Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Grape Of The Week: Chardonnay

Chardonnay: the marmite of the wine world and SO unjustly so.

If someone has a white wine that they don't like, 9 times out of 10, it is Chardonnay. "Oooh, I'll have a glass of Pinot Grigio because I hate Chardonnay!" or "I hate Chardonnay! I'll have a glass of Chablis please." Sod off.

In my opinion, Chardonnay is one of the most versatile white grapes of all time, in the world, ever.
There are so many variations, depending on where it is grown. A Chardonnay from Australia will taste nothing like a Chardonnay from northern Burgundy (like a Chablis). So just because people have this idea in their head that all Chardonnay is creamy and oaky Australian stuff, they write-off the variety completely. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that's racist.

So what Chardonnay could change your mind on the subject? WELL, since you bloody well ask...

Here are a couple that I have picked out because they are completely contrasting: if you don't like one, you will like the other. If you don't like either then you are wrong and I don't like you. Just shows how versatile Chardonnay is.

For something that is crisp, dry, unoaked and zesty (great word: *Zestyyy*), have a go with Bourgogne Chardonnay 'Les Chenaudières' 2012 from the very well known Cave de Lugny. This is a cracking, easy drinking white Burgundy that has none of the musty, woody flavours that people assume every Chardonnay has. This is light and very fresh. Nothing much to dislike about this one, especially at the price. A perfect one to convince Aunty Paininthearse at Christmas that not all Chardonnay is like woody milk. Bourgogne Chardonnay 'Les Chenaudières' 2012 Cave de Lugny is available from Majestic, for just £8.99

Right at the other end of the scale, is Heggies Chardonnay 2011 from Eden Valley in Australia. Heggies is a really highly regarded winery that makes nothing but top-notch stuff, so this really shows how amazing an oaked Chardonnay can be. This definitely falls under the 'creamy whites' category as it is a lot more rounded on the palate than the Burgundy. The flavours here are really intense, due to the low yields in the vineyards so there is so much depth of flavour. Although oaked, it isn't too obvious - the Heggies folks aren't idiots. The wine just has a nice toasty hint which goes really well with the fruit flavours. The perfect wine for Grilled or smoked fish dishes. Heggies Chardonnay 2011 is also available from Majestic for the special off
er price of £18.74. 

Majestic have done pretty well by me this week!

Have you had any Chardonnays which you have REALLY loved? We would love to hear about them. Leave a comment below or tell us on our facebook or twitter pages.


  1. Domaine Talmard Mâcon-Uchizy was always a crowd pleaser at the low end of a list I ran back in 2011/12 - haven't tasted the most recent vintage, but the '10 and '11s were great wines at that price point.

    1. Ooh, thanks Matt! Any other Chardonnay recommendations? :-)

    2. I apologise for my late reply (and expensive taste) but quite partial to a Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne or a Benjamin Leroux Puligny, if you're looking for something cheaper and new world, Escarpment from Martinborough's a good shout.

  2. That is a really good one, like you said, a real crowd pleaser