Cloudy Bay Chardonnay is arguably the estate’s best wine but quite clearly not their most famous wine. That distinction has to go to the iconic Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc.
Cloudy Bay Vineyards was established in 1985 by Kevin Judd (now at Greywacke in NZ) and David Hohnen (then Cape Mentelle Vineyards, now of McHenry Hohnen in Western Australia) and is today part of Estates & Wines owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH). Cloudy Bay was at the very forefront of quality New Zealand wine production and are partly responsible for unleashing the phenomenon of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc on the world. The winery was named after Cloudy Bay, a body of water explorer Captain James Cook came across during his voyage to New Zealand in 1770. The winery and vineyards are situated in the Wairau Valley in Marlborough at the northern end of New Zealand’s South Island. This unique and cool wine region enjoys a maritime climate with the longest hours of sunshine of any place in New Zealand.
Cloudy Bay Chardonnay was first releases with the 1986 vintage. The grapes come from four vineyard blocks located in the Brancott, Fairhall, Ben Morven and Central Wairau Valley wine-growing sub-regions with a mix of free-draining gravel and loam based soils. Each site produces a unique flavour profile and allows for an assemblage of a complex, intriguing, textural and balanced wine. The grapes are hand harvested and, after a gentle pressing, the juice undergoes 100% barrel fermentation in French oak barrels. The wine remains in barrel (18% new), with regular lees stirring, for another 12 months ageing. The wine naturally went through 70% malo-lactic conversion.