Villa Maria Keltern Chardonnay 2021


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“Cuddling skinny people is no fun at all. I wouldn’t want to hug me – there’s nothing to get hold of, but the 2021 Chardonnay Keltern has curves in all the right places and plenty of substance to hold on to in its middle. Sumptuous is probably a good word to describe the ripe and creamy, full body but don’t get the impression this is a soft pudding of a wine. Its rich power is held like a vice, keeping its shape and allowing for a firm, almost relentless finish. In the elite of New Zealand Chardonnays, the 2021 proves it rightly deserves its place. Drinking window: 2022-2032. 96 points

Founded by Sir George Fistonich in 1961, Villa Maria has since become one of the country’s biggest and most recognized wine brands. It has been close to Auckland airport since its inception, but it has vineyards in several regions, including Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne. While it produces vast quantities of unexciting, supermarket-bound Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, its single-vineyard efforts are often benchmarks, whether it’s Taylor’s Pass, Keltern Chardonnay or Ngakirikiri Cabernet. The stable of brands also includes Hawke’s Bay’s Esk Valley and Leftfield. Villa Maria is now owned by Indevin. Watching what happens with the brand and wine quality will be interesting.”

Rebecca Gibb, Vinous (04/23)