Wine Review: Frizzell Wines Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2011

I was really excited to try this Chardonnay from Frizzell Wines – the brainchild of iconic Kiwi artist/wine lover Dick Frizzell and award winning winemaker, Rob Macdonald.  I’m swayed by cool wine labels and I like to think this one is saying “Drink me NOW!!! I’m guaranteed good times and sunshine!!”

This Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2011 is juicy with a capital J –  peaches, a touch of passionfruit and peppery spice. I also tasted honeyed notes, on the back label it says ‘butterscotch’, you get the picture. Yeah, it’s got a bit of oak in it, but don’t be scared. While the 90’s are back in a big way (see below) modern oak is much more subtle and thought out. This is an interesting wine, it’s full and juicy, but it has a refreshing minerality; when I am thinking it is a touch too acidic it turns out a lovely softness. I had this both with and without food, better with food (a vege pasta) although perhaps it was because I was halfway through drinking the bottle. Who knows? I would say this is medium bodied.

Frizzell and Fruity

I think this is a good place to talk about my love for modern Chardonnay. It’s come a long way from being the big, full bodied, oakey wine of the 90’s and is definitely worth giving another chance if you haven’t had one for a while.   There’s big love for the 90’s in current fashion and music (see Cara Delavigne in Jeremy Scott and the 1991 vid from Azealia Banks below – awesome), but in every case there has been a ‘2012 facelift’ applied, and it’s for the better. This Frizzell Wine is a great example of modern Chardonnay that isn’t afraid to ‘go large’, however if you’re not into fuller styles there’s also loads of very elegant cool climate styles coming out where winemakers are applying a much lighter touch with oak for fermentation (using new/French Oak barrells) or even stainless steel.

The full story on Dick and Frizzell Wines is here. I am guessing that being based in the Hawkes Bay had an influence on him trying his hand at wine.  I’m also guessing that the effects of wine had a positive effect on his creative process, hence his interest in it. I like  what he’s done with the labels, they reflect exactly what’s inside the bottle and the tiki motif is cool too.

The Hawkes Bay is famous for it’s fertile soils and good sunshine hours, and is one of the oldest wine regions in New Zealand, been going since the 1850s. Most of the wines produced there are reds, but according to the regional website they also specialise in “rich and complex Chardonnays” of which this is definitely one – more on the region here. From checking out the Frizzell Wines website also appears that the winemaker, Rod McDonald is a pretty awesome award winning winemaker. Nice one!

I got this on special for around $12 at Glengarrys – bargain 🙂 You can buy this direct from the website here too.

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