The meteoric rise in popularity of New Zealand’s style of bold, pungent and refreshing sauvignon blanc made the country a star in the international wine world. Now considered New Zealand’s flagship grape, sauvignon blanc accounts for more than 85 percent of the country’s total wine exports. However, sauvignon blanc is so closely associated with New Zealand that it often overshadows other delicious white wines produced there including chardonnay. The following wines are fine examples of two different styles of New Zealand chardonnay that are well worth trying.
Nobilo 2016 Chardonnay, Marlborough, New Zealand
Bought • Schnucks, 8800 Manchester Road, in March for $12.99
Description • This lively, unoaked chardonnay comes from Nobilo Wine Group, named after its late founder Nikola Nobilo, who was among the pioneers of New Zealand’s modern wine industry that began in the 1970s. Crisp and refreshing, this is a light- to medium-bodied white that tastes of pineapple and other tropical fruits along with citrus and herbaceous notes. A perfect springtime wine, this quaffable white can be sipped on its own or as a pair with seafood, salads and other light fare.
Kim Crawford 2016 Chardonnay, New Zealand
Bought • Sam’s Club, 2100 Maplewood Commons Drive, in March for $12.96
Description • Fans of New Zealand sauvignon blanc are probably familiar with the name Kim Crawford, the winery’s founder and former owner who helped make his country’s style of sauvignon blanc an international sensation. Like the Nobilo, the Kim Crawford chardonnay is unoaked, but this white is bigger in body, flavor and complexity. Tasting of juicy stone fruit and lemon, this aromatic white has a rich mouthfeel. It would go well with seafood in cream sauces, salmon and chicken.
Follow Gail on Twitter @GailAppleson.