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Featured Reviews

Lake Chalice 2017 ‘The Falcon’ Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling, and Raptor Chardonnay

19 September,2018

In June 2016, the Ibbotson family acquired the Lake Chalice brand and vineyards to come under the Saint Clair umbrella. The Lake Chalice wines of Chris Gambitsis and Phil Binnie have developed a style and gained a customer loyalty that is part of the brand. The Ibbotsons are keen to retain these aspects, while raising the standard of the wines. Since the purchase, the Lake Chalice wines have undergone tier consolidation and labelling improvements. Chloe Gabrielsen has taken on the winemaking responsibility for the Lake Chalice wines. In what I’ve tasted, there are definite steps forward. Here, I review the 2017 ‘The Falcon’ Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling, and ‘The Raptor’ Chardonnay.


Lake Chalice ‘The Falcon’ Marlborough Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Marlborough


Full, even straw-yellow colour with the faintest suggestion of blush, lighter edged. The nose is slender in proportion but has good concentration and intensity of white stonefruits entwined with subtle nutty detail and a minerally edge. This is quite steely in expression. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has taut flavours of white stonefruits with subtle notes of herbs, nuts and minerals. The palate has presence and weight with a positive core and line. There is a little phenolic grip with soft acidity carrying the wine to a light finish. This is a taut and slender dry Pinot Gris with stonefruit flavours with herbs, nuts and minerals with good presence and a positive line. Serve with most white meat dishes over the next 2-3 years. Fruit from the southern Omaka and Waihopai valleys, cool-fermented in tank with a portion in French oak to 12.5% alc., and 3.2 g/L RS. 16.5+/20 Sep 2018 RRP $18.99

Lake Chalice ‘The Falcon’ Marlborough Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough


Full, light golden-hued yellow colour with some depth. The nose is firmly concentrated with an elegant core showing fragrant white and yellow stonefruits with citrus fruits entwined with nutty oak and lemon-curd MLF mixed with barrel-ferment creaminess, unfolding mineral nuances. The aromatics have good depth and penetration. Medium-full bodied, the palate is bright, vibrant and lively with good depth and concentration of ripe citrus fruit flavours entwined with subtle barrel-ferment and nutty, toasty oak, and some lemon-curd MLF. The palate balances richness and freshness, with the fruit enlivened by brisk acidity. The flavours carry to a long, lingering citrussy and nutty finish. This is a rich Chardonnay with intense citrus fruit with nutty oak and lemon-curd MLF, and refreshing acidity. Serve with creamy seafood, poultry and pork dishes over the next 3-4 years. Fruit from the ‘Falcon’ block, Renwick, fully barrel-fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in seasoned French oak barriques, undergoing MLF. 17.5/20 Sep 2018 RRP $18.99

Lake Chalice ‘The Falcon’ Marlborough Riesling 2017

Riesling from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright straw-yellow colour with pale gold glints, pale edged. The nose is elegant in presentation, quite firm and taut with aromas of lime fruit, white florals, soft, exotic honied notes unveiling apples and herbs. A little SO2 lends a mineral edge. Medium in sweetness and light-bodied, the palate has light but lively fruit flavours of lime fruit, subtle notes of florals and some honeysuckle and minerals. The fruit forms a gently concentrated, rounded core with light, smooth textures providing linearity, along with fresh, lacy acidity lending freshness and drive. The flavours carry to a soft, easy finish of moderate length. This is a light-bodied medium Riesling with lime fruit, exotic florals, honey and a little minerally SO2. The palate is smooth with fresh linear drive. Match with Asian fare over the next 3-4 years. Fruit from the ‘Walsh’ block, Woodbourne, cool-fermented to 10.5% alc., and 20.4 g/L RS, TA 7.7 g/L and pH 2.99. 17.5-/20 Sep 2018 RRP $18.99

Lake Chalice ‘The Raptor’ Marlborough Chardonnay 2017

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright straw-yellow colour with light golden hues, lighter edged. The nose is initially stylishly restrained, but grows in fullness and concentration and blossoming aromas of ripe citrus fruits and yellow stonefruits intermixed with creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak, a little toast and subtle butterscotch MLF complexities. The aromatics are harmoniously interwoven. Medium-full bodied, the palate has fulsome and voluminous flavours of ripe citrus fruits and yellow stonefruits, harmoniously melded with creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak, with hints of toast and butterscotch MLF. The fruit is mouthfilling with intensity, but also crispness and piquancy and poise from the brisk acidity. The wine carries along a fine-textured line growing in richness and detail as it leads to a sustained, nuanced finish. This is a rich, blossoming and fulsome Chardonnay with harmonious citrus fruit, barrel-ferment and nutty oak, with MLF butterscotch notes on a palate with good presence and freshness. Match with roasted seafood, poultry and pork dishes over the next 4 years. Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Reed’ vineyard, Central Wairau Valley, WBP and fully indigenous yeast barrel-fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in new and seasoned French oak barriques, undergoing MLF. 18.5/20 Sep 2018 RRP $23.99

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