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The 2015 Craighall Chardonnay offers delicate notes of honeyed white peaches, baking bread and lemon tart with hints of marzipan and orange blossoms. Light to medium-bodied, the palate is elegantly fruited and yet with great intensity and persistence, showing layers of citrus, stone fruit and yeasty flavors plus a lovely floral perfume. Yum! 31/12/16
The Wine Advocate
Ata Rangi’s flagship chardonnay is a rich, creamy, mouth-filling wine with peach, cashew and bran biscuit flavours. Attractive and textural, it has an impressively lingering finish. Hard to resist now but it will age well.
Gourmet Traveller Wine
Soft fragrant, enticing and alluring frangrances of white fleshed peach and nectarine, creamy, soft and rounded textures on the nose, as the wine begins to open up in the glass the gentle spices of oak start to show and increase in volume, a natural harmony between these elements leads to a complex and and generous cresendo. On the palate - dry, fruity, complex, youthful, engaging, lengthy. A delicious wine with power, harmony and youth on its side. Drink now if decanted - otherwise cellar and enjoy from late 2017 through 2022.
Cameron Douglas | MS
Full straw-yellow colour with light golden hues, lighter edged. This has a finely proportioned and tightly bound nose with concentrated, vibrantly rich aromas of ripe yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit harmoniously melded with creamy and nutty barrel-ferment notes and complex, but refines flinty lees and reductive elements, and soft lemon-curd MLF nuances, enriched by toasty oak. This is complex, detailed, layered, exuding vitality. Medium-bodied and elegant in presentation, the palate is taut and tightly bound, unfolding layers of yellow stonefruits, citrus fruits, nutty and toasty oak with nuances of gunflint. The mouthfeel is creamy and seamless from the fruit richness and barrel-ferment, the palate showing refined phenolics and balanced, refreshing acidity. This has excellent linearity, carrying to a very long and sustained stonefruity finish with complexing nutty and flinty detail. This is a beautifully elegant, detailed and complex Chardonnay with richness, intensity and refinement. Serve with seafood, poultry and pork over the next 5-6+ years. Mendoza clone fruit from the ‘Craighall’ vineyard, vines over 30 y.o., hand-picked and WBP, indigenous yeast barrel-fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 25% new barriques with partial MLF.
Raymond Chan Wine Reviews
Supremely elegant and refined, this stylish chardonnay shows delicate aromas of white stone fruit, lemon peel, brioche and vanilla on the nose. The palate is concentrated and focused with silky texture and bright fruit flavours, brilliantly framed by juicy acidity. The wine is restrained and tightly structured, promising to evolve magnificently. A class act as always. At its best: 2018 to 2025.
Taut, elegant chardonnay with grapefruit, tree fruit, white peach, cashew nut, a hint of mineral, reductive character and spicy oak. A youthful wine with restrained power and a lingering finish. Drink 2016 to 2022
This is elegant and seductive, yet there is a powerful engine driving the concentrated fruit and layers of complex flavours. The bouquet is inviting, engaging and intriguing with aromas of white stone fruit, rockmelon, nougat and brioche, with hints of vanilla and cedar. Wonderful weight and harmony. Stunning composure and finish. At its best: 2016 to 2024.
At four-years-old, this is still youthful and poised. The beautifully lifted bouquet shows lemon/lime, nectarine, flint and a hint of toasty notes. It's mouth-wateringly delicious on the palate displaying outstanding concentration, backed by whispering sweetness and racy acidity. At its best: now to 2022.
Classy Chardonnay with roasted chestnut, brioche, mineral, white peach and nectarine flavours that are beautifully integrated. Elegant, powerful and deliciously textural Chardonnay that makes it hard to resist a second glass ... and a third.
Mendoza clone fruit from 30 y.o. vines from the company's 'Craighall' vineyard, hand-picked, WBP and indigenous yeast barrel-fermented with full solids to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 11 months in 25% new French oak barriques with 40% MLF and some batonnage. Full, bright straw-yellow colour with light golden hues, lighter on rim. The nose is elegantly presented with a soft, rich amalgam of ripe yellow stonefruits and savoury citrus fruits harmoniously entwined with layers of creamy, nutty barrel-ferment elements and lemon-curd notes from MLF. The aromatics are delicate and detailed. Medium to medium-full bodied, softly packed and dense flavours of rich, ripe yellow stonefruits are smoothly integrated with nutty, mealy barrel complexities and nutty oak spicing. The mouthfeel is creamy and luscious in texture, with ripe acidity lending vibrancy and energy. The palate features a refined, textural line that carries the wine to a very long and sustained, complex detailed finish featuring citrus and mealy nuances. This is a stylish, rich and creamy Chardonnay with a complex array of flavours and fine textures. Serve with poultry, pork and veal over the next 5-6 years.
Exceptional chardonnay from Ata Rangi's 30-year-old vines, which possesses elegant white peach fruit supported by a rich savoury mealy and brioche-like undercurrent and fine mineral and grapefruit acid.
James Suckling, former editor of Wine Spectator and now wine journo and you-tube enthusiast, rated 2011 Craighall the TOP NZ Chardonnay on his recent NZ tour. He writes "Owner Clive Paton of Ata Rangi is best known for his Pinot Noirs, but his Chardonnays are equally impressive. This is made from 1.5 hectares planted around the town of Martinborough. What a wine! It shows apple pie, mineral, light cream, and mango. Full-bodied, yet agile and exciting with a reserved character at the end. It changes all the time in the mouth and nose. 700 cases made."
Phyll says "Our winemaker Helen Masters is the real guru behind this 2011 - though Clive gets huge credit for planting the vines nearly 30 years ago in a region which at that time was devoid of both grapes and wine.. "
Sourced from old Mendoza clone vines, this flagship Chardonnay from Ata Rangi shows plenty of savoury complexity and layered fruits on the nose and palate. There's peach nougat and a nutty thread here, some sweet melon fruit and a lithe, juicy and pleasantly grippy, tangy finish.
Very light colour; youthful and fresh. Savoury, quite complex but understated and nascent aroma. Not overt or oaky, but superbly harmonised and with no single feature dominating. Taut, dry, savoury and elegant in the mouth, very young and still emerging. A much more delicate, restrained wine than the Petrie. And destined to repay cellaring. Very fine wine. Drink 2013-2021.
Richer and more concentrated than Petrie, its less expensive sister label. The Mendoza clone with its 'hen and chicken' berries contribuites to the wine's intensity, although relatively low-yielding vines play a part. Barrel fermented in Burgundy barriques and aged for nine months with 25% new barrels. Serious and quite complex with layers of white peach, nectarine and grapefruit interwoven with more savoury toasted nut, sizzled butter, bread crust and brioche characters. Powerful but supremely elegant wine.
The 2011 Craighall Chardonnay is made from Mendoza clone fruit harvested from 29-year-old vines and aged in about 25% new oak (300-liter barrels) with 40% of the blend undergoing malo-lactic fermentation. It is more closed than the Petrie and has a bit more tropical fruit character accented with a nice toasty and nutty character, scents of apricots, almonds and a touch of ginger. The medium to full-bodied palate has a lovely satin-like texture that is rich and generously endowed with flavor layers before finishing long. It is approachable now and will drink to 2018+.
Mendoza clone Chardonnay from vines planted in 1983 in the 'Craighall' vineyard, hand-picked, WBP, and fully barrel-fermented with indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months on lees in 25% new French oak barriques. Bright, even straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale edged. The bouquet is reserved and shy, but exudes presence, with brooding and intensely concentrated aromas of citrus fruits, a complex mealy, nutty, fruit and oak amalgam. Nuts and toast elements add detail and interest. Full-bodied, subtly unfolding layers of ripe citrus fruits, nuts, toast and mealy, creamy flavours emerge from a densely packed core. The palate has power and depth and clear potential to reveal much more. Creamy and rich textures from the barrel-ferment are cut by lacy acidity, and the flavours build to blossom on a full, long, ethereal finish with a complex interaction of mealy fruit, nuts and flint. This is a youthfully reserved Chardonnay with great presence and complex flavours that will develop over the next 5-7 years. Akin to a Chassagne-Montrachet. Serve with roasted and grilled seafood, poultry and pork. 19.0-/20.
A focused, precise Chardonnay with right balance between peaches and apricots with minerals and fresh herbs. A lovely Chardonnay that shows potential to age well. Enjoy in 4+ years. 40% went through malo. 25% new oak using 300L barrels for 12 months.
Craighall rates as one of New Zealand's best chardonnays. An equal measure of powerful tree-fruit and white-flower flavours with nut, sizzled butter, bran biscuit and spice characters. Cellar up to 6 years.
Although best known as one of New Zealand’s finest pinot noir producers, Ata Rangi plays a mean hand of Chardonnay too. So delicious right now but full of promise; keep for two to three years to enjoy at its best.
It's a shame in a way that Ata Rangi is such a successful Pinot Noir producer because it sometimes obscures the fact that they consistently make one of the country's best Chardonnays. I love the slightly more fruit-driven Petrie Chardonnay but for sheer complexity, elegance and power it's hard not to put Craighall in the top slot pretty well every year. Impressively layers wine with an equal measure of powerful tree fruit and white flower flavours with nut, sizzled butter, bran biscuit and spice characters. Powerful wine that gets even better with bottle age. 95/100
This review also appeared in the June edition of Kia Ora.
Palate: Reflective of what the nose suggest with medium+ acidity, wild fermentation flavours combine to give a delicious textural wine that maintains its Chardonnay signature as well as an Ata Rangi signature. Long and flavourful finish. 94/100
Brilliant straw-yellow colour with light golden hues, the nose is tightly bound, but shows intense aromas of yellow stonefruits, mealy, nutty, nougat and hints of toast and bacon-like oak that develops in volume in the glass. Dry and initially a little shy, the palate has concentrated ripe stonefruit flavours with mealy, nutty layers and oak toast harmoniously interwoven. The textures are smooth, seamless and fine, and with bright acidity, the wine has energy and drive. The finish is very long, with some alcohol warmth and nutty oak showing. Mendoza clone fruit from vines nearly 30 y.o. from the ‘Craighall’ vineyard on the Martinborough Terrace, hand-picked and WBP, fully barrel-fermented by indigenous yeasts to 13.5% alc., and aged in 25% new French oak barriques, with 40% MLF. This is an elegant and graceful, but concentrated Chardonnay with layers of interest that unfold with breathing. Match with grilled seafood and roasted poultry or pork over the next 4-5 years. 18.5/20
Mendoza clone Chardonnay from the ‘Craighall' vineyard hand-picked and whole bunch pressed, indigenous yeast fermented to 13.5% alc., and aged 9 months in 25% new French oak barriques, 40% of the wine undergoing MLF. Full, even straw-yellow with golden hues to the colour, this has a very full, rich and concentrated bouquet packed with ripe citrus fruit and stonefruit aromas, along with a creamy, spicy malolactic and barrel-ferment amalgam. Layers of nuanced nutty notes unfold in the glass. A rich, concentrated and densely constructed wine, the depth and layers of flavour are the features. Ripe stonefruits, mealiness, nuts and spices merge with seamlessness. Excellent acid freshness is juxtaposed with decadent creamy textures, providing finesse to the impressive presence of the wine. And a long, flavoursome finish highlights the quality here. Serve with rich seafood, pork and veal dishes over the next 4-6 years. 19.5-/20
The flagship chardonnay from Ata Rangi, this is sourced from old Mendoza vines, so expect a powerful wine. The nose has a mix of savoury nuts and nougat across grilled white-peach and nectarine fruits; some creamed honey too. Plenty of acid holds the richness in check right throughout the palate; peach and nougat repeated faithfully here. Long, toasty finish. Impressive. 93/100
This has more power and concentration than the Petrie Chardonnay but with a similar balance of elegant stone- and citrus-fruit flavours with nutty, mealy characters. A balanced, complex chardonnay.
Like the Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay, this has a much funkier nose than the NZ norm. Very substantial, burgundian palate. Lots to get your teeth into here! Yet it is not uncomfortably tart. Just a hint of tangerine. Should have a very long drinking window, 2012 - 2019.
More power and concentration than the less expensive Petrie but with a similar balance of elegant stone and citrus fruit flavours with nutty, mealy characters from oak fermentation and lengthy lees contact. Wonderfully balanced and complex Chardonnay in a supremely elegant style. One of the country's best. 95/100
This memorable Martinborough wine has notable richness, complexity and downright drinkability. From a company-owned block of low-yielding, Mendoza-clone vines in the Craighall Vineyard, planted in 1983, it is hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed and fermented with indigenous yeasts in French oak barriques (typically 25 per cent new). From a 'perfect season for Chardonnay', the 2010 vintage (5*) is a very Meursault-like wine, powerful and youthful, with deep, ripe stone-fruit flavours, good acid spine and a rich, finely poised, lasting finish. Best drinking 2014+.
Toasted hazelnuts with a smokey edge. Very small crop with concentrated flavours of intense mixed nuts, a richness on the palate without heaviness. Layered and not showing its age at all. Can keep/age for another 5+ years.
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