In a nutshell: A distinctive and classic example New Zealand Hawkes Bay Chardonnay.
The lowdown: Hawkes Bay is generally considered the home of New Zealand's premier chardonnays and Vidal are one of the leading exponents in the region. This is certainly a complex and harmonious wine; fermentation was in a mix of old and new French oak followed by a year's maturation in barrique and tank. There's a real concentration of flavours and aromas here, crisp citrus with a rounded nuttiness and steely flintiness combining to give a wealth of texture.
When to drink: A premium Kiwi chardonnay that's stylish and ageworthy. Perfect with chicken and pork dishes, seafood and shellfish.
At the start of the 20th century Anthony Joseph Vidal, a Spanish emigrant, established the winery in what is now the centre Hastings in the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand's north island. It was here that in the mid 70s they established the first winery restaurant in New Zealand, something now a feature throughout the land. In October 2018 they relocated to a larger and more modern facility at the The Gravels just outside the town.
Since 1976 Vidal have been a part of Sir George Fistonich's stable of wineries. Sir George is one of the most celebrated figures in The New Zealand wine industry and numbers Villa Maria, Esk Valley and Te Awa among his estates.
The winemaker here is Hugh Crichton who was appointed to the position in 2006 after having worked at Vidal since 2004. His broad experience spans both the Old and New Worlds and his philosophy is to continue to build on the winemaking legacy of his predecessors. During his time in Europe, Hugh had the opportunity to experience many European wines, which were often more elegant in style and food friendly in nature than their New World counterparts at the time. His exposure to some of the great wines of this style has been a key influence on his winemaking direction. Producing wines which are truly reflective of the region and vineyards where the grapes are grown is also at the core of Hughs winemaking philosophy.