September 23, 2019|In Winery Spotlight

Chardonnay & The Golden Trio: Phantom by Bogle Vineyards

Phantom Chardonnay bottle
Hauntingly delicious,

Self described as ‘hauntingly delicious,’ this wine is big. It fills a room (and your mouth) with its presence. A commanding design introduces a wine that is truly enticing.

Phantom is a label owned by the Bogle family. As they have proven time and time again, they can do no wrong when it comes to doing this variety justice. It came to be when reports of mysterious and unexplainable happenings at the winery started becoming more frequent. Chris Smith, the director of winegrowing says “I saw a glimpse of muddy boots and blue jeans and I knew I wasn’t alone…” Cellarmaster Julio Lobato chimes in, “You know that feeling of someone watching from the shadows…”

It’s undeniable that whilst beautiful, the coast of California is rugged and some might say somewhat spooky. Rolling fog enveloping cliff sides that tower over dark oceans stretching to the horizon. If there are tall tales to be told, it’s certainly the setting for them.

Grapes for the Phantom Chardonnay come from Clarksburg, which have a deserved reputation for being some of the most sought-after grapes in California. Barrel fermentation and French oak lend the wine a richness that cannot be ignored, melted caramel and vanilla peeking out from the shadows.


This wine was launched as a pre-release for a select number of our customers who have shown a particular fondness for our ever-popular Bogle Chardonnay in the past, and it sold out before our allocation had even reached New Zealand shores. If this is a whisper for what’s to come, this will definitely appease the phantom. Keep your eyes peeled and you may just catch a glimpse of more to come in the corner of your eye…

We are counting our lucky stars this year in the chardonnay department. It’s no secret that we are all avid fans of this voluptuous, versatile variety and represent a number of them that are simply delicious – from lean Chablis’ to quaffable Cali’s. Imagine our excitement when the opportunity arose for us to get in a bottle of the renowned Château Souverain Chardonnay. They do say good things come in threes, and in this case it really rang true. After seeing roaring success in New Zealand with Bogle Chardonnay, we were offered an offshoot from the Bogle brand, ‘Phantom’ Chardonnay – a good step up from everyone’s staple. And then Virginia Dare followed – a wine with so much history and mystery it’s impossible not to be captivated by it. The golden trio. 2019 is definitely the year of chardonnay!

If the world of wine were to hold a crown, chardonnay would certainly be the golden jewel at its centre.

Chardonnay holds the title for being one of the most widely planted grape varieties in the world. It is a direct descendant of the pinot noir variety (a little fun-fact not known by many.) It was a cross between the pinot noir grape and another ancient variety, the gouais blanc. But unlike the temperamental (albeit delicious,) pinot noir vines from which it came, chardonnay shows an extraordinary adaptability to thrive in almost every region and terroir where it’s cultivated.

Chardonnay had its humble beginnings in none other than Burgundy, and was quickly spread around all the French regions by the monks who tended the vineyards. But it was not the impressive speed of its growing popularity that to this very day makes this golden grape so famous. It was the wine it produced and still continues to produce. The most celebrated Crus in Burgundy, as well as the Blanc de Blancs in Champagne are made from chardonnay.

When the ‘new-world countries’ stepped up to bat, they took reference from the old-world gurus. What was the best made from? How were they doing it? And so, French grape varieties started to spread once more, including chardonnay.

Chardonnay saw nothing but success for centuries. It was the pinnacle of fine wine, with only one rather recent speedbump marring its good name. The ABC (“Anything but chardonnay,”) movement is one which took hold after yet another particularly booming decade in the 90’s. The extreme popularity of chardonnay meant many new-to-the-game producers wanted in on this trend. They started to turn out chardonnays that were heavily oaked in order to poorly mimic the qualities of Burgundy Crus. The oak wasn’t inherently bad, but it was heavily overused in many respects. And thus the ABC movement began – “Anything but chardonnay” were the words uttered by many a consumer for a number of years.

This movement of course, was but a blip for this variety. It takes a little more than a few years of naive over-oaking to permanently damage the glowing reputation it has spent so many years building. In 2016, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association found 32% of people had consumed chardonnay in the last month, making it the UK’s third most popular wine behind Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc (47%). Even the strictest ABC’er not yet willing to let go of the grudge against chardonnay can sometimes be found enjoying a sneaky Chablis every so often…

The chardonnay grapes produce elegant wines with aromas of acacia, hazelnut, almond, brioche and citrus fruit when the wine is young, but that isn’t to say the grape isn’t versatile. Quite the opposite, in fact it boasts a large variety of aromatic possibilities, different palate structures, acidity and body levels, but it almost always remains rich and complex, making this grape variety remarkably easy to pair.

With the spring coming, you will be able to enjoy your glass of chardonnay with all kinds of fish & seafood – to have it cooked or raw will be your only concern. The richness of chardonnay is particularly marvellous with lobster, crab or sushi for example. You could also relish this golden goodness with a large variety of white meats like chicken or pork (perfect for the barbeque…) but also with different cheeses because of its natural acidity.

So pour your glass and enjoy the New Zealand springtime with one of our chardonnays from the golden trio!

2016 Bogle Phantom Chardonnay
“This giant of a wine has more than enough oaky aromas, a full body and toasty, buttery flavors that coat the palate. The vanilla, lemon zest, butter cream and grilled baguette notes are delicious, so this will be a great choice for people who like an all-out oaky style.”
Wine Enthusiast (89 points)