Dog Point Vineyard

Chardonnay 2017


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James Healy and Ivan Sutherland will tell you that it’s hard for them to grow much Chardonnay at the extremely high quality level they want for this wine. As with their Section 94 and Pinot Noir, the wine is distinctive due to extraordinary vineyard holdings, intense vineyard management geared towards low yields and hand-picked fruit, and long, low touch winemaking. The effect this work has on the Chardonnay, by nature the least expressive of these three grape varieties, is wild – the wine is intensely expressive, with loads of fruit, leesy character, and chalky minerality that is almost textural. As with all the wines they produce, it is considered a national standard bearer of a different shade.


Dog Point has Chardonnay planted in part on clay and silty valley floor vineyards, and in part on surrounding clay loam vineyards. Two clones predominate, 75% Mendoza and 25% Clone 95, with some plantings dating back to 1981. Grapes are, as always, hand-picked (95% of New Zealand’s vineyards are machine harvested).
Dog Point operates under what is called the “Biogro” program, an initiative to promote the production of premium quality wine utilizing environmentally friendly and responsible practices, details of which are further down.


Hand picked and gently pressed straight to barrel (15% new) for eighteen months. No juice clarification with 100% wild primary and secondary fermentation. Bottled without fining and with only minimal filtration.


The 2017 harvest will be remembered as the shortest one ever (21 days) at Dog Point Vineyard, later than normal due to the abnormally late summer weather, and finishing before major rain events in mid April. It began with warm spring and summer weather resulting in good bud-burst and desirable even growth. Cool weather followed in early December with dry, and at times windy, weather mid-summer. Late February rain helped replenish the soil prior to harvest, and cooler but otherwise excellent growing conditions prevailed into the autumn. Attentive viticultural practice allowed for optimum physiological ripeness at lower sugars, resulting in impressive fruit flavors.

Tasting Note

Pale straw in color. A pure, bright and youthful citrus driven chardonnay with complex, smokey, flint, toast and biscuit notes derived from extended barrel aging on full solids.

2017 was a strong year for Chardonnay that delivered vibrant, lively acidity. The palate is focused and restrained which unfurls on the finish and exposes the intense citrus core with underlying cashew, nutty flavors.



Grape Varieties





Certified Organic & Sustainable. All vineyards were converted to organic farming in 2009. 2,000 sheep graze and fertilize in winter; prunings are composted and spread; 25 steer also graze the property.



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"Few do it as well as Dog Point"

Wine Advocate - April 2, 2020 "Chardonnay is an underrated variety in Marlborough, but few do it as well there as Dog Point. The 2017 Chardonnay offers up refined aromas of toasted hazelnuts and cashews alongside grilled white peaches and pineapple. A bit brasher in the mouth, it's medium to full-bodied, concentrated and boldly flavored, finishing with lingering citrus flavors of tangerine and grapefruit."

"Resolved, powerful and smooth"

James Suckling - December 5, 2019 "This has such complex and rich style to it with a flinty edge to the peach, grilled-lime and lemon-pith aromas. The palate has really rich textural layering and plenty of peach, grapefruit and pastry flavors. Resolved, powerful and smooth."

More on Dog Point Vineyard Chardonnay 2017

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August 16, 2020 - features the 2017 Dog Point Vineyard Chardonnay in it's recent round-up of non-sauvignon blanc wines to try from New Zealand. The publication reports that, while sauvignon blanc accounts for…

Trade Materials

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Pinot Noir

Dog Point's renown as a Sauvignon Blanc producers has done nothing to lessen the enthusiasm around their Pinot Noir, today considered one of the finest in New Zealand. What sets their wine apart is the generosity of the structure, which comes off as rich but not sweet, and the complex mingling of fruit and savory notes.

Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc

Section 94 is widely regarded as the most distinctive and greatest Sauvignon Blanc being made in New Zealand today. James Healy and Ivan Sutherland were among the first to begin fermenting their Sauvignon in barrel with wild yeasts, a technique that along with the old vines they use, leads to a full-bodied wine that is less fruit-forward, more exotic, and has immense textural complexity.

Sauvignon Blanc

Dog Point's Sauvignon Blanc has become the icon in its category, a stainless steel Sauvignon Blanc that pulsates with energy, expressiveness and complexity that push the boundaries of what you may expect from Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.