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Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews
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Independent reviews of some local and imported wines available in New Zealand, including earlier vintages.
SOME FINE WINES IN BOTH NEW ZEALAND AND FRENCH CHARDONNAYS


This batch of 36 chardonnays includes some of the highly-regarded 2002 Jadot wines,  for which we have a surprisingly good selection available in New Zealand.  But oh,  the French who make such a fuss about our use of their wine terms,  are remarkably insouciant about detail on their labels.  In this selection from Jadot,  no matter where the chardonnay is from,  whether petite or very grand indeed,  all are said to have the same 13.5% alcohol.  

The New Zealand wines include several which compared very well indeed in total achievement with the Jadots.  Not the same,  naturally,  but equally worthwhile as examples of chardonnay,  and a sight more affordable.  Wines which seemed to me of almost unarguable gold medal quality were the 2002 Church Road Chardonnay Reserve,  2002 Jadot Batard-Montrachet,  2002 Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Clos de la Chapelle,  2002 Jadot Criots-Batard-Montrachet,  2002 Jadot Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Garennne,  2004 Longbush Chardonnay Reserve,  and 2004 Longbush Chardonnay Un-Oaked,  the latter noteworthy in that the style is hard to make exciting.  These tastings therefore contained some very pleasant interludes.

These reviews first appeared on the www.regionalwines.co.nz website during 2005.  With the change to Regional's website linking directly through to this one in March / April 2007,  they are now re-formatted and inserted here at their appropriate date.  In general,  they are not updated.  The word [then] is inserted occasionally,  to emphasise that.  Obvious errors have been corrected.


CHARDONNAYS REVIEWED:  

2003  Alana Chardonnay
2003  d’Arenberg Chardonnay The Lucky Lizard
2004  Awa Valley Chardonnay
2004  Brunton Road Chardonnay
2002  Church Road Chardonnay Reserve
2002  Coopers Creek Chardonnay Swamp Road Reserve
2002  Gilles Guerrin Saint-Veran Cuvée Prestige
2002  Jadot Batard-Montrachet
2002  Jadot Chablis Grenouilles
2002  Jadot Charlemagne
2002  Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot
2002  Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Clos de la Chapelle
2002  Jadot Criots-Batard-Montrachet
2002  Jadot Meursault Charmes
2002  Jadot Meursault Genevrieres
2002  Jadot Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Garennne
2002  Jadot Puligny-Montrachet les Folatieres
2002  Jadot Saint-Aubin les Combes
  2004  KEW Chardonnay Barrel-Fermented
2004  KEW Chardonnay Un-Wooded
2004  Kumeu River Chardonnay Village
2004  Longbush Chardonnay Oaked
2004  Longbush Chardonnay Reserve
2004  Longbush Chardonnay Un-Oaked
2004  Millton Chardonnay Opou
2004  Mission Chardonnay Jewelstone
2003  Mount Riley Chardonnay Seventeen Valley
2004  Seifried Chardonnay Old Coach Road
2004  Sleeping Dogs Chardonnay
2004  Stonewall Chardonnay
2004  Te Whare Ra Chardonnay
2002  Villa Maria Chardonnay Gisborne Reserve
2004  Villa Maria Chardonnay Marlborough Cellar Selection
2004  Witters Chardonnay Reserve
2004  Wolf Blass Chardonnay Gold Label
2003  Yering Station Chardonnay


2002  Church Road Chardonnay Reserve   19  ()
Hawkes Bay,  New Zealand:  14%;  $31   [ cork;  BF & LA in new and 1-year French oak for 10 months,  no MLF;  www.churchroad.co.nz ]
Deep lemon,  very attractive.  Bouquet on this wine is little short of sensational,  great New Zealand and Hawkes Bay chardonnay,  chockful of golden queen peaches and finest glacé figs.  Oak and complex wine-making inputs have melted away into wonderful harmony.  Palate develops the yellow fruits delightfully,  the flavours long and fine and powerful,  yet almost delicate on the tongue,  with satisfying baguette-crust yeast autolysis and complexity.  This is stunning wine,  and the aftertaste superb.  When Church Road get their Reserve Chardonnay spot-on,  it is unbeatable.  Interesting to see the more yellow stonefruits characters of the mendoza clone alongside and relative to the more white stonefruits of the top Jadots.  Cellar 3 – 8 years.  GK 07/05

2002  Jadot Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Garennne   19  ()
Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru,  Burgundy,  France:  13.5%;  $131   [ cork;  Domaine du Duc de Magenta monopole;  hand-harvested;  (guideline) BF,  LA,  MLF in 30% new French oak;  no specific info [then] on website;  www.louisjadot.com ]
Fresh lemonstraw.  A big bouquet,  combining some acacia florals with an aromatic new oak character,  and some winemaking complexities already evident – some hazelnut meal in rich white stonefruit.  Palate is rich yet bone dry,  elegant stonefruits,  fine-grained acid,  lingering mealiness,  and an exciting depth of flavour.  This is great white burgundy,  and classic Puligny-Montrachet,  more accessible now than the Batard-Montrachet.  Cellar 5 – 12 years.  GK 07/05

2002  Jadot Batard-Montrachet   19  ()
Chassagne and Puligny-Montrachet Grand Cru,  Burgundy,  France:  13.5%;  $375   [ cork;  hand-harvested;  (guideline) BF,  LA,  MLF in 30% new French oak;  no specific info [then] on website;  www.louisjadot.com ]
Lemon more than straw,  one of the best colours.  Bouquet is exquisitely clean and pure,  white stone fruits and a suggestion of acacia florals,  with underlying winemaking complexities.  Palate makes clear the beautifully subtle barrel ferment,  lees autolysis and MLF components,  all superbly integrated though youthful,  potentially mealy and hazelnuts,  fine-grained acid and a suggestion of mineral,  new oak underpinning.  Not particularly rich,  but supremely fine.  This wine illustrates why great white burgundy is so admired.  It will cellar 5 – 15 + years,  harmoniously.  GK 07/05

2002  Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot Clos de la Chapelle   18 ½ +  ()
Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru,  Burgundy,  France:  13.5%;  $111   [ cork;  Domaine du Duc de Magenta monopole;  hand-harvested;  (guideline) BF,  LA,  MLF in 30% new French oak;  no specific info [then] on website;  info @ www.louisjadot.com ]
Lemon straw.  Bouquet here is very fresh,  another one with the suggestion of acacia florals on white nectarine fruit,  the winemaker inputs subdued compared with the other top wines.  Palate is pale stone fruits,  good acid,  mealy and hazelnut components just under the surface,  soon to develop.  This is subtle and satisfying wine,  though not as rich as the Criots.  Cellar 5 – 10 years.  GK 07/05

2004  Longbush Chardonnay Reserve   18 ½  ()
Gisborne,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $21   [ screwcap;  no info [then] on website;  www.gisbornewinecompany.co.nz ]
Lemonstraw,  a better hue than the Oaked Longbush.  Bouquet is more complexed on this wine,  with a big MLF creamy / lactic note in barrel ferment and lees autolysis components,  all based on ripe golden queen  peachy fruit.  Palate is rich,  beautifully fruited,  acid in balance but oak looming a little large,  a good example of serious Gisborne chardonnay,  except for its not-quite-bone-dry finish.  And maybe there is a little American oak.  Cellar 3 – 10 years.  GK 07/05

2004  Longbush Chardonnay Un-Oaked   18 ½  ()
Gisborne,  New Zealand:  13%;  $15   [ screwcap;  no info [then] on website;  www.gisbornewinecompany.co.nz ]
Lemon.  On bouquet and palate,  this is a superb expression of uncomplicated chardonnay varietal character,  white and yellow stone fruits,  mouth-filling fleshy flavours,  great acid balance,  and exactly the right amount of oak to make top-flight un-oaked chardonnay.  Not being spirity,  this is the best New Zealand un-oaked chardonnay for some time.  Hard to get this winestyle more-ish,  as this is.  Cellar 2 – 5 years.  GK 07/05

2002  Jadot Criots-Batard-Montrachet   18 ½  ()
Chassagne-Montrachet Grand Cru,  Burgundy,  France:  13.5%;  $375   [ cork;  hand-harvested;  (guideline) BF,  LA,  MLF in 30% new French oak;  no specific info [then] on website;  www.louisjadot.com ]
Lemon straw.  This is a fatter bouquet altogether,  also with a trace of VA,  and the MLF component of winemaking complexity more evident than most in the batch,  almost creamy.  This leads into an attractive button mushrooms on buttered toast suggestion.  Palate expands on this,  the barrel ferment and lees autolysis components all beautifully integrated into rich white stone fruits.  Palate length is great,  the fruit ‘sweet’,  with good acid and oak.  Not as taut as the top wines,  though.  Cellar 5 – 12 years.  GK 07/05

2004  Longbush Chardonnay Oaked   18  ()
Gisborne,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $18   [ screwcap;  no info [then] on website;  www.gisbornewinecompany.co.nz ]
Straw,  advanced for its age.  A fragrant and ripe expression of chardonnay,  ripened to the golden queen peaches stage,  some fine glacé figs,  and subtle barrel ferment,  lees autolysis,  and MLF complexities.   Palate is fruit-dominated,  oak in balance,  not as bone dry as good French or Australian chardonnay,  but certainly commercially ‘dry’.  Not as rich as the Reserve wine,  but less complicated,  more accessible,  more-ish.  Cellar 3 – 5 years.  GK 07/05

2004  Mission Chardonnay Jewelstone   18  ()
Hawkes Bay,  New Zealand:  14%;  $33   [ cork;  no info [then] on website;  www.missionestate.co.nz ]
Lemon straw.  A more subdued bouquet than the Swamp Road,  but again in an attractive golden queen peaches,  barrel ferment and lees autolysis approach,  with suggestions of baguette crust on the fruit.  Palate is ripe and rich,  not as succulent as the Swamp Road,  and more acid and youthful.  The French oak is still tending hessian and unintegrated,  but is light in comparison,  and should ultimately make a subtler wine than the Swamp Road.  In a year’s time,  this will be attractively integrated into a classic Hawkes Bay chardonnay.  It will cellar for 3 – 10 years.  GK 06/05

2002  Jadot Charlemagne   18  ()
Pernand-Vergelesses Grand Cru,  Burgundy,  France:  13.5%;  $194   [ cork;  village info courtesy Raymond Chan;  hand-harvested;  (guideline) BF,  LA,  MLF in 30% new French oak;  no specific info [then] on website;  www.louisjadot.com ]
Straw more than lemon.  Bouquet is bigger and more mealy on this wine,  with rich fruit (though with a touch of VA,  and showing even a hint of pineapple,  subtle enough to be positive) and some complexities,  all adding up to big white burgundy.  Palate is slightly acid,  the stonefruits quite rich,  and the barrel ferment and lees autolysis flavours still subdued,  awaiting development.  This is rich wine which should cellar for 5 – 12 years,  but will not be the subtlest of styles.  GK 07/05

2003  Yering Station Chardonnay   18  ()
Yarra Valley,  Victoria,  Australia:  13.5%;  $27   [ screwcap;  website doesn’t respond [then];  www.yering.com ]
Elegant lemon,  again a better colour than the Kiwis in this batch.  This is an understated wine,  smelling and tasting as if a small percentage of the wine had full barrel ferment and lees autolysis in charry barrels like the d’Arenberg,  and that was blended with a stainless steel portion.  Nett result is an attractive light yet rich chardonnay,  similar to the Longbush Un-Oaked one,  but with a clear barrel ferment component.  And these Aussie premium chardonnays are beautifully dry.  Should cellar well for 5 – 10 years.  GK 07/05

2002  Villa Maria Chardonnay Gisborne Reserve   18  ()
Gisborne,  New Zealand:  14%;  $36   [ screwcap;  solely clone 95;  hand-picked;  BF & LA in French oak;  www.villamaria.co.nz ]
Superb fresh lemon.  Bouquet is immediately rich chardonnay,  with some charry complexity,  mixed white and yellow stone fruits,  a hint of lanolin,  and suggestions of barrel ferment and lees autolysis.  Palate has the tactile richness of fine chardonnay,  beautiful acid balance,  the oak marrying in attractively,  potential mealiness,  still on the youthful side of full flowering.  Could be marked gold medal.  Cellar 5 – 10 years.  GK 07/05

2002  Coopers Creek Chardonnay Swamp Road Reserve   18  ()
Hawkes Bay,  New Zealand:  14%;  $27   [ cork;  BF,  MLF,  and 9 months LA in new and 1-year French oak;  www.cooperscreek.co.nz ]
Deep lemon.  A big clean ripe yellow peachflesh and oak chardonnay,  with a lot of oak,  barrel ferment and lees autolysis winemaking input.  Palate is richly textured,  oaky but not as oaky as feared from bouquet,  attractive spreading flavours,  and an attractive button mushrooms on buttered toast aftertaste.  This wine is surprisingly fresh and youthful,  and should cellar well 3 – 8 years.  GK 06/05

2003  d’Arenberg Chardonnay The Lucky Lizard   18  ()
Adelaide Hills,  South Australia,  Australia:  14.5%;  $28   [ cork;  Ch 100%;  website gives conflicting info on production,  but 100% BF and LA in new to 2-year French oak for 6 – 9 months,  with no MLF;  www.darenberg.com.au ]
Elegant deep lemon,  a better hue than many New Zealand chardonnays.  Bouquet is a bit over-wrought,  with an excess of the charry oak barrel ferment character that used to characterise the Corbans Cottage Block wines in New Zealand.  In mouth,  however,  there is excellent golden queen peach and figgy fruit showing every bit as much fruit complexity as best Hawkes Bay,  with beautifully integrated (but charry) barrel ferment and lees autolysis qualities.  Later palate is golden fruit,  dry and elegant,  seemingly drier than many New Zealand examples of the grape,  even though RS is given as 2.6 g/L.  The wine is a little oaky in the new world way,  oakier than the 2002 Villa Maria Gisborne Reserve for example.  If it were not so obtrusively charry on bouquet and palate,  it would clearly be gold medal,  on palate length and finesse.  Cellar 5 – 10 years.  GK 07/05

2003  Alana Chardonnay   17 ½  ()
Martinborough,  New Zealand:  14%;  $27   [ screwcap;  hand-picked;  BF,  MLF and LA in French oak 12 months,  24% new;  www.alana.co.nz ]
Elegant lemon.  Initially opened,  bouquet shows a lot of winemaker artefact,  tending to the charry Corban's Cottage Block style of a few years ago.  Splashily decanted,  there is an underlying acacia floral quality which is attractive,  on white nectarine fruit,  plus a sourdough note which is clearly mealy.  Palate is complex stonefruits and multigrain bread,  indicating extended lees autolysis.  This should marry down into a Puligny-Montrachet kind of complexity in another couple of years,  and score more highly.  Cellar 3 – 10 years.  GK 06/05

2004  Awa Valley Chardonnay   17 ½  ()
Kumeu,  Auckland district,  New Zealand:  14%;  $19   [ screwcap;  hand-harvested;  BF in French oak ]
Lemonstraw.  A big bouquet with a lot of winemaker artefact is the first impression:  charry barrel fermentation and breadcrust lees autolysis,  on white peach and nectarine fruit,  attractive.  Palate is sweetly fruity,  but there is a lot of oak,  in fact too much.  The finish might retain a couple of grams of sugar – it is pretty seductive.  If this is a debut wine,  it is an exciting start.  Cellar 5 – 8 years.  GK 06/05

2002  Jadot Puligny-Montrachet les Folatieres   17 ½  ()
Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru,  Burgundy,  France:  13.5%;  $131   [ cork;  Jadot vineyard;  hand-harvested;  (guideline) BF,  LA,  MLF in 30% new French oak;  no specific info [then] on website;  www.louisjadot.com ]
Straw,  tending developed for an ‘02.  Bouquet is forward for its years too,  a lot of wholegrain bread crust and hazelnut complexity from lees autolysis,  on stone fruit.  It would be uncharitable to think there is a quincey note,  below the surface.  Palate is rich,  the MLF component a bit apparent and almost buttery,  saved by good acid.  There is not much Puligny-Montrachet typicity here,  but it is good food wine.  Cellar 3 – 8 years.  GK 07/05

2004  Millton Chardonnay Opou   17 ½  ()
Gisborne,  New Zealand:  14%;  $23   [ cork;  organic wine;  www.millton.co.nz ]
Lemon.  Some SO2 initially on bouquet,  but floral and fragrant nectarine and melon fruit below,  plus oak  complexity.  Palate is taut,  with suggestions of barrel ferment and lees autolysis on crisp white peach fruit,  the oak not overdone.  Needs a year to show well,  and should cellar for 5 – 8 years.  GK 06/05

2004  Witters Chardonnay Reserve   17 ½  ()
Gisborne,  New Zealand:  13.8%;  $22   [ screwcap;  100% BF;  website [then] not accessible;  www.waiohika.co.nz ]
Straw,  advanced for its age.  Initially opened,  this wine is a little scented and estery.  Breathes to an intriguing bouquet,  with barrel ferment and lees autolysis complexities reminiscent of Vogels Wholegrain on yellow peach and figgy fruit.  Palate is rich,  a little coarser and more oaky than the Longbush wines,  with plenty of golden peachy fruit and oak,  still to marry up.  A bold wine.  Cellar 5 – 8 years.  GK 07/05

2004  Wolf Blass Chardonnay Gold Label   17 ½  ()
Adelaide Hills,  South Australia,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $23   [ screwcap;  www.wolfblass.com.au ]
Pale lemongreen,  ultra high-tech even to the first glance.  Bouquet is similarly immaculate,  pure fruit,  pure barrel ferment,  pure lees autolysis,  a little of the contemporarily fashionable charred-oak complexity,  with a whisper of sulphur associated with the barrel component.  Palate is very dry,  and still quite reserved,  the barrel ferment and related complexity factors more apparent here,  but the whole wine extraordinarily understated,  though not weak.  This should cellar well,  to 10 years.  An extra-difficult Options wine !  GK 05/05

2004  Villa Maria Chardonnay Marlborough Cellar Selection    17 +  ()
Marlborough,  New Zealand:  14%;  $23   [ screwcap;  www.villamaria.co.nz ]
Lemon.  Initial bouquet is a little tutti-frutti from fermentation esters,  but on good yellow peach fruit.  Palate is more complex,  with some mealy barrel ferment and lees autolysis components on the peachy fruit,   slightly buttery (+ve),  though oak and alcohol detract a little.  Mainstream New Zealand chardonnay,  which might score higher in a year’s time.  Cellar 5 – 7 years.  GK 06/05

2004  Sleeping Dogs Chardonnay   17  ()
Canterbury & Otago,  New Zealand:  12.5%;  $19   [ screwcap;  Otago crop reduced by frost – hence mainly Canterbury ]
Pale lemon.  An out of the ordinary chardonnay bouquet,  with acacia florals so strong as to be nearly rank.  Blind,  the wine is hard to identify as to variety:  it could be a kind of sauvignon.  In mouth,  it continues to be unusual,  scarcely oaked,  the florals with a sweet vernal dimension reminding of both riesling and Hunter Valley semillon (best).  Suggestions of oak,  barrel ferment and lees autolysis creep up on the later palate,  which is clearly dry.  This might evolve into an exciting chablis style in a year’s time.  Mark tentative – could be higher,  or might plummet.  Cellar 5 – 8 years.  GK 06/05

2002  Jadot Meursault Genevrieres   17  ()
Meursault Premier Cru,  Burgundy,  France:  13.5%;  $130   [ cork;  Jadot vineyard;  hand-harvested;  (guideline) BF,  LA,  MLF in 30% new French oak;  no specific info [then] on website;  www.louisjadot.com ]
Lemon straw.  This wine shows a big hazelnutty bouquet,  with a lot of oak and lees autolysis components.  Palate spreads them out into rich stone fruits,  all slightly buttery and oat-mealy,  clearly Meursault but unsubtle.  A trace of VA adds sparkle,  but this is one of the forward wines,  not suited to long cellaring,  say 3 – 8 years.  GK 07/05

2004  KEW Chardonnay Barrel-Fermented   17  ()
Gisborne,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $21   [ screwcap;  KEW = Kirkpatrick Estate Winery;  www.kew.co.nz ]
Lemon straw,  bright,  with suggestions of new-oak yellow.  Bouquet is oak-dominated,  quite old-fashioned rich chardonnay made with lots of desiccated coconut oak.  Palate is rich,  very oaky,  reasonably balanced in its white peach richness.  Lees autolysis and MLF complexities are pretty well hidden by the oak,  but add texture and mouthfeel.  Hard to score because it is so 1980s style,  but good as such.  Cellar 5 – 10 years.  GK 05/05

2002  Jadot Meursault Charmes   16 ½ +  ()
Meursault Premier Cru,  Burgundy,  France:  13.5%;  $130   [ cork;  hand-harvested;  (guideline) BF,  LA,  MLF in 30% new French oak;  no specific info [then] on website;  www.louisjadot.com ]
Straw more than lemon.  About this point in the hierarchy,  the wines move to a softer more generic white burgundy style,  as if the barrel ferment in new oak component no longer exists.  This smells and tastes an older wine than it is,  with big lees autolysis components reminiscent of an old heavier dull version of Bollinger.  These wholegrain and hazelnut components are on top of big stone fruit,  but it is all a bit buttery and fat,  and some of the flavours are more dried peaches than fresh ones.  Clearly Meursault,  but lacking in freshness,  merely a pleasant full-bodied white burgundy,  old for its age,  not a serious cellaring wine.  Disappointing at $130.  Cellar 3 – 5 years.  GK 07/05

2004  KEW Chardonnay Un-Wooded   16 ½  ()
Gisborne,  New Zealand:  12.5%;  $16   [ screwcap;  KEW = Kirkpatrick Estate Winery;  www.kew.co.nz ]
Palest lemongreen.  A clean high-tech simple chardonnay bouquet,  in the South Australian honeydew melon style,  with a touch of banana as if from an aromatic yeast.  Palate is clean,  not quite dry (unfortunately),  attractive crisp almost appley flavour,  and delightfully low alcohol.  This is a good wine for delicate white foods.  Cellar 2 – 5 years.  GK 05/05

2003  Mount Riley Chardonnay Seventeen Valley   16 ½  ()
Marlborough,  New Zealand:  13%;  $30   [ cork;  hand-picked,  BF in French & US oak,  LA;  a barrel selection for this label;  ’03 not on website [then];  www.mountriley.co.nz ]
Lemon and a suggestion of gold,  the deepest of eight chardonnays.  Bouquet is a mixed blessing,  showing extreme winemaker artefacts,  including sourdough bread crust,  and charry toast qualities,  on fruit that is rich but not immaculate – hints of botrytis,  some not noble.  Palate is rich and broad,  lots of flavour which will give uncritical pleasure,  but developing rapidly.  Possibly a defective cork,  rather than a ‘corked’ one,  but otherwise,  not a cellar wine.  GK 06/05

2004  Stonewall Chardonnay   16 ½  ()
Marlborough,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $11   [ screwcap;  Forrest Estate sub-label;  www.forrest.co.nz ]
Lemonstraw.  Bouquet is quite complex,  golden queen peach and figgy,  with some lees autolysis complexity components suggesting wholemeal sourdough bread.  Palate however has tutti frutti and fleshy aspects to it,  feeling like a stainless wine with maybe a couple of grams of sugar,  plus complexity components including oak blended in.  Body is good for an $11 wine,  though.  Cellar 3 – 5 years.  GK 06/05

2002  Jadot Saint-Aubin les Combes   16 ½  ()
Saint-Aubin Premier Cru,  Burgundy,  France:  13.5%;  $58   [ cork;  no specific info [then] on website;  www.louisjadot.com ]
Straw,  old for its age.  This is the bouquet of an older white burgundy style,  some dried peaches in the stone fruits,  suggestions of quince,  but plenty of lees autolysis flavour giving quite a mealy rich palate.  This will be developing biscuitty mature flavours in a year or two,  which again is disappointing in such a young wine.  Short-term cellar,  only.  GK 07/05

2004  Seifried Chardonnay Old Coach Road   16  ()
Nelson,  New Zealand:  14%;  $15   [ screwcap;  no info [then] on 2004 on website;  2003 Fr & US oak,  mostly s/s ferment,  some MLF;  www.seifried.co.nz ]
Light straw,  a poor hue for its age.  Bouquet is veering towards a clumsy quincey style of chardonnay,  with some breadcrust complexities,  otherwise clean.  Palate is awkward,  fair fruit but high acid,  not bone dry,  the actual fruit flavours white pear and pale stone fruit,  new oak yet to integrate.  Needs time to marry up, but colour militates against it being a cellar wine,  or improving much.  Cellar 1 – 2 years.  GK 07/05

2004  Brunton Road Chardonnay   16  ()
Gisborne,  New Zealand:  14%;  $18   [ screwcap;  part of the wine BF,  50% MLF,  some LA;  3.5 g/L RS;  www.bruntonroad.co.nz ]
Lemon.  A slightly aggressive bouquet with some VA,  below which is reasonable stonefruit chardonnay character.   Palate introduces malolactic and oak flavours,  on white stonefruits,  tending acid but not bone dry,  all a little clumsy and unknit.  Cellar 1 – 3 years only.  GK 07/05

2002  Jadot Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot   16  ()
Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru,  Burgundy,  France:  13.5%;  $111   [ cork;  hand-harvested;  (guideline) BF,  LA,  MLF in 30% new French oak;  no specific info [then] on website;  www.louisjadot.com ]
Lemongreen,  much the most youthful of these ‘02 Jadots.  Not surprisingly,  the fresh colour bespeaks a sulphur problem,  with an unattractive mercaptan-related sweaty note obscuring pale stone fruit.  Winemaking complexities in the sense of lees autolysis and barrel components take a backseat here,  so the good fruit and acid balance would be attractive in a clean wine.  Unfortunately,  the sweaty character turns sour in mouth,  and persists right through the palate.  But these negative characters are subtle,  and individual thresholds to these sulphur compounds vary enormously,  so this wine may please you more than me.  Cellar 5 – 10 years,  if the style appeals.  I wouldn't.  GK 07/05

2004  Te Whare Ra Chardonnay   15  ()
Marlborough,  New Zealand:  14.2%;  $25   [ screwcap;  a blend,  the BF portion MLF and LA in oak 10 months;  www.te-whare-ra.co.nz ]
Pale lemon.  Bouquet is oak-dominant at this stage,  and rough on a little VA as well,  on melony fruit more South Australian than New Zealand in style.  Palate has fair fruit of pale white stonefruits flavour,  but is harsh on oak and acid.  Will be better in a year,  and will cellar 3 – 5 years.  GK 06/05

2004  Kumeu River Chardonnay Village   15  ()
Kumeu,  Auckland district,  New Zealand:  13%;  $17   [ screwcap;  25% BF and LA in 5-year French oak less than 6 months;  www.kumeuriver.co.nz ]
Pale straw.  Bouquet is raw and faintly rubbery,  detracting from pale stonefruit chardonnay showing some barrel ferment and lees autolysis undertones.  Palate is simple chardonnay flavours,  but like the Te Whare Ra,  it is uncoordinated,  with fruit,  acid and oak all standing apart.  Level of oak is good,  though.  This is a sub-standard example of this usually reliable label.  Should be better in a year,  and will cellar 2 – 4  years.  GK 06/05

2002  Gilles Guerrin Saint-Veran Cuvée Prestige   15  ()
Burgundy,  France:  13%;  $30   [ cork ]
Older lemonstraw.  A broad flat buttered whole-grain toast chardonnay on bouquet,  tending plain.  Palate is even more buttery,  real diacetyl,  a caricature of the traditional Macon style – except for the awkward acid,  as if added.  That didn't happen in the old days.  Perfectly wholesome,  flavoursome,  but not worth cellaring.  Expensive,  given the old-fashioned winemaking and level of appellation.  GK 05/05

2002  Jadot Chablis Grenouilles   14 ½  ()
Chablis Grand Cru,  Burgundy,  France:  13.5%;  $130   [ cork;  no specific info [then] on website;  www.louisjadot.com ]
Lemonstraw.  This is really old-fashioned white burgundy,  with a grey veil of organic sulphur hanging about the wine,  grubbier than stale wet washing,  and with air developing a slightly farty note.  Palate has good fruit,  rich for chablis,  little or no oak,  and is recognisably chablis in a blind tasting (on the lack of oak).  But sadly,  it is not clean enough to be taken seriously.  Particularly at $130.  Not worth cellaring.  GK 07/05