Didi you know that Chardonnay is the most planted white wine grape in the world?
If your first thought is of thick, buttery, mouth-filling, vanilla-oaked Chardonnays, like those historically from Australia and Burgundy in France and that stops you in your tracks, then don’t be put off. Chardonnay is such an extremely versatile grape. There are 3 different styles of wine produced from the Chardonnay grape, meaning that there really is something for everyone’s tastes
1. Citrussy and unoaked Chardonnay
If you love crisp, dry, elegant Sauvignon Blanc then you will be pleasantly surprised by this style of Chardonnay.
Typically exhibiting hints of green apple, lemon peel and chalky minerality these fresh, light Chardonnays are best drunk young, with the exception of some Grand Crus Chablis, and can make the perfect alternative to Sauvignon Blanc. These Chardonnays are generally grown in cooler climates – New Zealand, Eastern Australia, pacific North West US, Chile, the Loire and parts of Burgundy and pair well with scallops, oysters, white fish and full cream cheeses
We have these gems to try:
Domaine Gautheron Chablis 2018, Burgundy, £15.95
Wonderfully balanced and incredibly highly rated, this is an absolutely fantastic Chablis from a great producer and a lovely vintage.
Catherine & Didier Tripoz Macon Charnay, Clos des Tournons 2019, Burgundy, £10.95
Catherine and Didier Tripoz have made a lovely crisp, dry and harmonious Macon. Smooth and elegant but with a freshness and crisp minerality that excites the palate.
Domaine des Tilleuls Chardonnay Valle de Loire 2019,£8.95
Crisp, soft, vibrant and fresh with lovely long flavours that last and last. Quite different to most Chardonnays as this is dry, racy, without oak and with a long mineral aftertaste. It has similarities to the Sauvignon from the same winery but with a softness on the finish.
Murphy Vineyards Big River Chardonnay South EastAustralia 2019, £7.65
Ripe tropical fruits on the nose – hints of pineapple and melon. Rich, tropical fruits in the mouth and no oak. Soft and rounded with a long fruity finish.
2. Sparkling Chardonnay
Chardonnay is one of the 3 permitted grapes in Champagne, usually blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier but any Champagne described as ‘Blanc de Blancs’ or ’white of whites’ is made purely from Chardonnay grapes. Expect luxurious honeycomb, toasted vanilla and hazelnut characteristics, with hints of lemon zest, minerals, lime and honeysuckle. They pair particularly well with salty, fried dishes like calamari and - dare we say it – fish and chips!
Our Apollonis Theodorine Rose Brut, £25.95 isa blend of all 3 of the grapes used in Champagne, but its high concentration of Chardonnay – 50% - bring out peach, floral and mineral notes, highlighting the fruitiness which makes a rose Champagne special.
Named after the wine maker’s grandmother, Champagne ApollonisPalmyre Brut Natur, £27.95 is 30% Chardonnay, also made without th eaddition of sugar to further enhance the natural toasty, biscuity notes.
Both these Champagnes are from low yield, single vineyard - thereby ensuring the highest quality - grapes, and the producer, Michel Loriot, plays music to the grapes (hence Apollonis!) to encourage growth.
3. Creamy oaked Chardonnay
These are the more traditionally recognisable full-bodied Chardonnays from warmer climes and typified by hints of butterscotch, vanilla oak, poached pear and lemon curd. A process known as malolactic fermentation, using lactic acid found in milk, gives the wine its trademark thick, buttery, hazelnutty smoothness in the mouth. These Chardonnays really hold their own when paired with creamy, heavy dishes like mushroom risotto, lobster thermidor and chicken, leek and ham pie, complimenting them really well
Give one of these mouth filling favourites a try:
McGuigan Black Label Chardonnay, South East Australia 2020, £7.65
Lovely traditional Chardonnay from this popular Australian producer. Tropical, full and with a hint of oak balanced with zingy fruit
Rustenberg Chardonnay 2020, Stellenbosch SouthAfrica, £13.95
Intense tropical apricot and orange combine with almonds and marzipan to create a rich, full complex Chardonnay with bold flavours. Balanced oak notes complete this powerful, tasty wine.
Didier Delagrange Saint Romain 2017, Burgundy, £25.95
With a strong but not overpowering oaky nose and smooth peaches and vanilla in the mouth this is rich, creamy and lingers at the finish. A superb example of white Burgundy at its best
Domaine Alain Chavy Puligny Montrachet 2017, Burgundy £47.75
Citrus fruits and ripe peaches, intermingled with delicate hints of oak, leap out of the glass. A rich and complex Chardonnay with a fresh minerality and lingering fruit, demonstrating a really fantastically balanced wine