Main Divide Chardonnay from the Donaldson Family in North Canterbury always punches well above its weight and the latest release is yet another fine example offering plenty of concentration and complexity (including some gunflinty notes). And value… for a fully hand-picked and barrel fermented Chardonnay that gets some serious attention in the winery it sells at an incredibly modest price.
Winery notes (2021 Vintage)
"Cold weather during bud burst resulted in lower crop levels, hence no further fruit thinning was carried out. The subsequent warm dry summer served up perfectly ripened small berries full of intense flavour and concentration. Favourable conditions continued into autumn, allowing each variety to be picked at its optimum ripeness.
On release its colour is pale gold. The bouquet is a beguiling merger of savoury, stone fruit and citrus. Aromas of lemon and peach intersect with lightly spiced oak, hazelnut and a hint of orange blossom. A whisper of struck match adds complexity and a flinty minerality. The mouthfeel is textured and creamy, with a superbly weighted palate. A seam of lively acidity provides the perfect partnership, paving the way for a long and attractive finish."
4 ½ Stars Yvonne Lorkin, May 2022 (2021 Vintage)
"Match the comforting creaminess of the black beans and cheese and the sweetness of the corn with a bodaciously brisk chardonnay bursting with grapefruit, nectarine and cinnamon toast tastiness like this one. Add a layer of crushed almonds, juicy melon and a splash of smoky, struck match character and you’ve got the perfect partner. Crammed with flavour and beautifully balanced, it’s a total headscratcher as to how this wine can sell for under $20."
Rated Excellent & 93/100 Cameron Douglas MS, April 2022 (2021 Vintage)
"Aromas and flavours of fresh citrus flesh and stone fruit, there’s a floral, apple blossom and mineral complexity and moderate intensity of oak. Fantastic texture on the palate with acidity and fine fruit and wood tannins layering in poise and structure. Youthful, refreshing and dry on the finish with core flavours that reflect the bouquet. Best drinking from mid to late 2022 through 2026."
4 ½ Stars Michael Cooper (2021 Vintage)
"Offering great value, this elegant wine is the best vintage yet of Pegasus Bay’s lower-priced Chardonnay. Fragrant, with a slightly smoky bouquet, it was fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in French oak barriques. Bright, light lemon/green, it is mouthfilling and vigorous, with good intensity of youthful, peachy, citrusy flavours, showing considerable complexity, fresh acidity and a long finish. Best drinking 2024+."
Reviews for the 2020 vintage below…
18.5/20 Joelle Thomson , Drinksbiz, April 2021 (2020 Vintage)
"Full bodied, creamy and delicious, Main Divide Chardonnay always over delivers on flavour and value for money. Handpicked grapes were whole bunch pressed into large French puncheons and fermented with wild yeasts and then matured on yeast lees for nearly a year. It's a consistently outstanding wine and extraordinarily good value for its modest price."
4 Stars NZ Wine Rater, July 2021 (2020 Vintage)
"An intense, intriguing, complex wine on the nose with a nice balance of fruit, and funk. Showing some zesty, quince paste, and yellow plum characters with leesy, white pepper, salted butter, and vanilla pod nuances. A ripe, generous, lively wine with plenty of crunchy, limey acidity but some noticeable alcoholic hotness on the finish."
91/100 Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, September 2021 (2020 Vintage)
"It's complex and engaging on the nose showing apricot, lemon peel, baked fig, almond and subtle flinty characters. The palate displays excellent weight and juicy fruit flavours backed by bright acidity, finishing long and attractive. At its best: now to 2025."