Chardonnay, Nelson

Chardonnay is planted in almost every region in the world and makes a wide variety of wine styles from light-bodied, crisp and unoaked through to full-bodied, complex barrel matured versions. Chardonnay is an adaptable variety and can be grown in cool regions as well as warm areas. It is a productive, early budding and early ripening variety.

Chardonnay first came to Australia in the 1920s but didn’t find popularity until the 1970s. Grown all across the country the cool climate versions (like found in the Yarra Valley and Tasmania) tend to be lighter in body with higher acidity and more subtle flavours. Warm climate versions (found in Margaret River, Hunter Valley and the Adelaide Hills) tend to be more full-bodied with richer, riper fruit and bolder flavours.
Nelson is nestled on the top end of the South Island, two hours to the west of its famous neighbour Marlborough. The wineries are mostly located on the plains, southwest of the town of Nelson, and up on the hills of Upper Moutere.

The region receives a lot more rain than its neighbour Marlborough, however also receives enough sunshine to balance out the rainfall. Nelson’s northern exposure gives it more second highest total hours of sunshine in the whole country. The soil structure tends to clay loams over hard clay subsoils.

Heavier reds like Cabernet Sauvignon don’t do so well in Nelson, where lighter reds like Pinot Noir and even Montepulciano have had more success. In the whites, Chardonnay of very high quality is being produced, with lesser amounts of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chenin Blanc are also cultivated.

Although it is one of the smaller wine regions, the fact that you can visit most of the wineries in a single day is a bonus!
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  1. Neudorf Tiritiri Chardonnay 2019
    The inaugural Tiritiri Chardonnay comes from three sites within the Moutere Hills, including the young vines of Neudorf’s own Rosie’s Block. Drinking this wine suggests to me what it might be like to surf those waves off Raglan. ... Learn More
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    Mark Faber
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