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C.J. Pask Winery Gimblett Road Chardonnay 1999
Chris Pask pioneered grape plantings at Gimblett Road, Hawkes Bay in 1982. The winery now owns and manages 60 hectares of established vineyard in Gimblett Road, arguably the leading viticultural site in New Zealand. The company also has a further 20 hectares, to be developed in the medium term, affording flexibility to future production. Four main blocks are planted at Gimblett Road, on the old riverbed of the Ngaruroro River. The soil profile is typically, fine river silt over free draining shingle which supports premium vine growth exceptionally well.
Three distinct ranges are produced by C J Pask winery, they are predominately estate grown, elegant styles displaying clearly defined fruit characters. The aim of these different ranges is to meet the market demands, nationally and internationally of varying price points, and winestyles, with quality that exceeds expectations. The Reserve Range are produced in limited quantities only when the fruit quality is exceptional. The Gimblett Road Range and Roys Hill Range are produced in commercial quantities in very consistent styles from vintage to vintage.
The Gimblett Road region lies on the old Ngaruroro riverbed, the free draining shingle combined with the silt soils tend to increase soil temperature and to reflect the sun onto the grapes during the day. The region has its own micro climate with Roys Hill blocking the prevailing winds and cloud formation, the heat retention effectively means a different categorisation from the "cool climate" definition used for the broader New Zealand wine industry. The consequences are an extending of the ripening process and fruit characteristics of the wine CJ Pask being a genuine estate grown producer from only the Gimblett Road site, with integrated Viticulture, Production, Winemaking and Marketing resources ensure that the opportunities of Gimblett Road are reflected in the final product.
A relatively young but extremely promising wine-producing country, New Zealand is widely recognized for its distinctive wines made from the aromatic, Sauvignon blanc. While this is indeed the country’s most planted and successful variety, it is certainly not the only New Zealand grape capable of delighting wine lovers—and in a very wallet-friendly manner, at that.
The world’s most southerly vineyards are found here, with significant climatic variation both between and within the warmer North Island and the cooler South Island. Overall, the climate is maritime, with plenty of rainfall, as well as abundant sunshine. Producers have almost unilaterally embraced cutting-edge winery technology, resulting in clean, high-quality wines at every price point.
Sauvignon blanc, known here for its trademark herbaceous character, is at its best in Marlborough but thrives throughout the nation, accounting for an overwhelming majority of the country’s exports.
Chardonnay is the second-most important white variety and takes on a supple texture and citrus and tropical fruit aromas in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, respectively. Pinot noir, second behind Sauvignon blanc in national production numbers, is at its best in Central Otago—the moust southerly winegrowing region in the world! These wines are known for bright and juicy red fruit. Taking cues from the wines of Alsace, aromatic varieties like Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer shine in Martinborough, while red Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have found success in Hawke’s Bay. Throughout New Zealand but especially in Marlborough, Pinot noir and Chardonnay are used to produce traditional method sparkling wines.
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 practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.