17points - JancisRobinson.com
“Released August 2019. From two vineyards planted with old-vine Mendoza clone. Fermentation in a mix of new and used French oak (500-litre puncheons and barriques) and a mix of ambient and cultured yeast. Lees-stirring over the nine months in barrel. TA 7.5 g/l.Yet another example of the appetising-but-far-from-austere nature of NZ fine Chardonnay. People forget that Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay was so celebrated. Excellent combo of rich fruit and fresh, natural acidity. Long and satisfying. Yummy stuff. But not cheap.
When to drink 2019 - 2023”
5 stars Buyers Guide Edition - Michael Cooper
“From winemaker Kate Radburnd, best known for her long spell at Pask (1990–2017), the classy, youthful 2018 vintage (5*) was grown at Mangatahi and Bridge Pa, hand-picked and fermented and matured for 11 months in French oak puncheons and barriques (new and seasoned). Full of potential, it is mouthfilling and highly concentrated, with deep, citrusy, peachy flavours, woven with fresh acidity, finely integrated oak, and impressive vigour, complexity and length. A top debut, it’s well worth cellaring to 2022+”
19/20 - Candice Chow
“Brilliant yellow with a golden and slight green hue, even colour throughout. The nose is elegantly full, growing with intensity, nuances of peaches, lemon flesh, honeydew melon interweave well-proportioned gunflint and toasted almonds. Medium-full bodied, the aromaof peaches, pink grapefruit, preserved citrus peels have positive ripeness, unfolding nougat, roasted almonds and amalgam spices linger to a long, sustained, elegant finish. The palate has a fluidity that's alluring; feathery light creaminess flows with seamless, well-integrated acidity, with focus and tension yet poise and graceful. A hint of phenolic carries positive citrus peels bitterness along with almond skins, added interest and complexity. This is a well-crafted, elegant Chardonnay with an alluring and seamless flow, ready to be consumed or ageing. Match with crayfish and sea urchin over the next 6+ years.
18.5+ - Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews
“Aperfect shining lemon, nearly a hint of green, a great young chardonnay colour. Bouquet is sweet, ripe, nearly floral, classic young mendoza-clone chardonnay with its hint of yen-ben citrus aromatics, on golden queen peachy fruit. Below is lees-contact complexity and fragrant yet subtle oak which immediately deepens the bouquet, and draws you in, so you are itching to taste the wine. Palate is vibrant with fresh acid against good fruit, the acid making the oak a little more noticeable now, but it will marry away. On taste alone, you almost wonder if it is a non-MLF wine, on the varietal purity of the yellow-fleshed fruit, plus the long natural acid. Not so. And the subtlety of the high-solids fraction is superb. This is a cellaring chardonnay par excellence, like Tony Bish’s Rifleman showing the advantages of the cooler inland districts of Hawkes Bay, for quality chardonnay. I wish it were a little richer, to guarantee the 20-year mark, but it will be a treat at the 8 – 15 year point. I expect this wine to evolve in bottle in exactly the same way as the 1996Lawson's Dry Hills Chardonnay, in its day a definitive wine, which I opened soon afterwards, to compare and illuminate. Note the Lawson’s was a little richer, in youth, as fine chardonnay needs to be. Cellar 10 – 20 years.
The 2018 vintage began with a welcome frost-free spring, followed by a warm, dry Hawke’s Bay summer with hotter days in January and February. March saw some rain but open canopies in the vineyard, balanced crop levels and astute management meant we hand-picked and hand sorted fruit in the 3rd week, ensuring the best possible quality. All the grapes we received demonstrated bright fruit characters and balanced fresh acidity - the hallmarks of cool climate wines.
Old vine Mendoza Chardonnay was sourced from two sites in Hawke’s Bay. The Mangatahi site is inland and elevated and later ripening, while Bridge Pa ripens Chardonnay beautifully with their red metal soils. Low yielding vines, open canopy management, managed irrigation and Sustainable Winegrowing NZ farmed were common to both sites. The Mendoza clone with their typical hen and chicken bunches produced fruit of great intensity and balance, and structured acidity. This Chardonnay was hand harvested and cooled overnight.
The cooled bunches were hand sorted then whole bunched pressed. The majority of juice was cold settled then racked to barrel. Fermentation was in new and seasoned French oak, with selected cultured yeast and indigenous yeast, for added complexity. A combination of 500L puncheons and 225L barriques were employed. Lees stirring post fermentation was regular and malolactic fermentation was completed in barrel. The Chardonnay matured in barrel for 9 months before blending and bottling.
An elegant Chardonnay which focuses on the beautiful structure so evident in this grape variety. Pristine fruit and balanced acidity are the backbone, enhanced with seamless texture and mouthfeel. Citrus notes, particularly grapefruit pith abound, gracefully supported by sweet French oak.