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Oyster Bay Marlborough Chardonnay 2011
The philosophy of Oyster Bay is to produce fine, distinctively regional wines that are elegant and assertive with glorious fruit flavors.
Oyster Bay Marlborough Chardonnay truly captures the character of Marlborough with pure, incisive, ripe fruit flavors. A combination of barrel and tank fermentation and the stirring of yeast lees achieves maximum softness, integration and texture. To retain all the natural assertiveness and flavor, no malolactic fermentation takes place. Clonal influences in the vineyard have been very important, providing smaller berries and enhanced flavor intensity. The result of all of this is delicious Oyster Bay Marlborough Chardonnay with concentrated aromas and flavors of ripe citrus and stonefruit, balanced with subtle oak, and a creamy texture to finish. A sublime expression of fruit purity from Marlborough's unique cool climate and soils.
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’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based 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. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.