2013 Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay
Much less famous than the iconic NZ Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand actually also produces a wealth of great Chardonnay wine. Most winemakers in the country pride themselves in producing cool climate refined expressions of the grpae often inspired by the best examples in the world, the Burgundy ones in particular.
Marlborough is the NZ region that produces most Chardonnay in the country, like most wine in general. But the warmer Hawkes Bay region of the North Island stands out for producing a richer and less retrained style of ‘Chardy’.
Like Chris Scott, winemaker at Church Road Winery puts it in an Interview with Social Vignerons:
“I always see Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay a little bit more Montrachet-like than cooler climates of the South Island which is great because it’s what I like.”
Today, we’re reviewing a Chardonnay by another of the most reputable wine producers in Hawkes Bay: Trinity Hill Winery.
Trinity Hill has most of its vineyards in the Gimblett Gravels area of the Hawke’s Bay region. A zone in the local river bed that has free-draining and warm gravelly soils providing favorable growing conditions.
So how good is this Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay?
The answer is in the tasting notes:
Beautiful bright yellow color with a green hue and gold gleam.
The nose is very very intense. It displays plenty of nut character, walnut, hazelnut, but also fresh buttery and grassy notes. There’s honey, wax, and cream. As you’ve understood, it’s on the oxidative (but not oxidised) side of things, I presume from a long barrel ageing on lees. A complex and deep nose where oak is well present.
The same explosion of nutty and buttery flavors happen on the palate, probably even more pronounced. But there’s also intense citrus scents, lime and lime peel. Some floral and peppery tones add to the complexity and freshness. The wine has a great acidity that, together with the citrus aromas, keeps its feel fresh despite the aromatic profile being on the heavy and oaky side, especially as the temperature of the wine raises towards room temperature (I tasted it slightly chilled, about 14 Celsius degrees). An oily texture enjoyably coats the palate, making the wine feel very luscious.
Overall: a powerfully aromatic, intense, and concentrated wine, with a double-faced personality. On one side, it’s rather old-school Chardonnay, oaky and nutty. On the other, the primary fruit flavors manage to shine through and showcase the sheer concentration the grape must have had at harvest. The whole works beautifully for an intense and powerful delivery of a myriad of flavors.
When to Drink?
Good to drink now, but should age well given the acidity. Primary fruit might be lost though.
Pair with creamy and delicate seafood dishes, salads, or subtle cheeses. The wine’s solid acidity can sustain and cut through fatty dishes, while the aromatic intensity will add butty and citrusy notes to food that benefit from those, like fish or scallops. Enjoy J
Find out more information about the producing winery at trinityhill.com