Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Editor at Snooth Happy to answer all your wine related questions.

Top New Zealand Chardonnay 2012

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Millton Chardonnay Gisborne Opou (2010)
Comments: Sweet and honied on the nose and dripping with pear fruit framed by light butterscotch and toasted almond notes, with hints of pollen and dried pressed flowers. Rather light-bodied at first with a touch of tannin adding texture to the mid-palate. showing fine apple fruit with a hint of honey. There is lovely clarity and brightness to the fruit, though the back end does show a riper side to this with hints of quince paste that appear on the finish as well. 91pts
Average price: $29.99 from 1 store
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2 Neudorf Chardonnay Moutere (2010)
Comments: This is low and tight on the nose with slow to emerge notes of almond husk, dried apple fruit and a touch of toffee. The aromas are gentle but distinct and well-balanced, lending this a fine, elegant feel. In the mouth this is bright with real verve and energy. The oak is prominent but well integrated, with fruit that remains very much in the citrus end of the spectrum, adding resin and stony notes on the finale with just a soft suggestion of vanilla. This is intensely flavored in a sort of extracted way, but the texture ends up feeling so polished, round and frankly airy. Really a superb wine. 95pts
Previously available for $30.88
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3 Felton Road Chardonnay Central Otago Elms Bannockburn Vineyard (2010)
Comments: Clean and light on the nose with a gentle blanket of barrel fermented aromas covering elegant stone fruits with soft mineral edges. Round, juicy and fresh on the palate in a generally lean style which really finds a happy medium between fruit and mineral. There’s firm if airy structure here and gentle toasty biscuit accents on the back end, adding detail to the sweet apple fruit on the finish. The finish is quite strong here, zesty and sapid with a touch of cleansing tannin. This is a baby with a bright future. 92pts
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4 Escarpment Chardonnay Martinborough (2010)
Comments: The nose here is quite savory, starting off with some gentle toast notes and a fine edge of fresh nuttiness reminding me of pignoli. There’s some aromatic butcher’s wax and a hint of pollen that accents the dry, soft peachy fruit on the nose. This is very light on the palate, showing an early bit of nuttiness and a stony texture under the cut orchard pie fruits. This is youthful, almost a bit mean, but it’s remarkably clear and pure with a long, lemon pith/lemon oil note on the chalky, almost dry woody finish. I could drink this all night. 92pts
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5 Pyramid Valley Vineyards Chardonnay Field of Fire (2009)
Comments: This opens with a distinct note of boiled peanuts on the nose, joined by layers of floral, honeycomb and heirloom apple fruit aromas. In the mouth this shows super fine balance, with light honey and toasted almond accents framing the core of clear orchard fruit. Very transparent feeling with fine depth to the zesty mineral and fruit flavors. Bright acid on the back end drives the lovely, vibrant finish, showing a little spice and lingering lemon verbena aromas. 92pts
Previously available for $46.95
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6 Kumeu River Chardonnay Kumeu Mate's Vineyard (2009)
Comments: Aromatic and slightly spicy on the nose with a touch of honied character, candy corn and preserved lime fruit. Very round and supple in the mouth, though with bright acids supporting a very fine mineral, toffee almond, dried citrus and touch of pineapple core of fruit. Turns a bit more toffeed and nutty on the finish which also shows vibrant acids and mineral cut. Nice finale of pithy almost grapefruit character. More Burgundian, there' s something innately Burgundian about this wine. Very clear finish bit of spice on finale. 93pts
Previously available for $38.98
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7 Felton Road Chardonnay Central Otago Block 2 (2010)
Comments: Light, leesy nose that offers gentle wood spice along with bright notes of crystalline citrus fruit. Right off the bat this shows fine cut on the palate and a wonderfully pure expression of lime fruit accented with a touch of peachy sweetness. This remains very fresh with a lovely, dry fruit character and aromatic notes of acacia on the palate. There’s some dusty limestone on the finish, which shows fine length and firm, clear, notes of lacy fruit recalling crisp white peach, slightly creamy lime pith and a touch of pineapple on the finale. Today I prefer this to the Bannockburn, but it does lack some of that wine’s focus and tension. 93pts
Previously available for $57.99
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8 Kumeu River Chardonnay Hunting Hill (2009)
Comments: Tight on the nose, reticent at first, with a touch of lip balm and some early berried fruit. This shows huge intensity as it rolls out across the palate with richness and depth, but it remains transparent. There is lovely intensity of pollen, apricot, apple and gentle wood tones, then lemon curd on the mid-palate. Huge length on the finish, which shows mineral, spice and orchard fruit flavors and a huge mineral finale. Awesome wine. 95pts
Average price: $38.79 from 8 stores
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