Church Road TOM Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2019
2019 was another great growing season in Hawke's Bay. A warm summer with reasonably regular rainfall saw vines enter a very dry harvest period in good condition that allowed for quick, even ripening. The harvest period itself was incredibly benign with next to no rainfall and warm, dry days. Vines were trained to two cane VSP, with an average vine age of around 16 years.
We employed extensive shoot and fruit thinning where required, along with bunch positioning, de-clumping, close canopy trimming and 70% removal of leaf through the fruit zone, to ensure a balanced, evenly spaced and well exposed crop.
Hand-harvested and hand-sorted, the fruit was gently whole-bunch pressed directly to French oak barriques without any clarification or additions. Wild primary and malolactic fermentation ensued, and has delivered an extra degree of complexity, textural interest and provided an excellent natural acid balance.
31% new oak was used to further enhance the depth of the wine without dominating the fruit. The wine was matured on full yeast lees in barrel approximately 11 months with only occasional yeast lees stirring. To avoid any unnecessary stripping effect, the wine was unfined an only lightly filtered for clarity prior to bottling.
95 points, Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier