Karikari Estate Northland Chardonnay 2014 $45 (5 stars)

Creamy, creamy and creamy! Prepare for a tidal wave of tropical gloriousness to break and crash across the nose and palate. Sweet fruit concentration, macadamia and cashew complexity to create a butterscotchy bodaciousness that’ll blindside you. Maturing beautifully, fresh and frolicsome, caramelised and concentrated. Absolutely gorgeous. www.karikariestate.co.nz

Felton Road Block 2 Central Otago Chardonnay 2016 $51 (5 stars)

Right in the front of the winery is the Elms Vineyard and this chardonnay comes from select vines, the oldest ones, within that site. Grown organically, and carefully shepherded into the bottle by winemaker Blair Walter, there’s a creamy, luxurious soul to this chardonnay, softly caramelised oak, roasted stonefruit and it’s impeccably balanced and sexy […]

San Pedro Gato Negro Valle Central Chardonnay 2014 $12.99

This chardonnay is tasting a tad tired and is rather dry and mean-spirited in the glass.  Lacking fruit or charm of any description, it has an odd, butyric acid edge to it (which is a polite way of saying it smells a bit like baby vom).  Avoid. www.glengarrywines.co.nz

Bodega Tamari Mendoza Chardonnay 2015 $13.99

‘Tamari’ means ‘to be passionate in Huarpe, the native language of the Mendoza region in Argentina.  This chardonnay is on the leaner side, mineral-driven, nutty and has a squeak of crushed seashell and salt about it.  There’s a creamy element adding some complexity, however if you’re looking for fruit generosity and tropical flavours, then you’re not […]

Whistling Buoy

I’ve sipped my way through the new Whistling Buoy releases from Canterbury and they’re rather snazzy… Whistling Buoy Kokolo Vineyard Canterbury Pinot Noir 2016 $36 (5 stars) Wow.  Here’s one ultra-juicy, exotically-scented, super-charged pinot noir from under the southern sun. Kokolo is a vineyard on a sheltered site at the head of Lyttleton and clearly […]

Ka Tahi Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2015 $19.99

There’s a bucketload of roast peach and ripe apricot on the nose of this big, bold and juicy chardonnay. With butterscotch aplenty, hints of grilled grapefruit, a solid seam of buttered toast and cinnamon, it really does feel like the gift that doesn’t stop giving. I say that because the finish is ultra-long and creamy […]

Theory & Practice Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2016 $21.95

Crafted by wine consultant to the stars, Ant Mackenzie and his viticulturist brother Bryce, this is a cracker of a chardonnay that’s jam-packed with punchy peach, juicy tropical fruit and gorgeous grilled citrus notes. It also boasts caramelised, toasty characters all edged with creamy, custard square pastry-like notes. It hits that sweet spot between ‘balanced […]

Cottier Estate Emily Gladstone Chardonnay 2015 $21.50

Chardonnay from the Wairarapa is one of my favourite things because it’s just so versatile. This is one of those styles that hits the middle of the lane where the stonefruit and citrus has a roasted, toasted nature to it and there’s a distinct nutty note on the finish. Yet it’s not weighed down by […]

Pegasus Bay Waipara Chardonnay 2015 $39.00

If you can catch a whiff of struck match on your first sniff then welcome to the world of sulphide complexity, something I love to see a little bit of in my chardonnay. With smoked pineapple, grapefruit and grilled peach characters zigzagging across the palate and erupting on the finish – it’s a super stylish […]

Greystone Waipara Chardonnay 2015 $39.00

It’s been 11 years since the Thomas family first put vines in the ground at Greystone and then harvested for this vintage. The chardonnay is now really hitting its straps. Rich and golden in the glass and smelling of, oh lord, just the most delicious melange of almond biscuits rubbed with grapefruit pith and dipped […]

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