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Villa Maria (New Zealand) Cellar Selection Chardonnay 2002
Villa Maria is surely a winery that would contest the title of "world's most reliable", as year in, year out, it seems to produce wines that are excellent at their price points, and fine examples in any context. Cellar Selection is closed with a screwcap - like everything in the range - and is the starting point for the "serious", age-worthy wines in the range. This is my kind of Chardonnay, fermented in French oak, but then only partially aged in barriques, with only half of those new. The nose is a gorgeous melange of ripe green fig, cashew nuts and toasty aromatics. On the palate it is concentrated and quite powerful, with a wrapping of warming, oaky flavours, but a heart of clean, limpid melon and crisp orchard fruit. The sweetness of the fruit is offset by a big rush of grapefruity acidity, and the alcoholic concentration (14%) helps make the long finish powerful, savoury but beautifully balanced. Excellent. £8.99 Oddbins