Despite what they say there is a Chardonnay for everyone
This section doesn’t really list, but I would have liked to find a way to provide you with details of all the great Chardonnays that I have tasted over the past year. Going through my containment notes, I came across over 30 great wines, ranging from € 15 to € 80. I don’t think any other white grape has given me such pleasure. In addition to many Burgundy wines (and almost every white Burgundy is 100% Chardonnay), there were superb wines from Italy, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, California, Jura and many other parts of France. .
I know from the pre-Covid tastings that some consumers still have lingering doubts about Chardonnay, still marked by distant memories of these huge alcoholic and woody monsters of yesteryear. However, once you put a glass of cool, light, crunchy and refreshing Chardonnay in front of them, most are instantly converted. Lynne Coyle, Wine Director at O’Briens, says: “Chardonnay is such a diverse style depending on where it was grown, the vintage and the influence of the winemaker. I tend to suggest that when people don’t like Chardonnay, it’s because they haven’t found the right one yet.
She adds that “classics like Chablis, Mâcon and Pouilly-Fuissé sell very well and always have. Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault are gourmet bottles but also have a good audience. We regularly recommend other areas that offer value for guests who like a more understated Burgundian style, such as Domaine Begude in Limoux, Stonier in the Mornington Peninsula and the Leyda Valley in Chile.
At the restaurant, I always check if the menu contains wines from Mâconnais in the south of Burgundy. They are generally reliable, good value for money and suitable for a wide variety of dishes. If you prefer a fresher chardonnay style, look to Chablis, Tasmania, Limoux or New Zealand and enjoy them with oysters. Wines from warmer climates tend to have a wider, fuller texture that pairs well with so many foods. A good Chardonnay with scallops, lobster or black sole is divine.
Unlike who I am, I sometimes miss these textured, woody chardonnays. They are increasingly difficult to find and excellent with richer fish dishes and creamy chicken and pork. The Rustenburg below is a prime example. In addition to the four wines below, I wrote online about the excellent Louis Latour Grand Ardèche, available for the full price of € 18 in SuperValu as part of their French wine sale.
Chardonnay has happily traveled the world for the past 50 years and is planted in virtually every wine producing country. In many cases, it takes on a unique local flavor, so there is a huge range of fascinating wines. All you have to do is find the style that suits you.
Duc de Belmont 2018, Jean Loron, Coteaux Bourguignons Blanc
12.5%, € 12.95 versus € 18.95
A lightly aromatic Chardonnay with clean, round pear and green apple fruit enhanced by a touch of honey. To drink alone or with salmon and chicken dishes.
Of O’Briens, obriens.ie.
Burgundy Hautes Côtes de Beaune 2019, Domaine Nicolas
13%, € 17.42
It’s a delicious pure Chardonnay, a perfect balance of apple and pear fruit, vibrant acidity with a hint of toasted oak. Classic Burgundy at an incredible price.
Of Wine Spark, winepark.com.
Zorzal Terroir Unico Chardonnay 2019, Tupungato Valley, Argentina
12.5%, € 17.95
A wonderfully refreshing unoaked Chardonnay from high altitude vineyards. Vibrant yet textured with beautiful pure peach fruit.
Of The Wicklow Wine Co, Wicklow, wicklowwineco.ie; Baggot Street Wines, D4, baggotstreetwines.com; Cave Blackrock, Blackrock, blackrockcellar.com; Lilliput stores, D7, lilliputstores.com.
Rustenberg Chardonnay 2020, Stellenbosch
13.5%, € 20-€ 24
A rich, round Chardonnay with ripe, creamy tropical fruits, apricots and subtle toasted almonds. Try this with chicken in a creamy mushroom sauce.
Of Baggot Street Wines, D4, baggotstreetwines.com; Cave Blackrock, Blackrock, blackrockcellar.com; Whelehan wines, Loughlinstown, whelehanswines.ie; Sweeneys D3, sweeneysd3.ie; Martin’s Off License, D3, martinsofflicence.ie; Mortons of Galway, mortonsofgalway.ie; The Wicklow Wine Co, Wicklow, wicklowwineco.ie; Purple onion, Tarmonbarry, purpleonion.ie; The Rower, Carrick-on-Shannon, theoarsman.com