Babich Hawkes Bay Unoaked Chardonnay 2007
It would sit happily next to a bowl of fettuccine pasta in a sauce based around cream and sage, or partner it with Chinese-style stir-fried chicken in a lemon-flavored sauce.
During the Second World War, winemaking slowly became the family's major business activity. By the 1950s, son Peter had joined the company and the 1960s saw the emergence of Joe Babich Junior as winemaker. With Peter and Joe Babich at the helm, Babich has been transformed from a small, predominantly fortified wine producer into a modern winery renown for producing world-class wines.
Today the Babich Winery, lying in the rolling country at Henderson in West Auckland, is one of New Zealand's largest family-owned wine companies.
An eclectic region on the east coast of the North Island, Hawkes Bay extends from wide, fertile, coastal plains, inland, to the coast range, whose peaks reach as high as 5,300 feet. While the flatter areas were historically more popular because they are easier to cultivate, their alluvial soils can be too fertile for vines. In the late 20th century, the drive for quality led growers to the hills where soils are free-draining, limestone-rich and more suited to producing high quality wines.
Over the passing of time, the old Ngaruroro River laid down deep, gravelly beds, which were subsequently exposed after a huge flood in the 1860’s. In the 1980s growers identified this stretch, which continues for approximately 800 ha, and named it the Gimblett Gravels. The zone has proven to be ideal for the production of excellent red wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
Today the area takes well-earned recognition for its Bordeaux blends and other reds. Expressive of intense stewed red and black berry with gentle herbaceous characters, Gimblett Gravels wines are suggestive of their cool climate origin, and on par with other top-notch Bordeaux blends around the globe.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.