New Wine Release: Clone 95 Chardonnay
Whether you’re a wine geek or just a lover of white wine varietals, our newly-released China Terrace 95 Chardonnay is something you won’t want to miss.
For the casual wine drinkers out there, you’ll love this wine’s cool-edged clarity and precision. The nose, while restrained, has a very complex array of white blossom and citrus delicately punctuating more nutty and savoury tones. In short, it’s crisp, delicious and easy to drink, very easy.
For the more astute wine connoisseurs out there, you can also appreciate this wine as prime example of terroir. It was handcrafted using not just fruit from a single vineyard but also a single clone, 95, growing in our China Terrace vineyard located in the Bendigo subregion of Central Otago. With exposure to the sun and prevailing westerlies, this fruit is especially good and the wine that comes from it is punctuated with fine acidity, fresh-lined structure and a long minerality.
We have Allan Clarke of the New Zealand Grape Wine Improvement Group (NZGVIG) to thank for this fine French clone. He imported it in 1988 for renowned Professor Raymond Bernard, who was affiliated with the Dijon Office National Interprofessional des Vines (ONIVINS). This registered Burgundy clone is known for producing wines that are full, rich and balanced with fine aromas.
Its integration into the winemaking world in both the U.S. and New Zealand helped increase the clonal diversity of Chardonnay plant material for the benefit of winemakers and more importantly those of us who love drinking it.
Behind the vines
Gently-sloped on the lower edge of a large terrace (named China Terrace), our China Terrace vineyard is home to both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. With an altitude of more than 320m, it retains a coolness relative to Bendigo’s natural warmth. This, combined with the complex accumulation of loess, clay and schist in the soil results in wines with fresh, bright complexity.
With all of our single vineyard wines our focus is always to showcase our unique and spectacular vineyards and the varietal. We employ traditional winemaking methods to preserve all of the subtle nuances that make this region so special.
All of the fruit is encouraged to ripen evenly and handpicked early when flavours are in the citruc/peach/mineral spectrum. From there our methods are simple. The fruit is very gently pressed to a maximum yield of 500L/tonne, then sent immediately to barrel on full solids for fermentation.
Fermentation and MLF (90%) are indigenous. We use a mixture of barriques and puncheons to moderate the oak influence. About 25 percent new oak is used. The wine spent 12 months in oak and a further 10 months in bottle before it was released.
Aroma and palate
Most wine drinkers expect to taste something with a lot of oak influence when sipping Chardonnay, but that isn't the case with our new China Terrace 95. This Chardonnay is pale straw in colour and bright. On the palate there is a thread of acidity that flicks energy through the lattice of clear cut fruit. With immaculate poise, it threads an intense, crisply mineral path through the end. Barrel funk and creaminess play in quite support.