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Oyster Bay Marlborough Chardonnay 2002
A portion of the blend is barrel fermented and matured in new French oak barriques, where the wine is lees stirred to help achieve maximum softness and integration. We concentrate on the quality of fruit flavours and the subtle use of oak to produce the harmonious, distinctive style. In keeping with the natural style, no malo-lactic fermentation takes place.
Oyster Bay Chardonnays are wines of delicious varietal intensity, concentrated aroma and flavour, underpinned by appetising acidity. They can be enjoyed on release, while the balanced structure will see them age gracefully over 2 to 5 years.
The Oyster Bay label is owned by Delegat's Wine Estate, one of New Zealand's largest family owned and managed wine producers.
The first Oyster Bay vines were planted in 1988 and the label takes its name from the local Oyster Bay, situated in the picturesque headlands of the Marlborough Sounds, on the northern tip of New Zealand's beautiful South Island.
The natural siting advantages of the Oyster Bay vineyards are complemented by our intensive and careful viticultural practices including vine spacing, trellis configuration, canopy management and irrigation and vine monitoring systems.
The glorious result is consistently high quality grapes which, together with sensitive skilled winemaking, express the unique character of Marlborough.
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.