A cool-climate Chardonnay showing density, tension and complexity
Celebrate International Chardonnay Day on May 25th by discovering the latest vintage from one of New Zealand’s best-loved wineries. The widespread international aromatic grape variety has proudly been part of the Cloudy Bay portfolio since 1986, and Cloudy Bay 2021 is now available and housed in a new look embossed bottle.
Cloudy Bay Chardonnay is one for connoisseurs and gastronomic adventurers: refined, poised and balanced. Painstakingly made using traditional techniques, it is a true ‘food wine’. Fruit from vineyards in the stony soils of Wairau Valley and the dense clay of the Southern Valleys work together to create a wine that marries ripe stone fruit and citrusy elegance.
Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2021 vintage brings with it a brand-new look in the form of a stunning, new embossed bottle. “The pack represents a refresh and polish of our brand codes, but also a return to our heritage,” says Yang Shen, Estate Director for Cloudy Bay. “We wanted to further embrace the beautiful Richmond Ranges that can be seen from our winery and were such a core part of the original Cloudy Bay label.”
Nose & Palate
The 2021 Chardonnay is immediately fragrant and open on the nose, with expressive notes of stone fruit, orchard blossoms and subtle crème pâtissière and hazelnut. The palate is taut and vibrant, with mouthwatering citrus freshness framing a core of conference pear and white nectarine. There is a touch of well-integrated, toasty oak, melding with layers of savoury texture and leading into a long and elegant finish.
Cloudy Bay’s Chardonnay comes from a combination of vineyards, chosen for their complementary soil types The warm gravelly soils of the Wairau Valley and the cooler clay soils of the Southern Valleys are used in unison to provide a great balance of ripeness and elegance.
The 2021 season started with an early budburst across the region, while the cold nights and frosts in September and October meant very early mornings for the vineyard crew. Fortunately the frost protection on most of the vineyard sites kept the grape safe. The challenging conditions continued with unsettled weather during the December flowering period, meaning good soil conditions but significant reductions in crop levels.
But while she can be stern, Mother Nature can be equally generous, even in the same season. The growing period for 2021 was a continuous thread of beautifully warm, dry conditions which led to very little disease pressure. And, as is often the case, the lower yields had a significant upside: fantastic fruit. The perfect temperatures meant that acid levels remained high, with the grapes developing their full flavour. The Chardonnay harvest commenced on March 8th and was completed March 26th.
Winemaking & Blending
After gentle pressing, the juice was settled and racked before being transferred to French oak barriques (of which 15% were new) and new 6-kilolitre curves. Half of the bathes were put into barrels with full solids (without racking). After fermentation, the wine rested in a barrel for 11 months before blending. 100% of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation. The finished wine shows a pH of 3.16, TA of 6.51 g/L and alcohol of 13.5%.
Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2021, RRP €45.25, is available nationwide from independent stockists such as Higgins Clonskeagh Dublin, Jus De Vine Dublin, Wine Online Dublin, On The Grapevine Dublin, The Wine Centre Kilkenny and O’Briens Wines, Donnybrook Fair.