The Ara vineyard sits at the confluence of the Wairau and Waihopai rivers, a beautifully laid-out piece of land where the vines are left to "dry-grow", meaning they don't get a constant irrigation feed. Instead, their roots are forced to bury deep to find water. For chardonnay, this results in incredible fruit concentration and elegance, peach and grapefruit and a long, almond-edged, roasty, toasty finish.
Sip with: roasted scallops, pancetta and hazelnut salad.
Back in 2002, when Feilding dairy farmer Warren Haworth turned 50, he decided to reward himself and his wife Jan with a new life in Hawke's Bay, making wine. A new life of back-breaking work, little reward and even less sleep. But with the help of their winemaker son Dermot, they're now crafting gobsmackingly good chardonnay from the Bridge Pa Triangle that sings with sexy, smoky, grilled grapefruit and roast peach notes, solid textural mouth-feel, nutty spicy characters and a marathon-like finish. Glorious.
Sip with: boudin blanc with buttery tarragon sauce.
If you've been seeking creamy satisfaction in all the wrong places, fret no more. One hundred per cent malolactic fermentation has added lovely layers of creme caramel and ground almonds to classic citrus and grapefruity, peachy goodness to this fully certified organic chardonnay. Luxuriously textured and fresh acidity adds buoyancy to the finish. Yum.
Sip with: Thai-style turkey rissoles.
Yvonne Lorkin is co-founder and chief tasting officer of winefriend.co.nz and a Wine Writers of NZ member.