The perfect chardonnay
It’s a hard road finding the perfect chardonnay. But this week I think I’ve cracked it — I’ve found one for the wallet, one from the Wanaka whizzkids, and one that will go down in history…
Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Hands up if you're partial to a whiff of lit match, grapefruit, toasted coconut and grilled peach. And if you salivate at the promise of juicy white nectarine, inviting butterscotch and creamy, lemony lusciousness on the palate. Sourced from two vineyard sites including Esk River and Dartmoor Valley and expertly coaxed into bottle by winemaker Gordon Russell, this is an outstanding example for less than $20.
Maude Central Otago Chardonnay 2014
Don't let anyone tell you that Central Otago is all about pinot noir. Wanaka winemaking whizzkids Sarah-Kate and Dan Dineen are responsible for this satisfying, face-slappingly succulent chardonnay - possibly the best example from the region I've ever tried. Pure peach, pineapple and spiced citrus characters ping-pong around in the mouth, perking up your taste buds with every sip. Precise acidity, combined with a creamy, nutty texture, make this seriously hard to put down.
Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2014
Where to start? First, there are intoxicating aromas of apple pie, lemony coconut and almond oozing from the glass. I'll elaborate by saying it's from 100 per cent Mendoza-clone fruit that's been barrel fermented with wild yeasts. This wine is so crisp, clean, buoyant and deliciously layered with peach croissant, honey and cinnamon-buttered toast and pineapple brulee flavours that it's head-shakingly good. Impeccably balanced, ridiculously tasty - essentially, it's perfect. If you have someone you need to impress right now, buy this.
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