Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2017
Immediately appealing and expressive, the 2017 Chardonnay reveals layers of attractive ripe orchard fruits and ripe peach on the nose, frame by subtle spice and gentle notes of roasted hazelnut. The palate shows a vibrant freshness, perfectly balancing the rounded nectarine and greengage fruit core.
Enjoy with bok choy dumpling and Meuniere style sole.
Cloudy Bay Vineyards, established in 1985, is today a partnership between champagne house Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin and co-founder of Cape Mentelle Vineyards in Western Australia, David Hohnen. The Cloudy Bay team is committed to producing 'wines of region' and strives to enhance the pure, bracing flavors naturally afforded by the climate and soils of Marlborough. The winery and vineyards are situated in the Wairau Valley in Marlborough at the northern end of New Zealand's South Island. This unique and cool wine region enjoys a maritime climate with the longest hours of sunshine of any place in New Zealand. Cloudy Bay has estate vineyards located at prime sites within the Wairau Valley and long-term supply agreements with five Wairau Valley growers. The main varieties grown are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
An icon and leading region of New Zealand's distinctive style of Sauvignon blanc, Marlborough has a unique terroir, making it ideal for high quality grape production (of many varieties). Despite some common generalizations, which could be fairly justified given that Marlborough is responsible for 90% of New Zealand's Sauvignon blanc production, the wines from this region are actually anything but homogenous. At the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, the vineyards of Marlborough benefit from well-draining, stony soils, a dry, sunny climate and wide temperature fluctuations between day and night, a phenomenon that supports a perfect balance between berry ripeness and acidity.
The region’s king variety, Sauvignon blanc, is beloved for its pungent, aromatic character with notes of exotic tropical fruit, freshly cut grass and green bell pepper along with a refreshing streak of stony minerality. These wines are made in a wide range of styles, and winemakers take advantage of various clones, vineyard sites, fermentation styles, lees-stirring and aging regimens to differentiate their bottlings, one from one another.
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.