The Pioneer Chardonnay 2016
Fragrant aromas of ripe apple, citrus blossom and roasted almonds combine with a generous lift of toasty oak and a hint of gun smoke. Charred stone fruit with a mealy and creamy richness derived from barrel fermentation provide the framework for this full-bodied wine, structurally tied together with a precise line of lush acidity leading into a long, lingering finish.
This deliciously complex wine will be a great partner to pan-roasted deep sea fish such as bluenose, finished with brown butter and sage, served with celeriac puree and a simple green salad.
CELLARING POTENTIAL6 - 8 years
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Fairleigh Estate & Waihopai River Vineyards, Marlborough
Sourced evenly between 18 year old Clone 15 vines from the Fairleigh Estate Vineyard and second cropping Mendoza vines from the Waihopai River Vineyard. The youthful vibrance of the Mendoza is balanced perfectly by the roundness of the older Clone 15.
Hand-harvested and whole bunch pressed, the resulting juices were warm fermented on full solids in a range of large-format French oak barrels. The young wines were left to mature on full yeast lees for
a period of 10 months, with the occasional stir and as the weather warmed in early spring, malolactic fermentation was encouraged in approximately half of the barrels.
Titratable Acidity 5.95g/L
Residual Sugar 2.02g/L
With the strongest El Nino pattern since the late 1990s being the dominant weather prediction for vintage 2016, the relative cool start to spring and the subsequent growing season was somewhat surprising.
By mid-October however, things began to look more typical as temperatures increased and the relative dryness so typical of El Nino began to manifest. The weather during flowering was warm and settled leading to one of the most rapid and complete fruit sets seen in recent years. The early part of 2016 bought much needed rain to Marlborough, refreshing canopies and replenishing dams. Before this rain the district had been surviving on just over half its usual rainfall.
The key ripening months of February and March were warm with above average sunshine hours setting the trend for a warm and largely dry harvest.
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