Seven super chardonnays
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A grapevine chameleon, winemakers covet chardonnay for its ability to be the wine they wish to craft – be it rich and buttery, crisp and steely, oaked or unoaked, in a champagne blend or standalone blanc de blancs.
A glorious straw gold that beams from the glass, wine-lovers, meanwhile, cherish chardonnay for its absolute drinkability.
We’ve even named our daughters after it. Indeed, when it comes to chardonnay, it’s all about choice.
From classically juicy oaky, to those with a little more restraint and some with no oak influence at all, we’ve rounded up some generous chardonnay styles to showcase the greatness of the world’s most famous white grape…
1. Morrisons West Australian Chardonnay 2018, Australia, £8.25, Morrisons
A good, honest expression of modern chardonnay with teasing tropical aromas on the nose, attractively ripe and juicy flavours of peach and citrus fruits in a creamy but crisp style, topped with refreshing acidity for a fresh, balanced finish. Lively and lightly oaked, it ticks all the right boxes as an easy-drinking charmer.
2. Villa Maria Private Bin Chardonnay, East Coast 2019, New Zealand, £9.50, Tesco
If you’re still treading lightly with chardonnay and a bit coy about switching your trusty savvy blanc’s green, tangy flavours for something more tropical, this is the chard for you. Delightfully unrestrained with impeccable freshness and subtle suggestion of oak, an express train of ripe peach and citrusy blossomy fruits make this expression uncomplicated and beautifully refreshing.
3. Adnams White Burgundy 2019, Cuvée Paul Talmard, Burgundy, France, currently £9.99 (was £10.99), Adnams
Another reason to celebrate chardonnay, this unoaked Burgundy blonde shows real purity of flavour with lovely concentration. Fragrant honeydew melon and peachy aromas lead to an array of tropical fruits, with ripe peach, pear and melon flavours and a beam of juicy acidity on the fresh, focused finish.
4. M&S Journey’s End Winemaker’s Reserve Chardonnay 2020, Stellenbosch, South Africa, £12, Marks & Spencer stores
There are many rich, rounded chardonnays out there but this one really hits home. A ripe nose of toasty honeysuckle, followed by vanilla, peaches and cream, touch of almond, citrus and tropical fruits with well-judged oak and refreshing acidity keeping the flavours tangy and vibrant. A joyous glass.
5. Berry Bros & Rudd White Burgundy by Collovray & Terrier 2019, Burgundy, France, £13.95, Berry Bros & Rudd
Another brilliant Burgundy blonde, this one’s marked by some light toasty complexity from gentle oak ageing, offering tiers of ripe white peaches, honeydew melon that’s smooth and fleshy with floral touches, hints of hazelnuts and subtle mineral notes. The flavours extend beautifully into the long, refreshing finish. Classy and artfully balanced.
6. Robert Oatley Finisterre Chardonnay 2018, Margaret River, Australia, £19.99, Waitrose
An extremely elegant chardonnay from Western Australia’s most famous wine region. An enticing nose of ripe stone fruits with vanilla oak and nutty undertones draws you in, with a rich and complex palate showing citrus blossom, melon, nectarine, roasted nuts, nougat and a long, fine thread of acidity. Really expressive, it’s pure, persistent and perfectly on point.
7. Marimar Estate Acero Chardonnay 2018, Russian River Valley, California, USA, £26.50, Fareham Wine Cellar
California’s a goldmine for world-class chardonnay to rival the best of Burgundy, and this one’s strikingly sleek and rich. Especially when you consider ‘Acero’ is Spanish for steel – and plays up the fact this wine has no oak influence, showcasing the grape in all its naked, unoaked glory. Aromas of baked apple and orange blossom are joined by a touch of lemon zest, with an appealing creamy rich palate backed by refreshing acidity giving the wine another dimension with hints of wet stone fruits. Utterly delicious from word go, it’s bright, beautiful and dangerously easy to drink.