Felton Road Bannockburn Chardonnay 2022

Felton Road Bannockburn Chardonnay 2022

New Zealand
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75cl * Vegan * Organic * Biodynamic * 13.5% * Central Otago, New Zealand

Slap-bang in the "vinous sweet spot" of Bannockburn in the world’s most southerly winemaking region, Felton Road’s story began with meticulous site selection and vineyard design by Stewart Elms in 1991.

Nigel Greening, a self-described Pinot Noir addict from Devon, who had previously sold his British film production company to plant the Cornish Point Vineyard in Bannockburn, bought Felton Road in 2000. Nigel kept the team in place, including Blair Walter who has made every one of Felton Road’s wines from their very first vintage in 1997. Together with viticulturalist Gareth King, the team promptly embarked on full estate conversion to organic (2002) and then to biodynamic farming, gaining a Demeter certification for all its vineyards in 2010.

Felton Road believes that growth by its own definition is unsustainable and early on Nigel decided that Felton Road would never grow beyond 400 barrels (150,000 bottles). The entire estate totals just 34 hectares across four vineyards, however within this area there are multiple pockets of microclimates and 10 different soil types alone along the 3km length of Felton Road. To preserve the wine's expression of its terroir, the entire estate comes as close to true sustainability as is possible, working with nature using organic treatments, manure and plant cover crops to ensure natural bio-diversity in the vineyards. Low yields are achieved through hand pruning and all picking takes place by hand. In the cellars Burgundian barrels are used for the oak-aged wines and bottling takes place without fining or filtration. A gentle, minimal intervention approach to winemaking is assisted by a three-level gravity-flow winery alongside wild yeast and natural malolactic fermentation.

But to the wine itself: a surprisingly overt nose; citrus flowers, elderflower and crushed stone. The palate is, by contrast, dancing rather than shouting, full of white peach, citrus and florals that weave around a central spine of acid with hints of brioche. No single part dominates, allowing the flavours to all have their spot in the limelight. The dance settles to a seamless saline and mineral finish, pure to the very end. 

Drinking Window: 2022 - 2035

"Intense chardonnay with salty mineral, oyster shell, citrus, white flower and ginger the most prominent flavours in this taut, mouth-watering wine. Impressive purity, high energy and bright acidity with a lingering finish. It gives a nod in the direction of Chablis." 96 Points, Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review

"Made from Cornish Point and Elms fruit. A distant touch of toasted hazelnut is gentle on the nose. Lemon and notes of polenta appear later. The palate seems lithe despite its alcoholic heft of 14%, there seems to be a wonderful translucency that speaks of brilliant sunshine and brisk coolness. Texturally this reveals a light touch and masterful use of oak that allows lemon above all to shine through. Just 5% of oak was new - how beautiful." 93 Points, Anne Krebiehl MW

* Discounts will not be applied as irreplaceable stock *