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VillaMaria Keltern Vineyard
VillaMaria ICON Keltern HawkesBay Chardonnay NV


Keltern Chardonnay

With an incredible track record of awards and accolades, the Keltern Vineyard has truly established itself as one of New Zealand’s premier sites for Chardonnay. Displaying a brilliant straw and lime tinted hue in the glass, the nose offers a fragrant and complex medley of white nectarine and gun smoke, complemented by underlying notes of flint and toast. A sleek, tightly woven palate gradually unfolds, leading to a finish with genuine length and class.

Tasting Notes

Displaying a brilliant straw and lime-tinted hue in the glass, the nose offers a fragrant and complex medley of ripe melon, citrus blossom and nougat, complemented by underlying notes of grilled nuts. The palate is generous and mouthfilling initially then the long line of concentration and natural acidity leads to a sustained and powerful finish. This wine will develop further complexity, mineral and toast like characters with careful cellaring.

Download full tasting notes for details on individual vintages:  201220152016201720182019, 2020, 2021

Vineyards and Winemaking

Located east of the Maraekakaho region in Hawkes Bay, directly in the path of cool air currents flowing from a mountain range to the west, the Keltern Vineyard is an inland site, buffered by the Ngaruroro River. Established on an ancient riverbed planted in 1999, the vineyard has silt loams layered over red metals, including large free-draining gravel stones.

The Keltern vineyard contains vines that range in age up to 21 years, mainly cl15, cl95 and cl548, and vines for the Single Vineyard bottling at maturity are pruned and thinned to one bunch per shoot to target 7T/Ha. The parcel used for the 2021 Keltern Chardonnay is a single block of Cl15 vines that are 10 years old.

Soils And Viticulture

Warm spring conditions in Hawkes Bay resulted in an early flowering in Chardonnay which set the tone for the rest of the hot, dry summer as the regular viticulture milestones of the growing season all ticked by earlier than normal. Seasonal data indicated a growing season similar to 2020 at 1360 GDD’s and similar rainfall with the only difference the warmth of early spring in the 2021 season. Both vintages are cooler than 2018 and 2019 but still above the long-term average of 1303 GDD’S.

The 2021 Chardonnay harvest was off to a record early start with Keltern vineyard picking starting in earnest on the 22nd of February, our earliest harvest date yet. Hand harvesting of pristine fruit enabled a minimal intervention winemaking approach, allowing Keltern’s unique characteristics to shine.

Keltern Chardonnay through the years

VillaMaria SV Keltern Chardonnay 2020 

2020 Vintage

Fantastic bouquet with piercing aromas of ripe tone fruits and gun-flint, fresh white fleshed orchard fruits, fine new barrel scents and soft baking spice moments. Complex, detailed and seductive. Even better on the palate with a pure fruit core showcasing flavours of grapefruit and stone fruits, citrus pith and wet pebble minerality. Fine tannins and plenty of acidity, a youthful complex and vibrant example.

97 Points

Cameron Douglas

Villa Maria Keltern Chardonnay 2019 1 

2019 Vintage

Expressing precision and place, as well as sophistication and grace, this sublime chardonnay shows nectarine, fig, lemon zest, nougat and roasted hazelnut characters on the nose with a subtle nuance of brioche. It’s impressively concentrated on the palate, displaying outstanding depth and persistency gorgeously framed by bright acidity, leading to a prolonged, seamless finish. Impeccably styled with exceptional clarity as well as tantalising complexity. At its best: 2024 to 2034.

98 Points

Sam Kim

VillaMaria Keltern Chardonnay 2018 

2018 Vintage

Stunning and elegant, this is exquisitely composed and expressed on the nose showing white flesh nectarine, grapefruit, fig and lemon pith characters with nuances of spicy oak and flint. The palate exhibits exceptional concentration and focus, wonderfully enhanced by refined texture and perfectly pitched acidity. It’s splendidly poised and brilliantly structured for a long haul. At its best: 2022 to 2030.

97 Points

Sam Kim

VillaMaria SV KelternVineyard Chardonnay 2017

2017 Vintage

Floral, flinty, fragrant, complex and enticing bouquet. Aromas and flavours of white-fleshed fruits, oak and wood spice. White peach and red apple, gun metal and flint, stones and tannin textures. A delicious wine with tension, poise and length. Drink now and through 2030.

95 Points

Cameron Douglas

VillaMaria SV KelternVineyard Chardonnay 2016

2016 Vintage

There's just the right amount of flint and butter in this round and full bodied, powerful Chardonnay but it's not big nor fat. It remains compact in the mouth with plenty of precision on the finish. Very classy.

94 Points

Rebecca Gibb MW

VillaMaria SV KelternVineyard Chardonnay NV 1

2015 Vintage

Grown at the Keltern Vineyard, a warm, inland site east of Maraekakaho, this consistently impressive wine is hand-picked, fermented with indigenous yeasts and lees-aged in French oak barriques (35 per cent new in 2015). Powerful, with youthful, vibrant, citrusy, peachy flavours, well-integrated oak and a long finish, the 2015 vintage (5*) has slightly smoky notes adding complexity. Weighty, fresh, intense and tightly

5 Stars

Michael Cooper

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