Established in 1987 by the Hay brothers, our relationship with Chard Farm goes back over 20 years and is one we hold dear. Somewhere I always try and pop in to when I’m down that way. It was great last Friday to be able to visit with three of our team. For all of the team it was their first visit to Chard Farm, though I’m confident it won’t be their last. We were also reminded just how small the New Zealand wine industry is when introduced to the assistant winemaker, who last year worked for us in retail at Glengarry Victoria Park.
We tasted through the whole range, a great way to remind oneself of the quality produced as well as see in context the new wines. The Pinot Gris Sur Lie was first off the rank, a wonderfully expressive Pinot Gris with impressive texture and a crisp clean finish. The Rieslings, Chard Farm Riesling and Chard Farm Vipers Riesling, both impressive, low abv and higher RS with beautiful balance.
Judge and Jury was once again a highlight for me, though I would say I found the 2016 tighter in structure than this wine used to be, consistent with trends in NZ Chardonnay. This change in direction suits the fruit and this would have to be one of the best Judge and Jury I can remember.
Relatively new to the Pinot Noir range is the Mason Vineyard Pinot Noir. This is off the property that used to be owned by Mark Mason, most recently of Quest vineyards. This site and the fruit it produces have always been some of the very best from Central. Whilst there has been a Chard Farm Mark 2 Pinot Noir for a while now, the name has changed to Mason, following Rob Hay’s purchase of the whole site. The 2015 Mason Vineyard is very smart indeed. 100% fruit off this single vineyard, aged in 20% new oak, 20% second fill and the balance neutral. 25% whole bunch in the ferment. Chard Farm’s expression from this vineyard has always been one of my favourites (Quest and Burn Cottage had been taking fruit off the site too), and it’s going to be exciting to see where Chard Farm take this vineyard in the future.