Thirsty Thirty-Something Thursday #7 – New Zealand

Me with Kevin Judd in fall 2014

Me with Kevin Judd in fall 2014

After a one week hiatus, Thirsty is back with a Chardonnay selection from New Zealand. While New Zealand is more known for their grassy, gooseberry, cats pee Sauvignon Blancs, there are some fantastic Chardonnays coming from both Marlborough and Waipara specifically.  The cool climate of New Zealand certainly helps in producing good fruit for good quality wine. This weeks instalment is from Greywacke in the Marlborough region. Owner and winemaker Kevin Judd is no stranger to winemaking. His career is intrinsically linked to the famous style of New Zealand wines. After 20 plus years as chief winemaker for Cloudy Bay, Kevin started his own project called Greywacke, named after the rocks found in the area. Not his signature wine (that’d be the Wild Sauvignon Blanc), but nonetheless fabulous, made with wild yeasts. Many winemakers use specific strains of yeast (in packages) because they impart certain flavours into wines, but ambient yeasts occur naturally in the vineyards on the grape skins, and in the air. Fermentation occurs naturally.  This is not a process for the impatient though! Kevin leaves his wines through the winter, where they go through a dormant stage of not doing anything. It’s during this time, that all the little “creatures” are there giving all sorts of flavour to the wine, creating complexities towards the finished product, and in the spring with warmer weather, the ferment resumes.  This is otherwise known as “spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation”. Not only that, the wine undergoes complete malolactic fermentation (MLF), as well as occasional lees stirring.  So what does all of this give us in the end? An outstanding Chardonnay with a nose of fig, brioche, baked apple and pear along with a full mouthfeel of rich brioche, cinnamon and figs. Yum!

And all of this squeaking in under the wire at $39.95.

Cin Cin!

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