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New Zealand Chardonnay amongst the world’s best

In Auckland, New Zealand, on International Chardonnay Day (27 May), three Villa Maria Single Vineyard Chardonnays – Keltern (Hawkes Bay), Taylors Pass (Marlborough) and Ihumatao (Auckland), were tasted blind amongst a selection of fifteen of the finest examples of Chardonnay from around the world including Burgundy, USA, South America and Australia.  

Guided by Matthew Deller MW and Villa Maria chief winemaker Nick Picone, wine critics and guests were taken through three blind flights of five wines, each featuring one of the Villa Maria Single Vineyard wines. The tasting was a true triumph for New Zealand Chardonnay as the Villa Maria Single Vineyard wines in each flight equalled and at times exceeded their counterparts with elegance, harmonious balance, complexity and finesse.

“International Chardonnay Day was an incredible opportunity to taste several of the world’s finest Chardonnays side-by-side and completely anonymous,’ said Matthew Deller MW. ‘What we learnt, is that New Zealand has evolved into a great Chardonnay producing country and that Villa Maria’s single vineyard Chardonnays from regions as diverse as Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Marlborough are truly world class.”

Every year International Chardonnay Day is celebrated around the world to highlight the depth and diversity of this expressive grape variety. New Zealand Chardonnay is continuing to build an extraordinary reputation and critical acclaim amongst its peers globally.

Flight 1:
1.            Erazzuriz Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2018
2.            Catena Zapata Whites Stones 2017
3.            Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass 2019
4.            Domaine Francois Raveneau Montée de Tonnerre Chablis Premier Cru 2015
5.            Leeuwin Estate Art Series 2018

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Chardonnay 2019 92 points – Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous

Flight 2:
1.            Walter Scott “Seven Springs Vineyard” Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay 2018
2.            Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Vineyard 2019
3.            Hamilton Russell, South Africa 2018
4.            Domaine Leflaive Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2017
5.            Louis Jadot Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru 2017   

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2019 97 points – Cameron Douglas MS, 17/20 Jancis Robinson MW, 98 points – Bob Campbell MW, 96 points – Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous

Flight 3:
1.            Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao 2019
2.            Giaconda Estate Vineyard Chardonnay 2018
3.            Hyde de Villaine, Carneros, Napa Chardonnay 2018
4.            Domaine Coche-Dury Meursault 2018
5.            Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2017     

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2019 96 points – Cameron Douglas MS, 94 points, Bob Campbell MW

New Zealand Chardonnay

  • With a balance of minerality and fruit, Chardonnay is one of the most popular wines globally and the third most planted grape variety in New Zealand
  • In 2020, New Zealand produced 27,7568 tonnes of Chardonnay, accounting for 6% of New Zealand’s wine production, exporting over 4.6million litres.
  • 3,222 hectares of Chardonnay grapes are planted around New Zealand; all the way from Auckland to Central Otago. Marlborough has the highest percentage of Chardonnay, followed by Hawke’s Bay, and Gisborne.