Palliser Estate Chardonnay is made from 100% estate sourced Chardonnay fruit from the Martinborough wine-growing region at the very south of New Zealand’s North Island.
The first grapes were planted at Palliser Estate in 1984 with the first commercial wines released in 1989 and the first wine exports in 1991. Today, the estate comprises some 92 hectares (around 228 acres) of vineyards planted with mainly Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc along with some Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The grapes are planted on the “Martinborough Terrace”, a small but very special area of land located at the southern end of the North Island. It is framed by the Ruamahanga and Huangarua Rivers which helped carve out the Terrace centuries ago. The land is a stony silt loam overlaying varying depths of ancient free draining river gravels. There are 7 vineyards in total, all within walking distance of each other. These are the Clouston, Collins, Palliser, Om Sancti, Wharekauhau, East Base and the Winery Vineyards.
The grapes for the Palliser Estate Chardonnay are a blend of different Chardonnay clones 15, 95, and 548, from the ‘Om Santi’ and ‘Palliser’ vineyards. The vines are aged between 6 and 12 years. The wine is fully barrel fermented with moderate solids, using mostly indigenous yeasts to arrive at 13% alcohol. The wine was aged 10 months on lees in 20% new French oak, undergoing partial malolactic fermentation.
Palliser Estate place a lot of importance (more than many) on good vineyard practices. They train their vines to achieve a low canopy density and well-exposed fruit. This combined with judicious leaf plucking produces the distinctive fruit flavours in the wine. When the grapes are judged to be at their optimum maturity they are harvested and processed to retain the inherent fruitiness of this varietal.
Palliser Estate is very serious about sustainability and was first winery in the world to be awarded ISO 14001-2004 Certification, which is effectively means they adhere to a sustainable environmental management system.
Palliser Estate Chardonnay is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.