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93-Point, Sub-$16 Chardonnay from a Vanguard Winemaker - 02/13/2018 - New Zealand

Jules Taylor is a name you’ll want to remember. This rising star in the wine world cut her teeth while working for the legend Kim Crawford. Since branching out on her own, Taylor has been quietly making some of the most impressive and affordably priced wines in New Zealand today. When you consider the explosion of talent we’ve seen in NZ of late, her ascendance to the top is all the more impressive. While her Pinots may dominate the conversation, her Chardonnay is truly captivating and equally worthy of your attention. Earning 93-points from Decanter, the 2016 Chard outpaced numerous contenders, placing it in the “Highly Recommended” category. Having tasted the wine ourselves, we can say it is more than worthy of such high accolades. This is not the New Zealand Chardonnay of old, dominated by overly ripe fruit, big oak, and butter notes. On the contrary, it is focused, clean, fresh, and infinitely refreshing. What struck us most was how harmonious and perfectly balanced the whole package is. We’d happily pay over $40 for a wine this well composed, but good for us (and for you!) we were able to secure it for the terrific price of $15.99. This 2016 is drinking beautifully now, but has the depth to develop for another five to ten years. There’s not a lot of sub-$20 Chardonnays that can make such a claim. The wine press have been giving Jules Taylor more and more attention, which inevitably means price increases are on the way. But for now, this is a magnificent opportunity to secure a world-class Chardonnay at a bargain price.

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2016 Jules Taylor Chardonnay Marlborough ($15.99)

93 points Decanter: "An exquisite, feminine style of Chardonnay, this is showing delicate lemony tones combining harmoniously with florals and stone fruits. The seamless oak gives a playful attitude to this wine, and the acidity sits respectfully alongside." (02/2018)

Raymond Chan: "Bright straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale edged. The nose is full and voluminous with up-front, refreshing yellow stonefruit and citrus fruit aromas melded a lemon-curd and butterscotch MLF layer to form a deep core, which reveals subtle creamy and nutty oak elements. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a bright and lively heart of stonefruits and citrus fruits along with creamy barrel-ferment and nutty oak notes, overlaid by lemon-curd and butterscotch MLF flavours. The mouthfeel is refreshing with brisk acidity and the wine flows along a fine-textured line, leading to a lacy finish of citrus fruits and butterscotch. This is a bright and lively, refreshing Chardonnay stonefruit and citrus flavours, balanced oak and layers of creamy, buttery MLF. Serve with creamy-sauced seafood, poultry and pork dishes over the next 3-4 years. Fruit from 3 sites in the Southern Valleys, WBP and indigenous yeast barrel-fermented with light solids to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 9 months in French oak undergoing batonnage and partial MLF conversion. 17.5/20 points" (05/2017)

Bob Campbell: "Pleasing, well-made fruit-driven chardonnay with white peach, ginger and nutty lees flavours. The wine has good weight and a perfect balance of alcohol and fruit sweetness against gentle acidity and fine tannins. Good value at this price. *Four Stars*" (01/2017)

Staff ImageBrian Fogarty | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 06, 2018

Its not often you can watch a rising star on their ascension, but purchasing modestly priced Jules Taylors wines will soon be part of the good old days conversation. Remember when you could buy her Chard for under $16? With the recent press (Feb 17 Decanter Magazine feature) and her strong resume as Kim Crawfords assistant winemaker many years ago, the Marlborough native is surely destined for loftier price points in the years to come; at least she deserves it! So I am putting 2 bottles in my fridge and 4 in the closet for a summer of last hoo-rah with her 2016 Marlborough Chard. The wine has a rich, penetrating bouquet immediately out of the glass with yellow flowers, ripe white peaches and field herbs partnered with balanced oak and malo. On the palate the wine is alive and energetic with lime-lemon citrus and a firm acidity that allows only a light kiss of oak to echo into the finish. Already an artisan, Jules Taylor has truly delivered a beautifully balanced wine that leaves you guessing and contemplating as you return for more and more.

Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 06, 2018

Talk about a great bang for your buck. Perfectly balanced, not too oaky, and definitely not overwhelmingly buttery. The Jules Taylor Chardonnay is easily one of the best Chards we carry in the store for under 20 bucks. Definitely worth a whirl. I could also see this Chard pairing very well with oysters.

Staff ImageKirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 06, 2018

Having fallen in love with the Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blancs that we have carried I should not have been surprised with how good this Chardonnay is. Cool apple with a hint of something tropical, a touch of spice and something else that I cannot pin down. It is medium bodied with really good mouthfeel backed by crisp acidity and nice length. A chardonnay for all occasions, and all drinker old world and new.

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 04, 2018

Chardonnay coming out of Marlborough is not a common thing to come across as the land is often utilized for the more popular Sauvignon Blanc. After tasting this wine, I find the lack of Chardonnay to be a tragedy. This wine has a great acid line from the cooler climate site, yet great richness of fruit from the long, bright sunny days of the South Island. The Southern Valleys tend to produce wines with a little more texture and richness, and while this wine possesses these qualities, it is not in any way cloying or sweet. It is bright, fresh, with just a hint of texture from oak. This is a great value for such a rare find and most definitely a Chardonnay to suit any palate.