Chard Farm, Central Otago
Visiting this impressive Gibbston-based winery,
in New Zealand's Central Otago wine region
Rob Hay, originally from the Nelson region, studied winemaking in
Germany for three years and then returned to New Zealand in 1985. He
moved down to Central Otago in 1986. These were the early days of
wine in the region, with a number of hobbyists, each with an acre or
two, but Rob had picked up on a bit of interest here, and got a job
making wine for pioneer Alan Brady, at Gibbston Valley. He ended up
staying as winemaker for Gibbston until 1992.
In 1987, with help from his family, and supported by his German
wife, Rob bought Chard Farm. It's a beautifully situated property,
bordered on one side by the raging Kawarau River. This vineyard site
was supplemented by four properties that he bought in the Cromwell
Basin in the late 1990s, and now Chard Farm are 85-90% self
sufficient in terms of grapes. The home block is around 12 hectares
planted, and altogether Chard have around 50 hectares, which is a
good size for this small-ish region.
John Wallace and
I visited with both Rob and his winemaker of 14 years John Wallace.
The house style tends to freshness. 'Rich is easy to do round here,'
says Wallace. 'I am trying to make them fresh and elegant.'
I wasn’t completely convinced by some of the whites, but the Pinots
showed consistently well, with lots of freshness and interest.
Chard Farm Riesling 2012 Central Otago, New Zealand
The two Rieslings are both from the same vineyard, just picked
at different times. This has 15.1 g/litre residual sugar, pH 3.04.
Honey, lemon and spice nose. The palate is lemony, spicy and rich;
textured with nice acidity and a hint of sweetness. 90/100
Chard Farm Viper Vineyard Riesling 2012 Central Otago, New
38 g/l residual sugar, pH 3.14. Aromatic, sweet lemony nose with
subtle honey notes. Lively palate has subtle herb and lanolin notes.
Bright and focused, showing good balance – the sugar is carried very
Chard Farm Pinot Gris 2012 Central Otago, New Zealand
Subtle, rounded and textured grape and pear fruit with a bit of
smokiness. Dry but has some richness. 88/100
Chard Farm Closeburn Chardonnay 2012 Central Otago, New Zealand
An unoaked Chardonnay. Unusual herbal, green character to the
wine. Not nice. 78/100
Chard Farm Judge & Jury Chardonnay 2011 Central Otago, New
Some honey and lanolin notes here as well as green-tinged sweet,
textured fruit. Distinctive and quite fresh. 87/100
Chard Farm River Run Pinot Noir 2012 Central Otago, New Zealand
Fresh, vivid, pure and bright with rounded cherry and plum
fruit. Fresh, pure and supple, and quite delicious. 92/100
Chard Farm Mata-Au Pinot Noir 2012 Central Otago, New Zealand
From two vineyards, Lowburn and Parkburn, 20% new oak. Bright,
fresh, focused and supple on the nose with red cherries dominant.
The palate is focused and fresh with bright juicy red fruits.
Supple, bright and quite fine. 93/100
Chard Farm MkII Parkburn Pinot Noir 2012 Central Otago, New
A sloping, north-facing vineyard, with 60% Abel clone, 20% 777
and 20% 667. Distinctive fresh nose has a ginger/spice edge to the
red cherries. Supple pure and elegant with bright fruit, as well as
asian spices and aniseed. Very distinctive. 93/100
Chard Farm Tiger Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 Central Otago, New
The oldest of the three single vineyards, this has been made
since 2002. Predominantly clone 5 with some 777 and 667. Bright,
supple and textured with pure cherry fruits and a supple
personality. Very pure with red cherry fruit: an elegant style.
Chard Farm Viper Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 Central Otago, New
Supple and fresh, in a lighter style. Some savoury notes and
some spiciness, with black as well as red cherry fruit. Lovely
purity to this elegant wine. 94/100
Chard Farm Viper Vineyard 2010 Central Otago, New Zealand
Relatively pale colour, Supple, elegant and nicely rounded, a
lighter style with sweet red cherry fruits and some texture.
Beginning to open out with lovely elegance and some structure under
the smooth, sweet fruit. 94/100
Chard Farm Tiger Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 Central Otago, New
Aromatically a little closed. Lovely palate, though, which is
fresh, supple and has a touch of green leafiness. Nice weight and
focus with red cherries and subtle plumminess. Linear and pure.
Chard Farm Tiger Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005 Central Otago, New
Warm and sweet with lively aromatics and hints of ginger and
herbs. Enticing. There’s even a hint of seaweed. The palate has
freshness and purity with a bit of warmth as well as elegant fruit.
Shows a hint of soy: this has developed nicely in a warm spicy sort
of way. 94/100
Central Otago, New Zealand (series)
Martinborough, New Zealand (series)
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