The Chardonnay Masters – Asia 2020, which took place at Mr Wolf restaurant in Hong Kong’s Central district, saw a panel of five expert judges blind-taste more than 30 Chardonnays. The results showed that the wines on offer were diverse with attractive qualities.
One of the most widely planted grape varieties in the world, Chardonnay is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Versatile in style, the wine can pair well with an array of cuisines.
“Generally, it is smooth and gentle, with an aromatic profile that varies according to the region and climate where it is grown. In terms of the use of oak, over oaked Chardonnay is no longer the mainstream; instead, winemakers are using it in moderation to give their wines a buttery mouthfeel and toasty vanilla aromas,” said Zachary Yu, sommelier and director of SommTech.
The competition celebrated Wakefield Taylors One Giant Leap Chardonnay 2018, whih achieved the top accolade of a Master medal in the competiion. Judged in the Oaked Under HK$100 category, the wine offered exceptional value for its price point.
“The expression is very fresh with a bouquet of beautiful floral and citrus notes; the profile is very well balanced, especially the oak. With this price tag, the wine is a great surprise,” said Tersina Shieh, an experienced wine judge and marketer.
The overall 2018 vintage in South Australia’s Clare Valley was warm and dry. The weather was relatively calm and winemakers were spared from major heatwaves, resulting in the highly aromatic wines with very pure and distinct characteristics.
Two of the estate’s other Chardonnays, namely Wakefield Taylors Jaraman Chardonnay 2018 and Wakefield Taylors St Andrews Chardonnay 2018, were also recognised with Silver medals in the competition.
Margaret River estate Vasse Felix is another Australian winery the judges raved about in the competition, as it scooped two Gold medals. In the Oaked HK$151-200 category, Vasse Felix ‘Filius’ Chardonnay 2018 caught the panel’s attention due to its “elegant, juicy, generous, lingering and highly drinkable” profile, according to Yu.
Meanwhile, moving up to the price bracket between HK$301-500, Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2018 was another high performer. Anty Fung, a wine specialist and manager of Hip Cellar, said, “the wine shows great finesse. It has good tension, mineral structure and a long finish.”
The competition also proved that Sauvignon Blanc powerhouse, Marlborough in New Zealand, boasts equally outstanding Chardonnay production. Marisco Vineyards Craft Series ‘The Pioneer’ Chardonnay 2016 picked up a Gold medal in the Oaked HK$201-300 flight.
Shieh found it to be “a pleasant wine with a nice blend of fruit and oak flavours and good acidity”. Hailing from the same region, Leefield Station Chardonnay 2018 took home a Silver medal for achieving “a good balance of oak, fruit and creaminess”, according to Yu.
Again from the same price range, another highlight of the competition was a Gold medal winning Bourgogne Blanc by Francois Labet, one of the region’s pioneers of organic viticulture. The panel was impressed by the performance of Francois Labet Vieilles Vignes Chardonnay 2018.
Eva Ma, senior marketing executive of EMW Fine Wines, said, “The nose is so complex, which unveils hints of chestnuts and smokiness. On palate, it exudes a sweet flavour with much freshness.”
Greek wine is on the rise around the world and the country never ceases to surprise drinkers with its continually improving quality. Bearing a price tag between HK$100-150, Alpha Estate Ecosystem Chardonnay Tramonto 2018 impressed our judges.
“I am captivated by the palate, which offers notes of Meyer lemon, orange peel and yuzu. It’s a very perfumed Chardonnay with impressive palate weight and a refreshing finish. It’s an excellent wine that offers great value,” said one of our judges.
The panel also enjoyed some exciting discoveries from regions that aren’t well-known for Chardonnay, such as Barkan Vineyards Classic Chardonnay 2019 from Israel, which offered pretty lemon and white flower aromatics.
Another appealing expression was Emiliana Gamma Reserva Chardonnay 2019 from Chile, liked by Shieh for its intense acidity and juciness; and Cavit Maso Torsella Chardonnay Trentino Superiore DOC 2019 from Trentino in Italy, which hooked Ma with its perfumed nose and balanced structure. The comeption highlighted that there are great value Chardonnays being made around the world to suit all palates.
|Barkan Vineyards||Classic Chardonnay||Judean Hills||Israel||2019||Bronze|
|Viñedos Emiliana S.A.||O Reserva Chardonnay||Casablanca Valley||Chile||2019||Bronze|
|Viñedos Emiliana S.A.||Gamma Reserva Chardonnay||Casablanca Valley||Chile||2019||Silver|
|Marisco Vineyards Ltd||The Ned Chardonnay, 10.99 – Marlborough, New Zealand||Marlborough||New Zealand||2018||Bronze|
|Marisco Vineyards Ltd||Leefield Station Chardonnay||Marlborough||New Zealand||2018||Silver|
|Wakefield / Taylors||Taylors One Giant leap Chardonnay||Clare Valley||Australia||2018||Master|
|Alpha Estate||Ecosystem Chardonnay Tramonto||Florina||Greece||2018||Gold|
|Cavit s.c.||Maso Torsella Chardonnay Trentino Superiore Doc||Trentino||Italy||2017||Silver|
|Australian Vintage||McGuigan Cellar Select Chardonnay||Adelaide Hills||Australia||2019||Bronze|
|Wakefield / Taylors||Taylor Made Chardonnay French Oak||Clare Valley||Australia||2018||Bronze|
|Wakefield / Taylors||Taylors Wakefield Jaraman Chardonnay||Clare Valley||Australia||2018||Silver|
|Australian Vintage||McGuigan Shortlist Chardonnay||Adelaide Hills||Australia||2018||Silver|
|Australian Vintage||Nepenthe Pinnacle Ithaca Chardonnay||Adelaide Hills||Australia||2018||Bronze|
|Treasury Wine Estate||Penfolds Bin311 Chardonnay||Tumbarumba||Australia||2017||Silver|
|Vasse Felix||Vasse Felix ‘Filius’ Chardonnay||Margaret River||Australia||2018||Gold|
|Vasse Felix||Vasse Felix Estate Chardonnay||Margaret River||Australia||2018||Bronze|
|Wakefield / Taylors||Taylors Wakefield St Andrews Chardonnay||Clare Valley||Australia||2018||Silver|
|Australian Vintage||Tempus Two Pewter Chardonnay||Hunter Valley||Australia||2018||Bronze|
|Australian Vintage||Tempus Two Pewter Chardonnay||Hunter Valley||Australia||2019||Silver|
|Australian Vintage||McGuigan Personal Reserve HR Chardonnay||Trentino||Italy||2018||Bronze|
|Francois Labet||Francois Labet Bourgogne Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes||Bourgogne||France||2018||Gold|
|Marisco Vineyards Ltd||Marisco Vineyards Craft Series ‘The Pioneer’ Chardonnay,||Marlborough||New Zealand||2016||Gold|
|Vasse Felix||Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay||Margaret River||Australia||2018||Gold|
|Vina Concha y Toroa||Concha y Toro Amelia Chardonnay||Casablanca Valley||Chile||2018||Bronze|