Hunting Lodge Chardonnay 2018, Marlborough
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From a cooler, elevated site in Crownthorpe, this is a Chardonnay with both elegance and complexity. Produced with a combination of indigenous and cultured yeast strains, each barrel in this blend has contributed its own unique, savoury characteristic while complimenting the pure stone fruit, citrus and almond meal flavours that define Clone 15 Hawkes Bay Chardonnay. Whole bunch pressed, and lightly settled, half of the juice retained a significant portion of solids when rolled to French oak barriques for fermentation. Left to ferment with no winemaking intervention, savoury cashew and biscuit cruxes add layers of interest to the citrus rind and nectarine kernel flavours from the grapes. The palate is generous in both weight and flavour with a firm oak structure that adds broad shoulders to the otherwise linear palate. Cooler climate, natural acidity is retained which provides lift and length. 9 months in barrel with regular lees stirring has imparted a creamy texture, which will develop a subtle oiliness in bottle. Subtle reductive, popcorn and gunflint notes also provide interest and natural sweetness that offsets the fresh acidity. Richness that forever evolves in both glass and bottle – this is modern Hawkes Bay Chardonnay.
5 Stars, Wine Orbit | 4.5 stars, Michael Cooper | Gold Award, Premium NZ Selection