured. It is fresh and elegant, with substantial body (13% alc/vol), lively, citrusy, peachy flavours, gently seasoned with oak, good complexity, and a fragrant bouquet. $25

This article was first published in the September 9, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

Richard Prebble: Jacinda Ardern will face the tyranny of events
86009 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Politics

Richard Prebble: Jacinda Ardern will face the tyra…

by Richard Prebble

I predicted Bill English would lose the election and the winner would be Winston Peters. But no forecaster, including the PM, predicted her pregnancy.

Read more
Aokigahara: More than just the ‘suicide forest’
85966 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z World

Aokigahara: More than just the ‘suicide forest’

by Justin Bennett

It's known as a 'suicide forest', but Justin Bennett found Aokigahara's quiet beauty outweighed its infamous reputation.

Read more
Truth and Lye: New perspectives on the brilliance of Len Lye
85816 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Arts

Truth and Lye: New perspectives on the brilliance …

by Sally Blundell

New essays on New Zealand-born US artist Len Lye elevate him to the status of Australasia’s most notable 20th-century artist.

Read more
Brain activity may hold the secret to helping infertile couples
86046 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Health

Brain activity may hold the secret to helping infe…

by Nicky Pellegrino

For about a third of infertility cases in New Zealand, there is no obvious reason why seemingly fertile couples struggle to conceive.

Read more
Farewells on the Auckland wharves, captured by photographer John Rykenberg
85964 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Farewells on the Auckland wharves, captured by pho…

by Frances Walsh

More than one million images from Rykenberg Photography, taken around Auckland, are now in the Auckland Libraries Collection. But who are the people?

Read more
'Termite hell' for Golden Bay man after he woke covered in insects
86027 2018-01-18 11:59:55Z Environment

'Termite hell' for Golden Bay man after he woke co…

by Hamish Cardwell

A Golden Bay man spending his first night in his new house says he woke to find his bed, walls and floor covered in hundreds of creepy crawlies.

Read more
Ten ‘stealth microplastics’ to avoid if you want to save the oceans
86015 2018-01-18 11:18:49Z Environment

Ten ‘stealth microplastics’ to avoid if you want t…

by Sharon George and Deirdre McKay

There's a growing movement to stop the amount of wasteful plastic that goes into our oceans, but what about the tiny bits we can hardly see?

Read more
It's time to chlorinate New Zealand's drinking water
86001 2018-01-18 09:41:15Z Social issues

It's time to chlorinate New Zealand's drinking wat…

by The Listener

The inconvenience to chlorine refuseniks is tiny compared with the risk of more suffering and tragedy from another Havelock North-style contamination.

Read more