There are some wines where you have just enough words to fill up a line or two and then there are some, which peel off to reveal just a wee bit more, then even more… while leaving behind long lasting flavours! Neudorf Chardonnay is one such wine when tasting blindfold, will instantly whisk you away, believing you are in the Burgundy region and then fly you around the world, leaving you wondering which region it could potentially start from and where it could finish. But this wine does not come from the Burgundy communes, neither is Neudorf part of an old municipality of Switzerland nor a traditional village in Germany. In fact, there is no European terroir to this wine at all! Neudorf is located in Nelson, that forms the hub of creative arts and crafts in New Zealand, the most colourful yet serene north western tip of the South Island. Celebrated as one of the most diverse regions capturing the essence of New Zealand from sand kissed beaches to rugged mountains, the Upper Moutere village outside Nelson, where Neudorf has its base, forms an eclectic collection of gifted artisans whose works capture the country’s indigenous talents in sculpture, wood work, country homeware and ciders, apart from wine production that has increasingly become an attractive proposition.

Close to celebrating commendable 40 years and one of the oldest established vineyards in Nelson is Neudorf (pronounced as ‘New-dorf’) vineyard that was started by Tim and Judy Finn (in 1977) who are still very humble about their beginnings. They selected a region that during the stage of initiation, did not possess a huge standing but their belief in the potential of Nelson’s moderate and more so, immensely consistent weather patterns started reaping huge benefits and coupled with the various trials and tribulations that they endured, they finally narrowed down to selecting and planting some of the best varietals that have since settled gracefully into the gravelly soils of Nelson’s historic river systems. Now they are enjoying the result of decades of hard work put it into their homeland and bringing it into the forefront of recognition and prestige. Chardonnay has been their flagship varietal but increasingly, wines made from Riesling, Albarino and Pinot Noir are beaming with positive optimism. What is most appealing is that their wines are 100% organic, made with natural yeast, all grapes hand-picked, with minimal intervention during fermentation. Combined with the skill set of their winemaker, Todd Stevens who brings in remarkable experience from Central Otago (ex Felton Road and Quartz Reef), they work towards a common mission of producing wines with a passion to create quality rather than for commercial profitability. The results display themselves in the wines that are produced!


These are my notes from the recently tasted the Chardonnay 2014 from Neudorf. The luscious lemon sorbet flavours are very distinct initially but then further on, peel off to reveal the complexity of this wine. Pear, golden apple, soft ripened peach notes and a hint of passion fruit follow through with a mid-palate of rich yet playful texture, a zingy vibrancy backed by subtle, soft oak that expresses itself through butterscotch, caramel, almond crumble pie brioche characters and melts away leaving behind traces of mint leaf, white pepper, freshly ground mix of spicy roasted cloves. There is purity, ripe fruit freshness but also intense maturity expressed in very elegant restrained style. And by the way, the strong lemon sorbet flavours last all throughout from start to finish, completing this wine with supreme consistency all the way. A highly recommended wine for the summer, if you have not tried out before. And if you have, then please do feel free to add your notes below.

(Imported by Field, Morris and Verdin, the wine is available from Berry Brothers and Rudd, New Zealand Cellar, Philglass and Swiggot, The Wine Society amongst others)

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Photo credit: Sumi_Sumilier