Villa Maria Keltern Chardonnay 2022


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“The Chardonnay Keltern is Villa Maria’s iconic Chardonnay, but in 2022, it’s not quite in top form. There’s substance in its core and the fruit is well handled, offering clarity and precision. It offers a combination of acidity and phenolics that create power and structure on the finish. However, having picked earlier than normal, it somewhat lacks the flavor development and richness we’ve become accustomed to. There’s no change in the oak regime, but it feels a little overt compared to the fruit weight in this vintage and the integration is not quite there. Maybe time will help? It’s still a wine that has depth and texture, but we’ve come to expect so much from this cuvée that when it’s not singing, we’re looking to find faults. Many New Zealand wineries can only dream of achieving this quality in a good vintage, let alone a challenging one. Drinking window: 2024-2030. 91 points

With the latest releases, Villa Maria introduces two new cuvées. The most impressive is the Sauvignon Blanc Woven, an ambitious, wild-fermented, wood-fermented, lees-aged expression. The first vintage is 2021. There is also a new single-vineyard cuvée from Marlborough’s Waihopai Valley, the Sauvignon Blanc Bankhouse, which hails from the 2022 vintage – thus, judgment is better passed when a kinder vintage comes along. The 2023s are certainly a relief to taste after the 2022s, and the Sauvignon Blanc Reserve Clifford Bay always seems to deliver. The flagship Chardonnay, Keltern, from the Hawke’s Bay region, is usually one to savor, and while it has done its best in 2022, it doesn’t quite hit top form.”

Rebecca Gibb, Vinous (04/24)