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Astrolabe Marlborough
Chardonnay
2018

RRP: $

Astrolabe Marlborough
Chardonnay
2018

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.

93 POINTS “HIGH QUALITY”
“Teasingly aromatic chardonnay that combines ripe citrus, white peach and citrus flavours with spicy oak, toasted nut and ginger characters. A moderately weighty wine with a creamy texture.” JUL 20
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Bob Campbell, Master of Wine
The Real Review © The Real Review

92 POINTS “PREMIUM”
“The bouquet and palate of this Chardonnay showcase fine winemaking, really good fruit and Marlborough. Aromas and flavours of lemon and apple, grapefruit and new oak, a crumbled soil mineral layer and super fine wood tannins. The acidity is plentiful helping to push the messages of youth, fruit purity and freshness. Medium+ weight, satin texture, balanced, well made and ready. Best drinking upon purchase and through 2024. I also tasted this wine 24 hours earlier and the wine today is as compact and fine now as it was then.” JUN 20
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Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier

4 STARS 
“The 2018 vintage was hand-picked at two sites, in the lower Wairau Valley and the Southern Valleys, and fermented and matured for 10 months in French oak barriques and puncheons. Fragrant and mouthfilling, it has excellent depth of ripe, peachy, slightly toasty flavours, showing good complexity, gentle acidity and a creamy-smooth finish. It’s already drinking well.” 
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Michael Cooper
New Zealand Wines: Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide 2020

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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