Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2007

The second time I flew home from New Zealand this year, I was fortunate in that I was on a nonstop flight back home to California – no stops in Fiji this time! – which meant I was able to grab a few bottles at the airport. The Auckland wine shop isn’t half bad, but the prices are nothing special and they tend not to have particularly interesting wines, but of course compared to Los Angeles it’s a godsend; last time I flew out of LAX, I think I remember seeing Robert Mondavi Coastal Chardonnay for a whopping $25 a bottle. Ouch!As mentioned previously, I was fortunate enough to stop by Neudorf winery last January, where an overwhelmed tasting staff dealing with too many customers towards the end of a day on a holiday weekend graciously put up with my wanting to taste but not buy (due to lack of luggage space on the way back home from vacation). Looking at Neudorf’s Web site I now see that there’s a fancy version of this wine that Bob Campbell and Jancis Robinson really really liked – and of course what I have is “the cheap one,” the less-fancy one relegated to airport wine shops (but apparently not exported to the USA). Operating on the principle that only the very best wineries put out less expensive wines that are worthy of the same name the fancier ones have, let’s see what this wine is like…An absolutely beautifully soft goldish-green in the glass, I’m grateful that they’ve bottled under screwcap so that it made it home safely without turning that awful oxidized golden color. The nose is very, very Burgundian, with a sort of reduced burnt-match smell that’s reminiscent of just a small amount of sulfur. Frankly, it’s mouth-watering. The overall effect is of roasted nuts and straw, with no particular buttered-popcorn notes that would ordinarily mess with California wines at this price point.The entry of the wine is smooth, lush, and full at first, before being briefly – very briefly – overwhelmed by racy acidity that screams New Zealand to me. Quickly, though, it quiets back down into an resolved dance back and forth between the ripe fruit and the supporting acidity, finishing on a lengthy descent through well-grounded notes of roast hazelnuts and fresh stone fruits. It’s all perfect for a summer’s day, somewhat less oppressive than a Meursault with a real sense of lightness and finesse. Finally, I should say that if there’s any wine this reminds me of, it would almost be a riesling from Burgundy (if such a thing existed, of course): the light delicacy of the aromatics is a wonderful match for the acidity and heft of the wine.Really delicious, great value, and beautifully packaged, it’s a bummer this wine doesn’t seem to be easily available locally. If the less fancy wine is this good, I’d love to know what the “really good” one tastes like.Neudorf
Price: NZ $30
Closure: Stelvin

4 thoughts on “Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2007

  1. Hello Chris – glad to hear you enjoyed the Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2007. Note that The Country Vintner has recently taken over from Epic as national US distributor and we DO indeed sell this line as well as the more expensive “Moutere Vineyard” line in the USA. Our distributor in CA is Grape Expecations (email Mike Temple or ph 510.412.5969) and they will have the 2007 available for sale from mid-Sept 2009!

    • Glad to hear it Liz – this is an exceptional bottle of wine from a really unique winery and I’m pleased to hear that future purchase won’t necessarily involve 12-hour-plus flights to Auckland! 🙂

  2. Ah, Neudorf. The first bottle of NZ wine to make me stop and say “I was wrong anbout NZ wine”. It was from Andrew over at The Australian Wine Review. I believe the bet was over a bottle of Yellowtail, but he generously sent me a 2005 Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir instead. Lovely.

    Been meaning to try a Chardonnay from them and this sounds delicious. I’ll try and squeeze it into the next monthly wine budget. Thanks for the TN Chris.



    • Dang, a bottle of the Moutere Pinot Noir? I bet that was lovely!

      For me, the first Kiwi wine that really turned my head was a 1989 Matawhero Bridge Estate I had on vacation in Taupo a decade ago. I had no idea what I was getting into; I had only just begun drinking wine and picked a bottle more or less at random from the huge wine list at The Bach. Of course I couldn’t afford that wine today – it’s now NZ$179 a bottle or something outrageous – but at the time it was keenly priced (especially in US dollars) and oh man, what a wonderful bottle.

      Of course, the bottle of Te Mata Coleraine I brought home turned out to be corked, but hey: you can’t win ’em all!

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