Discover Cloudy Bay This International Chardonnay Day

A cool-climate Chardonnay showing density, tension and complexity

Discover deliciously savoury Chardonnay from Cloudy Bay, one of the first wineries established in the venerated region of Marlborough and where for more than 35 years, quality has been the winery’s obsession, its hallmark, and its promise. This widespread international aromatic grape variety has proudly been part of the Cloudy Bay portfolio since 1986, becoming the Estate’s second wine to be presented, after Sauvignon Blanc.

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay is an equal representation of the region’s two soil types, stony and clay, with ripe stone fruit characteristics coming from the former and the latter imbuing citrus-focused elegance. When young, this wine is vibrant and intense and in time takes on more savoury aspects, melding the fruit core with notes of grilled nuts and brioche, as well as spice. Cloudy Bay Chardonnay can be cellared for up to 10-15 years.

The 2019 Chardonnay is immediately fragrant and attractive on the nose, redolent of orchard fruit, white peach, apricot, blossom and warm hay. The palate is concentrated and mouth-watering, notes of apple and pear, balanced by gentle vanilla spice, hazelnut and a subtle saline note. Freshened by a dart of citrus acidity, the finish is long and appealing.

Cloudy Bay’s Chardonnay vineyards are planted both on the warm, stony alluvial soils of the central Wairau river valley, and on the cooler clay soils found in the Southern Valleys. These differences in soil type allow us to create different expressions of the grape variety, which build together to give a complete and balanced wine. 

The 2019 season started with an early budburst after a mild winter and warm early spring. Cool and unsettled weather came through the region in late Spring, around the time of flowering, leading to lower yields than average. This unsettled weather continued through December but was replaced after Christmas with consistent conditions. A period of warm and dry weather extended all the way into harvest, allowing fruit to ripen evenly on the vines. Canopy work was undertaken to ensure the bunches received optimum levels of exposure to allow full flavour development, with the resulting fruit proving concentrated and complex, before being hand-picked from March 9th until March 30th, at a point of excellent flavour concentration and acid balance.

After gentle pressing, the juice was transferred to French oak barriques of which 20% were new. Half of the batches were put to barrel with full solids (without racking). After fermentation, the wine rested in barrel for 11 months before blending. 21% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation. The finished wine shows a pH of 3.05, TA of 6.53 g/L and alcohol of 13.4%.

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2019, RRP €42.70, is available nationwide from independent stockists including Higgins Clonskeagh Dublin, Foleys Sligo, O’Driscolls Cork and from select O’Briens Wine and Donnybrook Fair stores.

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