|Grove Mill (New Zealand) Chardonnay 2000
Marlborough, on the most northerly tip of New Zealand's South Island, has by now established itself on the world stage, almost single-handedly though its pungent, striking, Sauvignons Blanc. Led by the cult Cloudy Bay label, Marlborough Sauvignon is one of the most succesful marriages between a grape and a specific place in the New World; like Pinot Noir in Burgundy, or Riesling in the Mosel Valley. However, other varieties are planted there too, and Marlborough Chardonnay presents an increasingly compelling argument against the Sauvignon stereotype. Grove Mill, who also produce fine Sauvignon (£8.49) and Riesling (£7.99), have turned in a gorgeous Chardonnay with a soft, alluring honeysuckle, butterscotch and toasted almond nose. There are hints of guava and nectarine, and the palate has a mealy, creamy texture that fills the mouth. There are flavours of stone fruits and hints of tropical richness, with toasty oak filling in beneath, and fine apple acidity to freshen the finish.
Safeway, Oddbins, £8.99