Mourning a bygone era? Fret not, big fat chardonnays are out there ...

Alchemy Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2014 $27

Google will have you believe that Alchemy means "a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination". This wine, however, has had much calculated thought put into it by owner Neal Cave and winemaker Ant Mackenzie. Hand-picked grapes were barrel-fermented in 30 per cent new French oak and given a full malolactic ferment to create funky creaminess. It's a smoky, complex, big-gun of a chardonnay that will put hair on your chest.

Tiki Single Vineyard Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2014 $23

Crafted by winemaking legend Evan Ward, this wine oozes smoked apricot, toasty nectarine and oatmealy, creamy flavours. There's a gently juicy texture, silky citrus and vanilla-infused spices wash around the back teeth. It's rich, fulfilling and rather fabulous.


A great wine from a chardonnay master.

Sacred Hill Halo Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2014 $25

Born in the now nationally revered Rifleman's Vineyard in a secret inland spot west of Napier, in Puketapu's Dartmoor Valley, this is an "impress-your-friends" chardonnay if ever I tasted one. Prepare for a burst of fennel, peach and vanilla, alongside some white pepper and a big, juicy, satisfying texture.