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2016 Man O' War Valhalla Waiheke Island Chardonnay

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Cracka Review

The Valhalla is a reference to Norse mythology where the Vikings would get to feast with the Gods. You can feast with the Chardonnay Gods too, thanks to this inspired and delicious wine. There’s extraordinary fruit here with grapefruit and orange rind as well as intense apricot framed by clever oak. It’s a savoury and complex wine that shows good weight and formidable balance. A seriously impressive Chardonnay.

Winemaker's Notes

The shining and golden hall in Norse mythology where the souls of fallen Viking warriors chosen by Odin feasted with the Gods, the name Valhalla is conferred upon our finest barrels of Chardonnay selected each vintage by our winemaker.

Cellar Notes: Vintage 2016 began with a settled and dry spring resulting in great flowering and an excellent fruit set. The settled weather continued up until the New Year when wet weather patterns became prevalent which continued into the harvest months. Careful attention to detail in the vineyard paid off with astonishing fruit quality in what was undoubtedly a most challenging growing season.
Our Chardonnay vineyards are categorised by being either hilltop with volcanic deposits in the soil, which are also cooled by a combination of elevation and sea breezes, or steep sheltered sites in the valleys - which are warmer and rich in clay. The hilltop ‘volcanic’ sites are gently whole bunch pressed to preserve their minerality whereas the richer more powerful fruit coming off the sheltered hillsides are crushed by foot and left to soak on their skins before pressing. After pressing all parcels undergo wild fermentation on ‘full solids’ without any racking of the juice, temperature is unregulated and they progress to dryness in less than 10 days. This fermentation style contributes interesting savoury aromatics while the juice solids contribute tannin to the wine. Following fermentation the wine was left in barrel, un-sulphured on gross lees until late December when they received sulphur. In the New Year barrels were tasted again to confirm the blend and then bottled pre-vintage.
The balance that the two distinct groups of vineyards create is a wine that is powerful and rich (sheltered clay sites) yet tempered with fine acidity and aromatic high notes (volcanic), complemented by a certain level of savouriness, leading into tight pithy grapefruit-like tannin combining with fine barrel derived oak tannin.

Tasting Notes: Valhalla 2016 is one of the best vintages of Chardonnay we have produced. Aromas of juicy nectarine flesh combine with charred apricot skin, lime, fresh herbs and the scent of Crème Brûlée. The palate has structure from fresh acidity and salivating tannin with flavours of nectarine, salt, lime and ginger coupled with the bitterness of caramelised sugar; all contributing to a wonderfully flavoursome wine of terrific length and character suitable for drinking or for storing away on the cellar.

Alc/vol: 14%

expert reviews about

2016 Man O' War Valhalla Waiheke Island Chardonnay

Expert Reviews

Bob Campbell MW (2016 Vintage) says
Rich, ripe and full-flavoured Chardonnay with Golden Queen peach, mango, pineapple, vanilla, spice and nutty oak flavours. A blockbuster Chardonnay that’s a real mouthful, with impressive complexity.
2017 - 2022
Raymond Chan (2016 Vintage) says
Full, even, light golden-yellow colour with a lighter edge. The nose is full and softly voluminous with harmoniously layered aromas of white and yellow stone fruits entwined with an amalgam of savoury nutty and creamy barrel-ferment aroma along with flinty complexities. The aromatics build in depth and density with aeration, the complexities well-integrated. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a firm core, immediately opening with mouth-filling flavours of white and yellow stone fruits layered seamlessly with nutty notes and subtle gunflint and mineral notes. The mouthfeel balances creamy barrel-ferment textures with a fine phenolic-textured line, and fresh, lacy acidity. The wine has power and the palate flows to a long, lingering, fine-textured, dry, nutty finish. This is a firm and powerful Chardonnay with harmoniously mouth-filling flavours of stone fruits, nuts, flint and complexing minerals on a fine-textured palate. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 5-6 years.

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