2018 Charteris VanderMark Vineyard Chardonnay - Central Otago
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"Finding a source of Chardonnay grapes in Central Otago is often likened to finding Unicorn poo, improbable and most likely mythical. After our hiatus from Chardonnay since 2014, you can imagine the excitement when our good friend and fellow winemaker, Jen Parr from Valli, mentioned she knew where there was some Chardonnay available. Rob Vandermark has planted a very high elevation site, approximately 400 metres up, facing north on the upper slopes of Bendigo. This was the first crop and Rob has planted wisely with Mendoza, 548 and 809 clones of Chardonnay. While the hot summer threw challenging conditions at vignerons across Central Otago, it was perhaps the elevation of this vineyard that has given us the wine we have. The diurnal variation and cooler daytime temperatures from this stratospheric site have given us another variation to add to that of the season."
A lot like the 2018 summer this wine is straight out of the blocks, abundant and lifted with ripe stone fruit and layers of complexity. Juicy ripe peaches and nectarines straight from the tree and the faint hint of orchard dust on a warm afternoon. Once the sun drenched sepia glow lifts there is complexity and slate, dusty quartz and that ever so subtle sense of glacier dust that you get with proximity to the Southern Alps. Buried deep behind all of this is a very delicate floral Muscat note which is from the 809 clone.
There is a glide to the entry, but some real texture through the mid to finish which keeps the wine structured and persistent. The exit is textured and perhaps even a little staunch at the moment, but that gives presence and power, like Meursault. The acidity is completely woven into the core of the wine giving a subtle resonance.