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Muddy Water Chardonnay Waipara 1999
Waipara has recently been granted separate appellation status by the New Zealand Wine Institute because of its very special mesoclimate.
The climate is typified by hot dry summers and long sunny autumns leading to the production of intensely flavoured ripe grapes.
Several soil types are found in the area- Muddy Water has loam over calcarious clay on limestone bedrock.
The company is family owned and headed by Michael and Jane East with the philosophy that only premium wines will be produced.
All the wine is of reserve standard due to very low cropping levels and intense canopy management. All the grapes are hand picked and estate grown. Careful extraction of the juice follows, with fastidious attention to detail during the whole of the vinification process.
At the southern end of the North Island about an hour drive from New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington, Wairarapa’s producers are mainly small-scale, lifestyle winemakers. The region holds less than 3% of the country’s acreage under vine but nearly one tenth of its winemakers.
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.