2014 Church Road Winery Grand Reserve Chardonnay, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Grand Reserve wines prior to 2012 were produced under the Church Road Reserve label.
The fruit for this wine was hand-harvested from 2 selected vineyards that Church Road considers as the best. It was whole-bunch pressed and the juice run directly to barrel with no prior clarification. Once in barrel, the must was fermented by natural wild yeast before an 11-month maturation in the same oak wine barrels.
How about the 2014 vintage in Hawke’s Bay?
This is how CRW describes it, in short: “The 2014 Hawke’s Bay Growing Season 2013 was a hard act to follow but the 2014 growing season delivered another exceptional vintage. A warmer year than 2013, we received more regular rainfall over the summer months which resulted in good vine balance going into Autumn. Rainfall over the all-important harvest period was very low. The result was perfectly ripe fruit harvested in exceptional condition producing fragrant, concentrated and seductively textured wines.”
This Kiwi Hawkes Bay Chardy comes is a lemon-yellow color with solid intensity, but more importantly with gold hues making it look shiny and strong.
The nose confirms this impression. It is indeed mightily aromatic!
Put your nose anywhere near the opening of the glass, and you get a burst of vanilla, biscuit, and lemon essence, a bit like if you’d open the door to an oven where lemon cookies have been cooking.
It’s an extremely powerful and deep aromatic profile, filled with a wealth of oaky tones of hazelnut and nutmeg. But there’s also a wealth of depth with rich leesy tones (dough, almost sour-dough smelling), with freshness of citrus fruit and white peach that still manages to shine through.
The palate features good acidity, with hints of minerality, and a touch of balancing sweetness, mid-body. The overall balance is very good combining richness with a little sucrosity and more importantly a refreshing acidity that makes feel light and very palatable despite the outstanding concentration.
What strikes most is the sheer intensity of flavors, as well as their complexity. A super-powerful world of vanilla, hazelnut, lemon peel, sweet spices, brioche of butter. We’re clearly in a Chardonnay world here with the buttery and oaky richness. But never does it feel heavy or overdone (for my palate at least, which likes a rich Chardonnay and oak) as it holds much primary-fruit freshness as well.
A stunningly intense and concentrated NZ Chardonnay that provides loads of flavors intensity: filled with primary fruit aromas of citrus and stonefruit, it has successfully been complemented by the winemakers with a wealth of leesy and oaky characters. The whole feels strong and powerful, exuberantly flavorful, yet with good balance and a refreshing acidity with a mineral edge.
Excellent it absolutely is!