South Island vs. North Island Chardonnay, New Zealand

Felton Road vs Kumeu River Chardonnay
Felton Road Block 2 Chardonnay 2009, Central Otago, NZ.
Pale straw yellow core. Mineral nose reminiscent of a good white burgundy, nutty (think hazelnut), cream and strong corn ice-cream (ais krim jagung anyone?) aromas. Similar taste on the palate with a touch of lemon. I can’t help but think that the primary fruit aromas/flavours were masked at this juncture and the wine appeared to be a little disjointed. Med to med+ finish. Good acidity. Elegant. Needs time? Compare the notes from the winery here. Quite a stark difference ae?

Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard Chard 2008, Kumeu, NZ.
Light golden yellow core. A different animal compared to Felton Road’s rendition. Dense, fresh and bright on the nose with pronounced oak/vanilla, and plenty of citrus flavours.  Hints of ripe pineapple aftertaste but ended on a somewhat persistent bitter finish (which mellowed significantly with a helping of some salty green peppercorn salami). Med acidity. Med to med- length. Brash and young. You can read about the product description here.

There you go. A comparison made between two famous producers in New Zealand – one from the southern most end (as far as viticultural areas are concerned) of the South Island, and the other from the north of Auckland. If you want to talk about terroir, I think there’s plenty of room for discussion, or debate, if you will. I think both of these wines were beautifully made and I can see the burgundian influence in their winemaking approach – after all, how many NZ Chardonnays are capable of giving you that characteristic matchstick aroma the moment you uncork unscrew the cork cap? Btw, many thanks to AL who generously shared the wines with me!


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