Hawke’s Bay Wine Growers Announce the Hawkes Bay Chardonnay Collection 2021
Hawke’s Bay winemakers were invited to submit Chardonnays from the 2021 vintage for consideration. Cameron Douglas, MS conducted a blind tasting of the wines submitted. Cameron expressed he was honoured to be involved, finding the selection enjoyable yet challenging due to the high calibre of entrants.
This is the second Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay Collection, the inaugural collection launched in 2020 – 12 of the best wines from the region produced in 2019 – all selected by Cameron Douglas MS – several labels have made it back into the 2021 collection, establishing their place in the top twelve yet again.
For more about the Hawke’s Bay wine region click HERE:
A note from the selector – Cameron Douglas MS – February 2022
“I knew that the quality of Chardonnay samples for the second annual Hawke’s Bay Collection would be high. I was somewhat primed for this by the overall quality of other 2020 styles and varieties from around Aotearoa that arrived on my desk in the months and weeks leading up to the Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay selection process.”
“What I didn’t quite expect was how excellent every single wine was going to be. All the wines in the line-up are individually expressive and many spoke of place and time, the winemaker’s interpretation of site with a dream vintage for many this showcased chardonnay’s suitability to the Hawke’s Bay region.”
“Probably one of the hardest wine evaluation and selection tastings I have completed and what a fantastic day it was. In the end I chose to find a top 24 first, focusing on completeness and complexity, texture and concentration from which I selected this year’s top 12.”
“Tasting, evaluating, judging and educating consumers (and students) about fine New Zealand wine has been a major part of my career for over thirty years. Learning the intricacies of vineyard management and winemaking; how season, climate and the influences of soil and vine health produce fine wine is always ongoing for me, and being asked to evaluate this line-up of fine wines of one variety, from one region and one vintage is an exceptional opportunity.”
“This time around I had fifty-seven wines, all vintage 2020, from which to select – all were tasted blind in short flights to maintain temperature, integrity and fairness to each wine, and were re-tasted later in the day for confirmation.”
“Congratulations to all the producers who entered and the teams behind each wine.”
Watch this short video where Cameron gives a brief overview of what it’s like to judge and select Hawkes Bay’s finest 2020 Chardonnay Collection.
This Year’s Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay Collection 2021
Askerne Reserve Chardonnay 2020 – RRP:$35.00 – https://askernewines.co.nz/
Bilancia Tiratore Chardonnay 2020 – RRP:$90.00 – https://bilancia.co.nz/
Clearview Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2020 – RRP:$45.00 – https://www.clearviewestate.co.nz/
Collaboration Wines Aurulent Chardonnay 2020 – RRP:$38.00 – https://collaborationwines.co.nz/
Coopers Creek ‘Swamp Reserve’ Chardonnay 2020 – RRP:$38.00 – https://www.cooperscreek.co.nz/
Elephant Hill ‘Salome’ Chardonnay 2020 – RRP: $75.00 – https://elephanthill.co.nz/
Helio Chardonnay 2020 – RRP:$35.00 – https://helio.wine/
Squawking Magpie Gravels Chardonnay 2020 – RRP:$26.00 – https://squawkingmagpie.co.nz/
Te Awanga Estate Quarter Acre Chardonnay 2020 – RRP:$40.00 – https://teawangaestate.co.nz/
Tony Bish Heartwood Chardonnay 2020 – RRP:$35.00 – https://tonybishwines.co.nz/
Trinity Hill 125 Gimblett Chardonnay 2020 – RRP:$80.00 – https://www.trinityhill.com/
Villa Maria Keltern Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2020 – RRP:$80.00 – https://www.villamariawines.com/
Villa Maria Keltern Vineyard Chardonnay 2019 Hawke’s Bay NZ.
Medium straw-gold in colour with pale green hues, medium viscosity. Immediately in the nose were flinty gunsmoke notes, then ripe stone-fruit, fresh citrus & spiced toasty oak aromas. The palate is layered, complex & textured with juicy nectarine, peach & grape-fruit flavours, a bright lemon-lime acidity & fine toasty oak. A long elegant finish leaves you wanting just a little more! This is a brilliant Chardonnay – I highly recommend getting a bottle if you can – The 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018 vintages still available on the Villa Maria website. RRP:$80.00 https://www.villamaria.co.nz/
Tony Bish Heartwood Chardonnay 2019. Hawke’s Bay NZ.
Bright golden in colour with lemon hues, medium+ viscosity. Fresh nose of stone-fruit, tangelo, vanilla & nutty aromas with just a hint of struck match. The palate is all about the fruit, with peach, nectarine & lemons predominant, beautifully textured, with a grippy acid backbone & subtle oak all in perfect harmony. Juicy long finish – amazing value, stunning quality Chardonnay. RRP:$35.00
Sacred Hills Riflemans Chardonnay 2019, Hawke’s Bay NZ
Deep yellow-gold in colour with medium+ viscosity. Fragrant nose of citrus blossom & grapefruit, buttery toasted cashew & warm bread leesy aromas. Intensely fruit-focused on the palate with nectarine, peach & melon flavours, a vibrant grape-fruit acidity, spicy toasty oak balanced with creaminess from 100% M/F. A long succulent finish – Complex, textured & extremely elegant! Outstanding! RRP:$70.00
Pask ‘Declaration” Chardonnay 2019, Hawke’s Bay NZ
Yellow gold in colour to the edge, medium bodied with a lovely oily viscosity. The nose is all about the fruit with peach, nectarine & citrus pith aromas. There’s a nice bright acid drive through the palate with fresh stone-fruit flavours, creamy nutty oak textures filling it out, all leading to a long creamy, rounded finish. Drinking beautifully! RRP:$45.00
Monowai ‘Upper Reaches’ Chardonnay 2019, Hawke’s Bay NZ
Clear pale straw-gold in colour with pale green hues. The nose is shy but agreeable with soft citrus, melon, butter & spice aromas – very subtle. The palate is light to medium bodied with ripe peach, nectarine & apricot fruit flavours, a gentle acidity & fine subtle oak influence all meld together in a smooth elegant finish. Lovely, subtle, rounded Chardonnay. RRP:$35.00
Elephant Hill ‘Salome’ Chardonnay 2019 Hawke’s Bay.
Pale gold in colour with a soft green tinge. Aromatic nose of buttered popcorn, ripe stone-fruit & bright grape-fruity citrus notes. The palate is medium bodied & beautifully textured with nectarine, pineapple & lemon pith flavours, a hint of creaminess, lively acidity, subtle oak spice & a long juicy zingy finish. Drinking beautifully now – will cellar well for future special occasions. RRP:$75.00
Coopers Creek Limeworks Select Vineyards Chardonnay 2019, Hawke’s Bay NZ.
Pale straw gold in colour with a green tinge. Lovely stone-fruit & citrus nose with a little cashew nut & toasty oak. Medium bodied palate with butterscotch, peaches & grapefruit citrus flavours, a grippy lemon pith acidity, toasty oak & spice add texture & complexity into a very tasty long finish. This is amazing value for a top 12 Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay! RRP:$25.00
Collaboration Wines Aurulent Chardonnay 2019, Hawke’s Bay, NZ
Bright lemon gold in colour, medium bodied wine. Immediate nose of flinty struck-match with lemon & grapefruit fruit notes & warm toast aromas. The palate is full of tart citrus & pineapple flavours with layers of vanilla-wine biscuits & creme brulee – beautifully textured & balanced with fresh lemon pith on the long juicy finish. I tasted the Aurulent 2011 Chardonnay in 2013. Still an exceptional wine. RRP: $35.00
Clearview Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2019, Hawke’s Bay NZ
Shiny bright golden in colour medium viscosity. Gorgeous nose of ripe pineapple, peaches, flinty notes & smokey oak aromas. The palate starts with a salty, grape-fruity acidity followed by juicy stone-fruit flavours, creamy, subtle oak textures, the full bodied weight & flavours continuing into a long concentrated fruit driven finish. Fabulous!
Church Road ‘Tom McDonald’ Chardonnay 2019 Hawke’s Bay NZ.
Bright yellow gold in colour with a pale green tinge, lovely oily viscosity too. Intensely fragrant nose of ripe fleshy peaches & nectarines with buttery nutty oak, gun flint & smoke aromas. The palate is brimming with lush stone-fruit & a core of vibrant citrus acidity, toasty oak texture, grippy yet juicy with a very long citrus finish. Big & bold, yet very elegant. An exceptional chardonnay! RRP:$150.00
Bilancia Tiratore Chardonnay 2019, Hawke’s Bay NZ.
Pale gold in colour with soft green hues, medium viscosity. The nose is buttery, nutty with aromas of stone-fruit, citrus & freshly baked bread. The palate is complex with fresh, juicy peach & nectarine stone-fruit, pineapple & grapefruit flavours, a silky texture, bright acidity & a concentrated juicy medium finish! Wonderful! RRP:$90.00
Askerne “The Archer” Chardonnay 2019, Hawke’s Bay NZ.
Bright clear, pale straw gold in colour, medium viscosity. The nose is rich with vanilla, peach, citrus & smoky oak / flinty notes. The palate is vibrant & juicy with a refreshing lemony acid backbone, juicy peach & nectarine fruit flavours & a fine spicy oak texture. Full flavoured, dry with a very long intense finish. Big wine with character – still young – will soften with time. Excellent now! RRP: $50.00