Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Top drop of the week, Golden Egg

Where is New Zealand's leading region for Chardonnay? 

Auckland is home to Kumeu River Wines, which has achieved such remarkable accolades that an entire film was inspired by them in A Seat at Table. But does one great winery mean that an entire region can qualify as the leading area for a great grape variety?

Gisborne is another contender. Its winemakers once claimed their region was the Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand but the region's overall production has shrunk dramatically over the past 15 years. Marlborough makes many sensational Chardonnays but as it is the country's largest wine region and so strongly devoted to Sauvignon Blanc, it can't really claim to be the leader for Chardonnay. At least, not yet. And then there are great Chardonnays in North Canterbury and Central Otago but the numbers don't really stack up, leaving one region to take the title. Hawke's Bay.

The Bay has about the same amount of Merlot, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc planted as it does Chardonnay but the sheer number of producers who hang their hats solidly on Chardonnay continues to grow and one of them even hangs his winemaking hat solely on Chardonnay. Tony Bish is the undisputed king of Chardonnay in the Bay as he has devoted an entire winery and eatery to this great white grape. Here is his latest release, which is officially out on 1 July so here is a sneak preview. 

Top drop of the week


2022 Golden Egg Chardonnay RRP $44.99

Tony Bish’s Golden Egg Chardonnay lives up to its name and is consistently one of the best full bodied whites in New Zealand with delicious depth of flavour, a full body and smooth creamy texture. This textural win-win is underpinned by fruit flavours of ripe lemons, white peach and nectarine. Balanced acidity provides the wine with its long finish, which follows creamy fullness from fermentation in a concrete egg; a vessel designed to accentuate richness and balance in Chardonnay. 

This wine is golden by name and by nature.