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2014 Moana Park Chardonnay Hawkes Bay

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Moana Park prides itself on making wine on their own terms. This is terrific news for oenophiles everywhere, because the unwavering terms drawn up by Co-owner/Winemaker Dan Barker are nothing short of fantastic. This stupendous expression of New Zealand Chardonnay finds the award-winning vintner at the top of his game, as he allows estate-grown grapes to naturally exude the elegant acidity and opulent texture that’s made the country’s Hawke’s Bay region one of the pillars of global Chard expression. Engaging stone fruit and subtle mineral aromas segue to indulgently creamy blasts of tropical fruit and toasty oak that stay in step with its bright, lingering finish.

About the wine

New Zealand vineyards have been on quite a roll recently. 2014 continued the country’s hot streak through an elongated growing season, which led to extended ripening. This meant there was a lot of estate-grown grapes for Moana Park’s co-owner and winemaking wizard Dan Barker to audition. As always, Dan patiently “listened” to the grapes that produced nothing short of the best expression of Hawke’s Bay’s world-class terroir; once he found them, he turned them into a graceful, lively Chardonnay whose luscious texture and fine acidity can add spunky fun to even the drollest of occasions. Restrained aromatics quickly bloom into a heady expression of stone fruit underscored by nutty oak and nuanced minerality. A creamy, slightly slippery palate transition is marked with lively tropical fruit and toasty barrique essences that drive the experience to a vivacious, sustained finish. This is a wine that further solidifies New Zealand’s already strong standing as a major player in the ever-competitive world of exquisite white wines.

WinemakerDan Barker
Appellation: Hawke's Bay  
- 93pts, Christopher Sawyer, "Somm to the Stars"
-Vivino Rating:
4.4 / 5.0, Vivino Users, 15 Reviews
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay
Vineyards: Estate-grown Hawke’s Bay vines (Gimblett Gravels soil)
Cooperage: 100% barrel fermented in 15% new French barriques
ABV: 14%

About the winery & vineyard

Moana Park to New Zealand wines is not unlike punk rock to music. Since the husband and wife team of Dan and Kaylea Barker hatched the winery’s concept in 2000, they’ve set out to challenge the old guard and their accepted winemaking tendencies. This fist shake towards the viticultural establishment is chiefly rooted in producing wines in a completely natural manner, free from any type of old and new human or technical manipulation. This allows a role reversal of sorts to happen whenever it’s time for Dan to source grapes from his estate vineyards; rather than choosing the grapes that may fit best, the grapes practically volunteer themselves by the way they absorb the terroir. In the case of this stupendous Chardonnay, the grapes stemming from the winery’s Gimblett Road vineyard in the legendary Hawke’s Bay region are the ones raising their metaphorical hands. Firmly ensconced in the appellation’s prized Gimblett Gravels soil, the vineyard enjoy their own unique microclimate, as adjacent hills not only shield the vines from prevailing winds, but they also keep the warm summer temperatures from getting too crazy. This enables the fruit to become gregarious with flavor and acidity, and they left Dan no choice but to select them for the label. The result of this selection process provides definitive proof that even in the wine industry, a little rebellion can go a long way.

 About the winemaker 

As a winemaker, Dan Barker likes to live dangerously. He heads into each vintage knowing that his estate vines tweak their story from vintage to vintage. Yet it’s a variance he embraces wholeheartedly. He unfailingly chooses to eschew the ways of modern technology and even traditionally accepted human tinkering tactics; elements that forcibly morph the grapes’ story into some homogenized narrative. Rather, he’s completely cool with backing off and allowing the grapes to speak on their own behalf through unfettered prose. It’s a maverick style that allowed him to be recognized as New Zealand’s Young Winemaker of the Year in 2003, one year after he finished as the award’s runner-up. It’s also the reason why his name to practically become shorthand for New Zealand viticultural excellence.  

93 pts - Christopher Sawyer, "Somm to the Stars"

"The 2014 Moana Park Chardonnay threw me for a loop. This New Zealand Chardonnay shows a classic racy, high mineral, very acidic nature however instead of fermenting the wine in stainless steel - it goes into spicy French Oak Barrique. Pours to a glowing golden yellow color, the wines elicit flavors of nectarine, peach, lemon-lime, cream, white flower and lighted toasted oak. With the acidity, balance, and firmly integrated oak this Chardonnay will age gracefully and is fully capable of aging for 10+ years like a white Bordeaux." 


Other Details

Alcohol percentage:
New Zealand Goodness in Moana Park 2014 Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay!
4.4 Vivino, Under $16 - Moana Park 2014 Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
4.4 Vivino, Under $16 - Moana Park 2014 Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Dan Barker allows estate-grown Chardonnay grapes to naturally express a tapestry of luscious texture and fine acidity.
Dan Barker allows estate-grown Chardonnay grapes to naturally express a tapestry of luscious texture and fine acidity.
New Zealand’s Young Wmkr of the Year 2003
Compare to Cloudy Bay!
2017-4-20 23:59:00 -08:00:00
#review=Christopher Sawyer, "Somm to the Stars":
93 / 100
#stars_review=Vivino Users (21 ratings):
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Last Day!: 4.4 Vivino, Under $16 - Moana Park 2014 Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

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