Top drops under $20 (and over) and wine news from Joelle Thomson

Category: Chardonnay (page 1 of 7)

Taste Champagne Lallier in Wellington tonight… free

If you’re wandering around Wellington tonight between 5pm and 7pm, pop into Regional Wines for a free taste of an exceptional range of bubbles from Champagne Lallier…

My blog on Champagne Lallier…

Talk about modest. I’m talking about the price, not the big, beautiful taste of Champagne Lallier, which over deliver for the $50.99 you’ll spend on this wine. And the trio of Lallier bubbles will be open for a free tasting tonight at Regional Wines at the Basin Reserve in Wellington from 5pm to 7pm.

Our team here at Regional had the tasty pleasure of checking out Lallier Champagnes this afternoon and, while we’ve all got our faves, we agreed the rosé was the pick of this beautiful bunch, which range from $23 for a half bottle up to $50.99. That’s no mean feat, given the hefty resources of time, reserve wines and grand cru vineyards (the highest quality land) that go into making Lallier Champagne.

When, where and what…

Champagne Lallier is based in… the village of Ay (one of the 17 Grand Cru villages) in the Champagne region.

It was founded in 1906 by… Rene Lallier and the business was sold in 2004 to Francis Tribaut who is the current owner and also the winemaker. This makes Lallier the only champagne brand where the owner is also the winemaker.

The bubbles are made in two locations… in Maison D’Ay and  in the new Cellier D’Oger, 10 kms outside of Ay on the Cotes des Blanc; a modern facility built in 2012.

Lallier Champagnes only contain the two most respected grapes… namely, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The wines go through malolactic fermentation, which varies… depending on the vintage and the acidity in the grapes as a result of the vintage.

Dosage varies from zero up to… 18 grams per litre.


The champagnes

Champagne Lallier Ay Brut R012 $46.45

Very fresh, very flavoursome and very affordable; this is made from a blend of 62% Pinot Noir, 38% Chardonnay and 81% of the wine comes from grapes grown in 2012 (hence the R012 – ‘recolte’ means year) and 19% reserve wines. It’s also drier than many champagnes with a dosage of 8 grams per litre and the wine is made from 85% Grand Cru vineyards.

Champagne Lallier Blanc de Blancs Ay $53.80

This is 100% Chardonnay and all from vineyards that are classified as Grand Cru; 60% from Ay and 40% from Cote des Blancs. The wine spent 36 to 88% wine of the year, 12% reserve wines, aging on lees 36 to 48 months, dosage 9 grams.

Buttered croissant aromas, very strong yeasty flavours, high acidity, great concentration with strong citrus flavours, a full body and a long finish.

Champagne Lallier Rose Grand Cru $50.99

Wine of the year 92%, reserve wines 8%, grand cr vineyards only; 65% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay. Pale salmon colour, savoury aromas, yeasty flavours, high acidity, very long finish. Very pronounced mushroom aromas with an explosion of beautiful red fruit flavours in the mouth…

Top drop… from the Chardonnay capital

Its price may make the eyes water slightly but its identity could well do likewise, for those who knew the late Bill Irwin or know his son Denis, founders of Matawhero Wines in Gisborne – the Chardonnay capital of New Zealand. Chardonnay is the most planted grape in this region, making it unique among large wine regions in a country where Sauvignon Blanc rules the vineyard roost in most regions. Kirsten Searle, the owner of Matawhero Wines today, carries the torch for the Irwins, who did so much to ignite Gisborne’s Chardonnay flame.


 2016 Irwin Gisborne Chardonnay, $59.95, 13.4% ABV

Its dry creamy flavours, full body and relative low acidity are the hallmarks of this big bodied, warm climate Chardonnay, which is the new flagship wine of Matawhero – one of the oldest wine brands from Gisborne.

The wine is made from a 1.7 hectare vineyard of Chardonnay grapes grown on Kaiti heavy silt loam soil at 10 metres elevation in Gisborne; the fourth largest wine region in New Zealand. The grapes are all the Mendoza clone – large and small berries are the key characteristic of this clone, and this can favour high concentration of flavour, balanced by variation in acidity and juice in the berries.

The wine was fermented in a mix of American and Hungarian oak.

This wine drinks well now and will hold for another four to five years.

King of Chardonnays tasting…

Taste top Chardonnays on Thursday 5 October at Regional Wines, Wellington

What’s your favourite Chardonnay?

Big, buttery and full bodied? Or crisp, citrusy and site expressive?

Whichever way you like your Chardonnay, our King of Chardonnays tasting on Thursday 5 October is highly likely to reward you – in more ways than one.

Join us and Chardonnay specialist Tony Bish at Regional Wines in Wellington for this special tasting at which we will open 9 wines.

This special blind tasting will highlight the incredible versatility of Chardonnay when grown in different countries, different regions and also when it’s made in a variety of styles. We will taste 6 New Zealand Chardonnays and 3 from Burgundy; including one from each sub-region to highlight the classic traditional European styles from Chardonnay’s spiritual homeland.

This promises to be an outstanding tasting for Chardonnay lovers and all drinkers of high quality white wine.

The tasting

Thursday 5 October, 6pm to 8pm at Regional Wines & Spirits.

Bookings essential, phone 04 385 6952.


The wines


2014 Louis Michel & Fils Grand Cru Chablis Montee de Tonnerre $37

Cotes d’Or

2014 Henri Boiillot Meursault $56


2014 Bouchard Pere et Fils Macon Lugny Vin de Bourgogne $25

New Zealand

2014 Sacred Hill Virgin Chardonnay $30

2016 Tony Bish Golden Egg Chardonnay $38

2016 Tony Bish Heartwood Chardonnay $35

2016 Sacred Hill Wine Thief Chardonnay $35

2016 Tony Bish Skeetfield Chardonnay $60

2016 Sacred Hill Riflemans Chardonnay $70

Call Regional Wines & Spirits to book your spot, phone 04 385 6952.

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