New Zealand Wines - If Burgundy is your reference point for Chardonnay then you won’t be disappointed

New Zealand wines shot to fame during the late 1980s and through the 1990s with their intensely aromatic and pungent Sauvignon Blanc, packed with tropical fruit and gooseberry flavour, dry and fresh in style which has remained enduringly popular.


The pioneering region for this wine was Marlborough, spearheaded by the iconic Cloudy Bay. This is New Zealand’s largest wine region comprising two key valleys, Wairau and Awatere, each a large, flat river plain. There is one hillside vineyard that merits particular attention.

The Clayvin Vineyard was first planted in 1991 and was the first hillside vineyard to be cultivated in this region. It is located on the north facing slopes of the Brancott Valley (a tributary valley to Wairau) and the vineyard takes its name from the clay based soil profile that lies beneath this special site.

Stunning Scenery

Our 2012 The Fuder, Clayvin Chardonnay, Giesen, Marlborough is a brilliant reflection of this vineyard (and also shows that there is much more to New Zealand’s wines than a ‘sauv-alanche’.  The name ‘The Fuder’ takes its name from the 1000 litre German oak barrels in which this wine is aged. The benefit of this is that the ratio of wine in contact with the barrel surface is less than smaller barrels so oak pick up is less. In addition the staves of the barrel are thicker which means the temperature of ferment tends to be warmer and as a result the fruit characters gain greater depth and complexity. Furthermore, the surface area of settled yeast on the bottom of the barrel to wine is higher so the effect of time maturing on yeast lees has a greater impact on the wine, influencing the texture of the mouth feel and complexity of flavour.

If Burgundy is your reference point for Chardonnay then you will not be disappointed. (It was highly recommended as a Chardonnay to try from outside Burgundy by Decanter Magazine, March 2015). The profile of this wine is not dissimilar to a Burgundy – orchard and stone fruit (pear, peach, apricot and nectarine) with a good underlying acidity/freshness and a sleek, focused structure. The New Zealand aspect of this wine is the bright, vivid and ripe, succulent expression of the fruit.

Published on 05/10/2015 / By Adrian Heaven