Chardonnay: The Winemaker’s Grape

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Explore the diversity of Chardonnay across six different countries with leading examples from each.

  • Tessier Meursault 1er Cru Poruzot Dessus | Chardonnay
  • Kumeu River Maté’s Vineyard | Chardonnay
  • Bindi Kostas Rind | Chardonnay
  • Arnot Roberts Trout Gulch Vineyard | Chardonnay
  • Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard White Stones | Chardonnay
  • Crystallum Agnes | Chardonnay

Tessier Meursault 1er Cru Poruzot Dessus

What — Chardonnay
Where — Burgundy, France
When — 2017

Orange blossom, mandarins and ripe nashi pear over a crushed rock minerality, with a generous texture held together by a vibrant acidity.

+ Read More

There is certainly no shortage within France when it comes to leading examples of Chardonnay. While not exclusive to Burgundy, to look elsewhere for a leading example of the variety would be amiss.

Domaine Tessier is one of the hidden gems in Meursault. The 7.5 hectare estate, comprising some of Meursault’s most highly regarded terroirs, is led by Arnaud Tessier who has worked in the vines and cellars from the age of 14. Known for his devotion to the vines, it comes as no surprise that Arnaud farms organically.

Meursault 1er Cru ‘Poruzot Dessus’ is typically the first vineyard to be harvested by Arnaud, due to its warm site. Tessier’s plot within the higher section of Poruzot Dessus is over 70 years old and is directly adjacent to the iconic Premier Cru Les Genevrieres. Fermentation is done naturally, with aging in 25% new oak. 2017 produced a stellar vintage for whites of Burgundy, producing chiseled examples with renowned freshness, without lacking in fruit and flavour.

Due to a generally small production, it is not all too easy to find Tessier’s wines around—these are certainly worth seeking out as fine examples of modern Burgundy.

In stock

Kumeu River Maté’s Vineyard

What — Chardonnay
Where — Auckland, New Zealand
When — 2018

Tension with a distinctive mineral edge, balanced by flavours of stone fruits and pithy grapefruit acid, combined to a long finish and a delightful texture.

+ Read More

Understandably, when people think of whites from New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc comes to mind; it accounts for more than 70% of all wines produced in the country and makes up a staggering almost 90% of wine exported, by volume. Meanwhile, Chardonnay plays second fiddle to many, though the quality of the variety remains not to be overlooked—particularly, the wines of the Brajkovich family at Kumeu River.

The family started the winery in the 1940s, with the current generation’s efforts catapulting it to the international stature that it holds today. Michael Brajkovich, son of Maté, became the first New Zealander to pass the illustrious Master of Wine exam in 1989 and leads the estate today, together with his brother Paul.

The Maté’s Vineyard Chardonnay pays homage to Maté Brajkovich, with the fruit coming from the original vineyard purchased in 1944 by the family, which was replanted by Maté himself in 1990. It is a barrel-fermented style that has completely gone through malolactic fermentation, spending 11 months in barrel.

The balance seen in the wines of Kumeu River make them very hard to place contextually in a blind tasting. These are certainly wines that demonstrate New Zealand’s potential to be more than just a one-trick, white-variety pony.

In stock

Bindi Kostas Rind

What — Chardonnay
Where — Macedon Ranges, Australia
When — 2016

Lemon zest, fresh cream and orange blossom combine over a textural yet fresh palate, to create a harmonious and long palate—experiencing a back vintage expression like this is truly a rare treat.

+ Read More

With his father Bill, Michael Dhillon planted the first vines at Bindi in the Macedon Ranges in 1988. In the years to come, the wines produced by Michael have grown to become some of the most highly regarded Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Australia.

Michael’s profound understanding of the specificity within the parcels of the family farm allow for the nuances to be truly expressed—especially for an area known for wines of laser-like focus and purity.

The Kostas Rind Chardonnay is from a 1.5 hectare plot planted in 1988. It sits on shattered quartz and volcanic matter over silt, sandstone and clay, combining to produce a wine of deep flavours and minerality. Following a natural alcoholic fermentation, it spends roughly a year in French oak, of which approximately 20% is new. The wine isn’t stopped for going through malolactic fermentation, even though only a small portion of it still does. The 1991 Chardonnay—first wine ever produced at Bindi—was dedicated to Bill Dhillon’s mentor, Kostas Rind, who first introduced him to the world of fine wine and to this day is honoured as the Kostas Rind Chardonnay.

The 2020 Kostas Rind has already sold out at the winery—which is why being able to experience the additional bottle age here of the 2016 vintage is truly a rarity and a great insight to the aging capability of the wines.

Michael’s wines are often paralleled to Burgundy, though it would be more apt to regard them as true expressions of place, unique to his very special patch of ground in the Macedon Ranges.

 

In stock

Arnot Roberts Trout Gulch Vineyard

What — Chardonnay
Where — California, USA
When — 2019

Loaded with energy and tension over a core of crushed rock minerality, lemon and wildflowers. A sappy salinity drives through the palate.

+ Read More

In 2001, Arnot-Roberts was founded by childhood friends, Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts, in Healdsburg, California with a focus on producing distinctive wines that highlight the nature of the terroirs where the grapes are grown.

The elevated Trout Gulch Vineyard is tucked within a dark and forested coastal canyon about 4 miles from the ocean in Santa Cruz County. It was planted in 1980 with the old Wente clone of Chardonnay, which is considered by many to be the heritage selection of Chardonnay in California. Its extreme location puts Trout Gulch on the absolute edge of ripening potential for Chardonnay—both Duncan and Nathan feel incredibly lucky to be able to work with fully-matured Chardonnay from such a unique site.

To retain the nuanced fruit and mineral expression of the site, the wine spends just under a year in older French oak before bottling. The Arnot-Roberts approach is always one of minimal intervention in the cellar, without any ‘make-up’ added to the wines.

Any connotations of big, rich, alcoholic and oaky American Chardonnay are challenged by the purity and transparency of the terroir, as well as the variety’s affinity towards cool-climate pockets—certainly exemplified through one of America’s leading producers.

In stock

Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard White Stones

What — Chardonnay
Where — Mendoza, Argentina
When — 2017

Distinctive stony character running through both nose and palate, with delicate lemon-rind and orchard fruits. The wine is tightly wound, opening up beautifully and gradually in your glass.

+ Read More

Like Sauvignon Blanc & New Zealand, Malbec is no stranger to Argentina. The Zapata name is well known for a variety of expressions of Malbec and revered within wine circles for the work they have done with the Adrianna Vineyard.

Located at an altitude of 1,450 metres, the Adrianna Vineyard was planted in 1992 with a single goal in mind: to find the coolest location for growing vines in Mendoza. It has contributed greatly to research around grape growing at altitude, a much-needed study especially in today’s shifting climate. Here, altitude and soil quality combine to produce a wine unique to its location—a true testament to the region’s potential outside of big, rich red wines.

From a select 27 rows in Block 1 of the Adrianna Vineyard comes the White Stones Chardonnay, its name derived from the white gravel-covered ground. The rocky soil is ideal for drainage and the poor nature of the soil provides a positive stress for the vines, while the diurnal relief of cool nights allows for slow ripening and acid retention. Fermentation is done in French oak barrels, with some battonage and partial malolactic fermentation. It spends just over a year in older barrels for aging.

In stock

Crystallum Agnes

What — Chardonnay
Where — Western Cape, South Africa
When — 2020

Perfumed nose with subtle tropical fruits and fresh butter notes, over a rich textural body of white peaches and stone fruits.

+ Read More

Crystallum was established in 2007 by brothers Peter-Allan and Andrew Finlayson. Their father, Peter, was a pioneer in the production of cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at Bouchard Finlayson. It was only natural for the boys to return home after university and begin sourcing fruit from the Hemel-en-Aarde valley, to start their own label.

The Agnes Chardonnay is produced from five different vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde and Overberg regions. The soils of these vineyards range from heavy clay to shale, sandstone and quartz. The final blend retains the characteristics of these individual sites but acquires an identity, unique yet greater than the sum of its parts. The parcels are all naturally fermented, with the wine aged in a combination of 228 and 500-litre French oak barrels, of which only 10% are new oak.

Agnes is named in honour of Peter-Allan and Andrew’s great-grandmother. The wines they produce certainly pay due respect to her—and to their father’s reputation.

In stock

In stock

SKU: Chardonnay: The Winemaker's Grape Categories: ,
 

Description

Chardonnay has a beautiful affinity to perform incredibly well across a variety of soil types and climates, with a style that is very much influenced by the hand of the winemaker. 

Over time it has spanned the spectrum, from ‘lean and mean’ with acids that would wake the dead, to big butter-bombs that feel like they are best eaten with a spoon. 

Chardonnays have all the potential to be great, unique examples from around the world—this selection demonstrates the individuality of each region and takes you on a journey across six different countries.

 

Additional information

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Tessier Meursault 1er Cru Poruzot Dessus

What — Chardonnay
Where — Burgundy, France
When — 2017

Orange blossom, mandarins and ripe nashi pear over a crushed rock minerality, with a generous texture held together by a vibrant acidity.

+ Read More

There is certainly no shortage within France when it comes to leading examples of Chardonnay. While not exclusive to Burgundy, to look elsewhere for a leading example of the variety would be amiss.

Domaine Tessier is one of the hidden gems in Meursault. The 7.5 hectare estate, comprising some of Meursault’s most highly regarded terroirs, is led by Arnaud Tessier who has worked in the vines and cellars from the age of 14. Known for his devotion to the vines, it comes as no surprise that Arnaud farms organically.

Meursault 1er Cru ‘Poruzot Dessus’ is typically the first vineyard to be harvested by Arnaud, due to its warm site. Tessier’s plot within the higher section of Poruzot Dessus is over 70 years old and is directly adjacent to the iconic Premier Cru Les Genevrieres. Fermentation is done naturally, with aging in 25% new oak. 2017 produced a stellar vintage for whites of Burgundy, producing chiseled examples with renowned freshness, without lacking in fruit and flavour.

Due to a generally small production, it is not all too easy to find Tessier’s wines around—these are certainly worth seeking out as fine examples of modern Burgundy.

In stock

Kumeu River Maté’s Vineyard

What — Chardonnay
Where — Auckland, New Zealand
When — 2018

Tension with a distinctive mineral edge, balanced by flavours of stone fruits and pithy grapefruit acid, combined to a long finish and a delightful texture.

+ Read More

Understandably, when people think of whites from New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc comes to mind; it accounts for more than 70% of all wines produced in the country and makes up a staggering almost 90% of wine exported, by volume. Meanwhile, Chardonnay plays second fiddle to many, though the quality of the variety remains not to be overlooked—particularly, the wines of the Brajkovich family at Kumeu River.

The family started the winery in the 1940s, with the current generation’s efforts catapulting it to the international stature that it holds today. Michael Brajkovich, son of Maté, became the first New Zealander to pass the illustrious Master of Wine exam in 1989 and leads the estate today, together with his brother Paul.

The Maté’s Vineyard Chardonnay pays homage to Maté Brajkovich, with the fruit coming from the original vineyard purchased in 1944 by the family, which was replanted by Maté himself in 1990. It is a barrel-fermented style that has completely gone through malolactic fermentation, spending 11 months in barrel.

The balance seen in the wines of Kumeu River make them very hard to place contextually in a blind tasting. These are certainly wines that demonstrate New Zealand’s potential to be more than just a one-trick, white-variety pony.

In stock

Bindi Kostas Rind

What — Chardonnay
Where — Macedon Ranges, Australia
When — 2016

Lemon zest, fresh cream and orange blossom combine over a textural yet fresh palate, to create a harmonious and long palate—experiencing a back vintage expression like this is truly a rare treat.

+ Read More

With his father Bill, Michael Dhillon planted the first vines at Bindi in the Macedon Ranges in 1988. In the years to come, the wines produced by Michael have grown to become some of the most highly regarded Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Australia.

Michael’s profound understanding of the specificity within the parcels of the family farm allow for the nuances to be truly expressed—especially for an area known for wines of laser-like focus and purity.

The Kostas Rind Chardonnay is from a 1.5 hectare plot planted in 1988. It sits on shattered quartz and volcanic matter over silt, sandstone and clay, combining to produce a wine of deep flavours and minerality. Following a natural alcoholic fermentation, it spends roughly a year in French oak, of which approximately 20% is new. The wine isn’t stopped for going through malolactic fermentation, even though only a small portion of it still does. The 1991 Chardonnay—first wine ever produced at Bindi—was dedicated to Bill Dhillon’s mentor, Kostas Rind, who first introduced him to the world of fine wine and to this day is honoured as the Kostas Rind Chardonnay.

The 2020 Kostas Rind has already sold out at the winery—which is why being able to experience the additional bottle age here of the 2016 vintage is truly a rarity and a great insight to the aging capability of the wines.

Michael’s wines are often paralleled to Burgundy, though it would be more apt to regard them as true expressions of place, unique to his very special patch of ground in the Macedon Ranges.

 

In stock

Arnot Roberts Trout Gulch Vineyard

What — Chardonnay
Where — California, USA
When — 2019

Loaded with energy and tension over a core of crushed rock minerality, lemon and wildflowers. A sappy salinity drives through the palate.

+ Read More

In 2001, Arnot-Roberts was founded by childhood friends, Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts, in Healdsburg, California with a focus on producing distinctive wines that highlight the nature of the terroirs where the grapes are grown.

The elevated Trout Gulch Vineyard is tucked within a dark and forested coastal canyon about 4 miles from the ocean in Santa Cruz County. It was planted in 1980 with the old Wente clone of Chardonnay, which is considered by many to be the heritage selection of Chardonnay in California. Its extreme location puts Trout Gulch on the absolute edge of ripening potential for Chardonnay—both Duncan and Nathan feel incredibly lucky to be able to work with fully-matured Chardonnay from such a unique site.

To retain the nuanced fruit and mineral expression of the site, the wine spends just under a year in older French oak before bottling. The Arnot-Roberts approach is always one of minimal intervention in the cellar, without any ‘make-up’ added to the wines.

Any connotations of big, rich, alcoholic and oaky American Chardonnay are challenged by the purity and transparency of the terroir, as well as the variety’s affinity towards cool-climate pockets—certainly exemplified through one of America’s leading producers.

In stock

Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard White Stones

What — Chardonnay
Where — Mendoza, Argentina
When — 2017

Distinctive stony character running through both nose and palate, with delicate lemon-rind and orchard fruits. The wine is tightly wound, opening up beautifully and gradually in your glass.

+ Read More

Like Sauvignon Blanc & New Zealand, Malbec is no stranger to Argentina. The Zapata name is well known for a variety of expressions of Malbec and revered within wine circles for the work they have done with the Adrianna Vineyard.

Located at an altitude of 1,450 metres, the Adrianna Vineyard was planted in 1992 with a single goal in mind: to find the coolest location for growing vines in Mendoza. It has contributed greatly to research around grape growing at altitude, a much-needed study especially in today’s shifting climate. Here, altitude and soil quality combine to produce a wine unique to its location—a true testament to the region’s potential outside of big, rich red wines.

From a select 27 rows in Block 1 of the Adrianna Vineyard comes the White Stones Chardonnay, its name derived from the white gravel-covered ground. The rocky soil is ideal for drainage and the poor nature of the soil provides a positive stress for the vines, while the diurnal relief of cool nights allows for slow ripening and acid retention. Fermentation is done in French oak barrels, with some battonage and partial malolactic fermentation. It spends just over a year in older barrels for aging.

In stock

Crystallum Agnes

What — Chardonnay
Where — Western Cape, South Africa
When — 2020

Perfumed nose with subtle tropical fruits and fresh butter notes, over a rich textural body of white peaches and stone fruits.

+ Read More

Crystallum was established in 2007 by brothers Peter-Allan and Andrew Finlayson. Their father, Peter, was a pioneer in the production of cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at Bouchard Finlayson. It was only natural for the boys to return home after university and begin sourcing fruit from the Hemel-en-Aarde valley, to start their own label.

The Agnes Chardonnay is produced from five different vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde and Overberg regions. The soils of these vineyards range from heavy clay to shale, sandstone and quartz. The final blend retains the characteristics of these individual sites but acquires an identity, unique yet greater than the sum of its parts. The parcels are all naturally fermented, with the wine aged in a combination of 228 and 500-litre French oak barrels, of which only 10% are new oak.

Agnes is named in honour of Peter-Allan and Andrew’s great-grandmother. The wines they produce certainly pay due respect to her—and to their father’s reputation.

In stock

In stock

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