Te Kairanga Chardonany Chardonnay 2014
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Notes by TomJust as with Martinborough’s Sauvignon Blancs their Chardonnays provide the drinker with the ideal goldilocks style between the fresh, crisp Marlborough examples and the rich, textural Hawke’s Bay wines. Te Kairanga finds this happy medium in their Chardonnay and produces a beautifully balanced wine. The wine has been fermented and aged for 10 months in French oak, 20% being in new puncheons (the name for a large barrel twice the size of the traditional cask) , whilst going through a second “fermentation” where the Malic acids are converted to Lactic acid (malolactic fermentation). These winemaking methods help to soften the wine and accentuate the balance between the tropical fruit characters and the more mineral, spicy elements. The flavours found on tasting the wine are plentiful and make for a thoroughly enjoyable drop. Melon and apricot mix with fresh citrus and green apple whilst vanilla, oak and toasted nuts round out the wide ranging flavours. This is a wine that looks great now but will only improve over the next five years as these flavours continue to integrate into something quite special.
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Producer Description View Te Kairanga's website h
Te Kairanga is known locally simply as “TK” and has been at the heart of the Martinborough wine community since very early on, now well into their third decade of winemaking. As is the case with all wineries in the region Pinot Noir is the primary focus but being the largest winery in Martinborough means TK makes a full range of wines and shows why Martinborough should be known for more than just its Pinot Noir. The Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay & Pinot Gris all stand up as great wines in their own right. The Winery has gone through dramatic changes over the past few years after the purchase of the Estate by Bill Foley who has been increasing his presence across New Zealand’s wine industry and investing heavily in upgrading facilities, great news for all involved. At TK in particular they have seen the winery itself go through an extensive upgrade with new equipment on the cutting edge being installed and new winemaker John Kavanagh, of Neudorf fame, has also been installed to oversee a renewed vigour from the brand. He has come at the perfect time with his first vintage in 2013 being one of the greats for the region and followed up with two more near perfect growing seasons. It’s a winery that you may have enjoyed wines from in the past but moved away from as the swath of new brands have swamped the New Zealand market. Well, it’s time to renew that acquaintance, or, for those new to TK, discover some of the country’s great wines.
One of the most versatile varieties, Chardonnay comes sparkled, oaked, unoaked, dry, sweet, aged, young. Its most famous incarnations are those from the Cote du Beaune(oaked) & Chablis(unoaked) in Burgundy as well as being a key component in most Champagnes(sparkling). It has spread across the world and is made in almost every country producing quality wine. Generally cooler climates produce the best examples with fresh citrus and apple notes but warmer climates can produce great Chardonnays as well, tending to be more tropical fruit and buttery in their nature. Some Burgundian Chardonnays are at the top end of the price spectrum for white wine and, to be fair, well worth a bank loan!
Martinborough is the primary region of the Wairarapa and has garnered international acclaim for its Pinot Noir. It is very much a boutique region with 3% of New Zealand’s vines and only 1% of its production. Quality is high across the board due to yielding less wine from more vines. The grapes coming off the vines have great depth of character and show through in the bottle.
The region was planted in 1980 after it was ascertained that the conditions were so Burgundian in nature that it must be the perfect spot to strive to perfect Pinot Noir. They were right.
Over the hill from Wellington, The Wairarapa region benefits from the protection of the Tararua and Rimutaka Ranges. All the rubbish weather that hits the west coast of central New Zealand is stopped in its tracks by these hills and morphs into long sunny summer days which allow the grapes ripen to full effect. The cool evenings also help by keeping the acidity levels up whilst the grapes ripen and sugars increase. Without this geographic impact our wines would turn flabby and decidedly Australian!
This region is Pinot Noir country but you will also find great Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs and Rieslings, among others, emanating from the area.