Village Vineyards Havelock North Chardonnay 2020 $30
The Evans family recently took over what was Red Barrel wines (which, before that was Zeppelin Wines) and their first, own-made chardonnay is light, citrus-stacked and suitably toasty. Grown on their home vineyard on Te Mata Road, the handpicked fruit was whole bunch pressed then fermented in old French barriques (where a portion was fermented wild and some with solids). This was followed by some long, cool, sleepy time on yeast lees then went direct to bottle straight from the barrel unfined. Showing layers of grilled grapefruit and nectarine, caramelised oak complexity and snappy-fresh acidity to finish, plus very pretty label art by Rex Jones, it’s rather darn lovely.