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Astrolabe Marlborough
Chardonnay
2020

RRP: $32.00

Astrolabe Marlborough
Chardonnay
2020

Chardonnay is my first love as a winemaker, and I’ve always felt a bond with it. In New Zealand, chardonnay is grown right across the length of the country. It’s the variety that I made my reputation on 30 years ago in Gisborne, before I came down to Marlborough and started working with sauvignon blanc. I think it’s one of the truly great wine styles of the world. Marlborough, as a cool climate wine region, has its strength in making beautiful mineral styles of chardonnay.

Chardonnay is all about texture, in my view, but in my Marlborough Chardonnay, I combine texture with a tight structure. This wine is blended from four different clones from grapes grown at my home vineyard in the lower Wairau Valley, Wrekin Vineyard on the clay hillsides of the Southern Valleys and Windmill Block at Dumgree in the Awatere Valley.

The fruit is all hand-picked and whole cluster pressed to reduce phenolic structure and allow attractive grape solids fermentation characters to come through. I use only the free-run juice, also known as cuvée. That cuvée juice is taken down a very traditional Burgundian path: high-solids barrel fermentation with wild yeast, lees aging in French oak and bâtonnage throughout the maturation period.

The wine develops structure and body as it ages in 500 litre oak puncheons, where it undergoes malolactic fermentation, gathers lees complexity from aging on the lees and takes in flavours from the wood and its toast levels. I enjoy complementing the natural stonefruit and citrus flavours of our chardonnay grapes by building aromatic complexity and texture during winemaking to craft an elegant, dry and mouth-filling wine.

My main drive is to make a beautiful food wine that will age with grace, has length and subtle power and will satisfy those who mainly come to the category of chardonnay with a background in drinking white Burgundies. Chardonnay is a winemaker’s favourite — the best white wine for barrel aging and exploring non-fruit complexity. It allows a lot of room for expression of my personal style.

Simon Waghorn — Winemaker

TASTING NOTES

COLOUR/APPEARANCE
Mid straw gold.

AROMA/BOUQUET
Some ripe melon and dried stone fruits with vanilla and butter notes and a subtle mealiness.

PALATE
A wine of very elegant texture with stone fruit, vanilla creaminess, toasty oak, pleasing weight and a long, dry and mineral finish.

AGING POTENTIAL
This wine will continue to develop rewarding flavour and bottle complexity with aging.

CHARDONNAY PAIRING
Pairs well with roast chicken, creamy sauces, miso, sesame, truffles or delicate mushrooms.

CHARDONNAY SERVING TEMPERATURE
Cool room temperature.

2020 vintage

90 POINTS “HIGH QUALITY”
“Light, fresh, seamless Chardonnay, with an initial hint of seductive sweetness leading to a delicately dry finish. Citrus, white peach, ginger and nutty yeast lees flavours bask in a little alcohol warmth. A silken-textured, fruit-focused chardonnay. Drink 2022 to 2025.” APR 22
-
Bob Campbell, Master of Wine
The Real Review © The Real Review

95 POINTS “EXCELLENT”
“Complex, sophisticated, pure, ripe and very enticing bouquet. Aromas and flavours of apple and grapefruit, white peach and white apricot then apple. There's a natural fruit spice quality, sea breeze scent and youthful impact from the intensity and use of oak. Delicious, weighty, engaging and fresh on the palate. Flavours mirror the bouquet with near full-bodied texture, some fine tannins and planty of acidity for structure and breadth. A long finish, this wine is complex as well as delicious, will cellar and age well for the next 2-3 years. Best drinking from mid to late 2023 through 2030+." APR 22
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Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier

2019 vintage

92 POINTS “HIGH QUALITY”
“A blend of grapes from several vineyards produces a distinctly Marlborough style chardonnay with bright, grapefruit, toasted nut, tree fruit and nectarine flavours. Light and fresh with a silken texture.” MAY 21
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Bob Campbell, Master of Wine
The Real Review © The Real Review

93 POINTS “EXCELLENT”
“Aromas of sweet vanilla oak and fresh yellow stone fruits, red apple and crushed stone earthy qualities. Weighty, creamy textures and toasty oak are contrasted by a core of fruit and complexity. Flavours mirror the nose while the oak offer finely textured tannins with medium+ acidity for contrast. Balanced and well made with a lengthy and persistently flavoured finish. Drink now and through 2024+.” MAR 21
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Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier

4.5 STARS 
“The 2019 vintage was hand-harvested at three sites in the Awatere Valley, lower Wairau Valley and the Southern Valleys, and fermented and matured for 10 months in French oak barriques and puncheons. Bright, light lemon/green, it is subtle, mouthfilling wine, with ripe stone-fruit flavours, slightly biscuity and creamy notes adding complexity, and a finely textured, smooth, very harmonius finish. Drink now or cellar.” 
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Michael Cooper
New Zealand Wines: Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide 2021

2018 vintage

94 POINTS “EXCELLENT”
“Aromas of fresh and baked yellow stone fruits, vanilla and smoky barrel spices, raw brown sugar and moments of popcorn and butterscotch. Complex, news and vibrant bouquet. Delicious on the palate with many familiar flavours and textures from stone fruits to baking spices, apple and grpaefruit to wood smoke and stony mineral qualities. weighty, textured and dry with a lengthy finish. Well made, youthful, bt ready to imbibe from today and through 2028.” SEP 21
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Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier

2017 vintage

92 POINTS “HIGH QUALITY”
“Aromatic, high energy chardonnay with apple, citrus, toasty yeast lees and nutty oak flavours. A fruit-focused chardonnay with a suggestion of salty mineral character.” JAN 19
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Bob Campbell, Master of Wine
The Real Review © The Real Review

 

Sustainably certified SWNZ
Vegan

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