FIVE STARS 94/100 | Sam Kim, Wine Orbit
Vigneron Neal Cave is one of Hawkes Bay's finest Chardonnay growers and his partnership with celebrated winemaker Ant McKenzie (ex Villa Maria / Spy Valley / Dry River) has produced some truly stunning wines over the years. This is one of them.
From the brilliant 2018 vinatge, this is vinted from handpicked fruit and 100% barrel fermented with approx 40% new oak. It explodes on the palate with creamy flavours in the classic lemon-brulee spectrum, some toasty oak complexity and a fresh line of acidity that counters the natural fruit weight of this powerhouse wine. A very subtle touch of flinty gunsmoke on the nose adds a modern touch but this robust release is all about the beauty of tour de force Hawkes Bay Chardonnay.
Sam Kim writes "This is a splendid offering; the immensely complex bouquet shows golden peach, baked fig, lemon peel and vanilla characters with nuances of cedar and brioche. The palate displays excellent weight and depth, together with rich texture and creamy mouthfeel, finishing impressively long and delicious."
The winery writes "Alchemy 2018 Chardonnay was created from selectively picked fruit, which was whole bunch pressed and fermented and aged in French oak barrels for a year. The resulting wine displays a come-hither nose of nougat, crème caramel, cooked apple and spicy pie crust – a combination of top-quality fruit and oak ageing. The palate builds and builds on a soft and succulent approach, giving way to a long-lasting, delectable finish."
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