Although scheduled events aren’t possible, there’s still plenty to celebrate with another successful year in the resurgence of the grape variety that dominated the New Zealand wine industry in the 1980s.
Those days our winemakers won acclaim with barrel-aged wines that were bold and buttery and while those still exist, today’s Chardonnays are more refined, fruity and fresh with a stand out complexity that’s uniquely New Zealand.
A long hot summer has produced top quality Chardonnay fruit again this year and experts say 2020 will be a vintage to remember – for a variety of reasons. Despite this year’s events being cancelled due to the coronavirus, Gisborne organisers of ‘The Chardonnay Affair’ are looking ahead to 2021 with a variety of planned celebrations including a tasting trip on a historic train, a long white lunch and an elegant soiree at one of Poverty Bay’s historic landmarks.
International Chardonnay Day is celebrated on the Thursday before the last Monday in May every year and is gathering momentum in many wine producing countries around the world. New Zealand’s events focus on matching the newly released Chardonnay wines with the best of local cuisine. And in Gisborne, the Chardonnay capital of New Zealand, that means teaming award-winning wines with fresh kaimoana and delicious local produce.
The events are an ideal time to visit the Gisborne region and visitors will discover a lot more than quality wine and food to make the journey worthwhile. A warm sunny climate and relaxed coastal lifestyle give Gisborne a special vibe and experiencing the rich and authentic local Māori culture is a must during any visit to Eastland.
Chardonnay makes up around 7% of New Zealand wine production and while Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne grow the bulk of New Zealand’s Chardonnay, the grape is the only variety that will thrive in every region of New Zealand from north to south.
That versatility makes it a perfect canvas for viticulturists and winemakers to craft masterpieces resulting in unique, distinctive wines which strongly reflect New Zealand’s distinctive terroir and the huge diversity within the different regions.
New Zealand’s Chardonnay styles range from fruit-driven and unoaked, to luscious examples with complexity, elegance, and a touch of oak.