Vidal Wines El Legado Chardonnay 2016
The 2015/2016 growing season has produced a wine encapsulating concentration and restraint. Citrus, pink grapefruit, roasted nuts and fragrant flinty aromatics combine on a finely styled, textured and seamless palate. Showing harmony and complexity this classic Hawkes Bay Chardonnay will continue to age gracefully over time. Distinctive and age worthy.
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In 1888 a daring 22 year old Spaniard named Anthony Joseph Vidal arrived in New Zealand and became one of the first winemakers to harness the natural potential of Hawke’s Bay. Taking advantage of the hot summer days, long growing season, and free draining soils, he established Vidal Estate in 1905, producing well balanced and understated wines. His spirit of adventure and commitment to crafting classic, elegant wines remains an inspiration to this day. In 2006, Hugh Crichton took over the winemaking reins and he and the team continue to raise the bar. Opting for minimal intervention in both the winery and vineyard, and selecting only the best fruit from the best growing regions, including Gimblett Gravels, they create gorgeous wines that are not only reflective of the region and terroir, but true to the memory of Anthony Vidal himself.
An eclectic region on the east coast of the North Island, Hawkes Bay extends from wide, fertile, coastal plains, inland, to the coast range, whose peaks reach as high as 5,300 feet. While the flatter areas were historically more popular because they are easier to cultivate, their alluvial soils can be too fertile for vines. In the late 20th century, the drive for quality led growers to the hills where soils are free-draining, limestone-rich and more suited to producing high quality wines.
Over the passing of time, the old Ngaruroro River laid down deep, gravelly beds, which were subsequently exposed after a huge flood in the 1860’s. In the 1980s growers identified this stretch, which continues for approximately 800 ha, and named it the Gimblett Gravels. The zone has proven to be ideal for the production of excellent red wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
Today the area takes well-earned recognition for its Bordeaux blends and other reds. Expressive of intense stewed red and black berry with gentle herbaceous characters, Gimblett Gravels wines are suggestive of their cool climate origin, and on par with other top-notch Bordeaux blends around the globe.
Chardonnay is the top white grape in Hawkes Bay, making elegant wines, strong in stone fruit character. Sauvignon blanc comes in close behind, notable for its tropical, fruit forward qualities.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.