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WINE OF THE WEEK: Elephant Hill Chardonnay 2016, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

£19.95, Corney & Barrow

Elephant Hill Chardonnay

Much as I love discovering quirky, unsung grape varieties, I've never given up on Chardonnay. I love it – good Chardonnay from anywhere in the world. New Zealand makes beautiful, complex, bright Chardonnays, but they often struggle to get the recognition they deserve under the weight of the country's Sauvignon Blanc. Time, then, to take a look at this one from Hawke’s Bay – and, in case anyone thinks it represents any kind of conflict of interest, time to declare that my daughter worked the 2018 vintage at Elephant Hill, months after this wine was safely tucked up in bottles in 2017. The grapes, from the winery's original Te Awanga vineyard close to the Pacific Ocean, were hand picked (in multiple passes through the vineyard), whole-bunch pressed into French oak barriques (a quarter new) and fermented with indigenous yeasts. The wine stayed in the barrels on the lees for 11 months before bottling. It has subtle cashew-nut flavours and creaminess, compelling lemon zest and preserved-lemon fruit, a pebble-smooth texture and a riveting, long, fresh finish. Food thoughts: shellfish, fish, chicken, lemony or creamy pasta, risotto, banitsa, mushroom or cheese omelette, or asparagus with hollandaise. 13.5%

Elephant Hill Chardonnay 2016, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

£19.95, Corney & Barrow

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