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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 lime-tinted gold hue in the glass, the nose offers an enticing and exotic mix with aromas of ripe stonefruit, fresh lemon and warm brioche, complemented by underlying notes of spicy oak. The palate is generous and silky initially then the long line of concentration and natural acidity leads to a sustained and elegant 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, 2022

Vineyards and Winemaking

Spring conditions in Hawkes Bay started off fairly cool until November then the season warmed significantly resulting in a solid flowering in Chardonnay. The season had tracked warmer than the previous three vintages in terms of Growing Degree Days which saw good ripeness and flavour accumulating in the Chardonnay grapes.

A significant rain effect in the form of an ex-Tropical low on February 6 followed by more rain a week later saw disease pressure increase in Hawkes Bay Chardonnay vineyards which had ripened early due to the warm season. To ensure clean fruit, the 2022 Chardonnay harvest was off to another early start with Keltern vineyard picking starting in earnest on the 24th of February, only 2 days later than the record early start of the 2021 vintage. Careful hand-harvesting and sorting of fruit enabled a minimal intervention winemaking approach, allowing Keltern’s unique characteristics to shine.

Soils And Viticulture

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 2022 Keltern Chardonnay is from a single block of Cl15 vines that are 11 years old.

Gorgeously seductive and enticing, the wine shows white flesh stone fruit, nougat, hazelnut, brioche and lemon peel nuances on the nose. The palate exhibits outstanding concentration and focus, wonderfully complemented by plush texture and perfectly pitched acidity. Seamless and symphonic with an impressively long, gratifying finish. - 97 points

Sim Kim | Wine Orbit

Hawkes Bay

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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