- BY the CASE
Chardonnay: it’s the most planted white grape in the world, as well as the most planted wine grape in the United States. And yet, Chardonnay seems to be the world’s most polarizing wine: you either love it or hate it.
Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used in the production of white wine. The variety originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France, but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand. For new and developing wine regions, growing Chardonnay is seen as a "rite of passage" and an easy entry into the international wine market.
The Chardonnay grape itself is very neutral, with many of the flavors commonly associated with the grape being derived from such influences as terroir and oak. It is vinified in many different styles, from the lean, crisply mineral wines of Chablis to New World wines with oak, and tropical fruit flavors. In cool climates (such as Chablis and the Carneros AVA of California), Chardonnay tends to be medium to light body with noticeable acidity and flavors of green plum, apple, and pear.
In warmer locations the flavors become more citrus, peach, and melon, while in very warm location more fig and tropical fruit notes such as banana and mango come out. Wines that have gone through malolactic fermentation tend to have softer acidity and fruit flavors with buttery mouthfeel and hazelnut notes.
Grown on a single vineyard in the Hawkes Bay, the fruit for this wine was picked in outstanding condition after an excellent growing season. The grapes were gently pressed to 40% new French oak. A portion was allowed malolactic fermentation & the wine was then matured for 10 months before bottling.
'NOW' by PAXTON stands for NATURAL ORGANIC WINE.
The consumer market demand has been growing steadily for Preservative Free/Natural wines. As leaders in organic production, it was obvious that Paxton needed a product for this category. In addition to Natural, PF & Organic, we wanted to make a young, drink NOW style Chardonnay that was different from our existing Chardonnay style.
We pick our Four O’clock Chardonnay at night, or early in the morning to keep the grapes cool and help jolly along the delicate nectarine and stone fruit characters and not lose them. Joch and the team make this wine in batches so we end up with different components when it comes time to put the wine together and bottle it. We get our Chardonnay from 3 different (organic) blocks on the vineyards, so each batch brings its own peculiarities of site with it to the mix. We try our very hardest to keep the ferment away from oxygen, and the grapes undergo a cool ferment in stainless steel tanks. We don’t allow the wine to go through the secondary malolactic fermentation, because we want to protect the natural acidity.
2015 was a great white year in McLaren Vale (no shark pun intended) - the wine shows length, balance and freshness with citrus and stone fruit and a hint of pineapple. This wine shows so much flavour and character for a wine that is completely unoaked. ‘Four o’clock’ is pretty versatile, too; great as an aperitif (don’t serve too chilled) and wonderful with a range of foods: roast chicken and mushroom risotto is my standard food matching suggestion.