2014 Bannockburn Chardonnay
|Origin||New Zealand, South Island|
Delicious fresh Chardonnay - 'Texture not fatness', says Nigel, there us no lees stirring to fatten it up, and only 8% new oak, it is made in a convincingly Burgundian style and bottled unfined and unfiltered, trying to keep the chalkiness and texture. Immensely attractive, pure and lithe and long. L&S (Oct 2015)
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Using free-run juice (i.e the best quality) before being gravity fed directly into the fermentation barrels. Even so there's little evidence of oak even at this stage of the wine's youth (a stage at which it can sometimes be awkward and noticeable even if in balance). Beautifully poised and elegant with a seductive honeysuckle nose, the subtle honeydew melon juiciness works perfectly against the backdrop of apple freshness. NZ Chardonnay par excellence. Rating: 92 www.thewinegang.com (Feb 2016)
Barrel fermented, 15 months in oak but only 8% new (to replace defunct barrels). Natural ferment, no additions apart from SO2 at bottling. Creamy aroma then drier and more mineral on the palate than I expected from the nose. Subtle, fresh and long with a gentle lees texture adding to the length. Refined more than intense. Drinking range: 2015 - 2018 Rating: 16.5 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com (Nov 2015)
A very rich nose with plenty of nectarine, grapefruit, yellow peach and an assertive pure fruit edge. There is a strong comparison to Chablis in style here, think Droin or Raveneau, smooth lees, flinty and stony. The palate has a smooth, creamy texture, flavors of peach, nectarine and preserved lemon; a smooth, polished and stony texture, all nicely integrated, edges into more tropical fruits to close. Great wine, long and composed. Drink now. Rating: 94-94 Nick Stock, www.jamessuckling.com (Sep 2015)
Felton Road and Rippon are undoubtedly the two leading vineyards in Central Otago, both making Pinots that are finely textured with fresh fruit flavours, rather than the 'fruit bombs' that so many others produce. Felton Road has been totally organic and biodynamic across their three Bannockburn vineyards since 2005. They have been certified by Demeter since 2009. After that there are more differences than similarities.
While Rippon, at Wanaka is on schist, Felton Road in Banockburn is on clay and calcareous loess. It is also very much in the rain shadow of the Main Divide. Irrigation is used at Rippon to help establish young vines, but dry farming is possible once the vines get their roots down, while at Felton Road permanent irrigation is required for the entire vineyard.
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