Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Wines of the week from Maxim

Chenin Blanc is one of the greatest white grape varieties and wines like the two new releases in this column always make me wonder why more Chenin is not grown and produced in New Zealand. Hawke's Bay winemaker Darragh Hughes obviously thinks the same way. 
He has also used innovative winemaking methods to create a complex smooth and creamy Chardonnay with zesty fresh appeal that lingers long after the last sip.

2022 Maxim Wine Chardonnay, Hawke's Bay RRP $38

A game changer? This is a great and complex debut Chardonnay from Maxim Wines. It is full bodied, dry wine is packed with complexity in aroma and flavour. Hand hand picked grapes grown in stony soils on the Bridge Pa Triangle were whole bunch pressed into barrels and a stainless steel egg fermenter, which retains freshness and builds texture on the palate with extended contact with lees, which is gorgeously balanced here by the creamy texture and rich layers from the barrel ferment component in the wine. Lees stirring builds texture but the freshness from the stainless portion adds exceptional balance. 

2022 Maxim Wines Chenin Blanc, Hawke's Bay RRP $38

Bright, fresh and subtle aromas of dry grass, lemon and honey all lead into a zingy, dry and medium bodied Chenin Blanc. The grapes in this wine were picked three weeks later than the Maxim Chardonnay and were pressed to a combination stainless tanks and barrels, using a combination of commercial yeasts and wild ones. These complex elements create a layered but youthful wine, which will develop further over the next two to three years but also has the structure, balance and ability to age well for eight to nine years, potentially longer. 

2022 Honour Amongst Thieves Chenin Blanc RRP $28

This lively, fresh and lightly aromatic Chenin is made with grapes grown in Gisborne on a one hectare owned by the Briant family. The wine was made in Gisborne with cool temperature fermentation in stainless steel retaining fruit aromas while monthly lees stirring has built body and weight in this wine. The acidity is moderate but adds zesty depth and length to each sip, adding a sense of succulence and juiciness.