Posted on February 3rd, 2011
Despite the decline in popularity in recent years, Chardonnay remains one of the world’s great white grapes, capable of producing wines of varying styles, depending on where it is grown and who is making it. I think it’s brilliant and I’m currently loving new world styles.
Below, two classic French styles alongside two from the antipodes and one from the US of A.
1. Clos du Val Chardonnay, California, 2006 (€16)
This is nice rich example of Chardonnay which many producers have shied away from in recent years. Opulent, sensuous but with a perfect balance between gorgeous juicy fruit and oak, a crisp, long rewarding finish. Could easily be confused with a pricey premier cru from Burgundy. Rediscover your inner love of well made Chardonnay with this stunner.
With food? Roast chicken, stuffing or fish/chicken with rich creamy sauce
Available from: O’Brien’s
2. Domaine Maurice Lecestre Chablis 2008 (€18 approx.)
Chablis is famous for light and clean wines, a world away from the Chardonnay further south in the heart of Burgundy. Wines from the best plots In Chablis, Premier Cru and even Grand Cru are often more concentrated but are still light and crisp. This one is crisp and refreshing with a lovely minerality with notes of crunchy granny smith apples. In style, very different from the other Chardonnays this week.
With food? Lighter salads, or oysters
Available from: good wine shops nationwide (find using wine-searcher.com)
3. Innocent Bystander, Yarra Valley, South Australia Victoria 2009 (€13-€14)
Australian chardonnay is definitely back. Yarra Valley has a cool climate which means a refined, elegant style of chardonnay here with zesty citrus and a rich texture and toasty nutty flavours and a nice minerality. Not the sappy, sugary style of old, with any richness offset with a refreshing clean, crisp precision. Class in a glass.
With food? Roast chicken or fish in cream sauces
Available from: Mitchell & Son, Drinkstore (Stoneybatter) and good wine shops nationwide (find using wine-searcher.com)
4. Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay 2005 (€40)
The Aussies aren’t the only ones making classy Chardonnay. New Zealand elegantly demonstrates, again, that it’s more than a one trick pony. “It’s a field full of ponies ™” and thoroughbred producer, Ata Rangi are behind this one.
A major step up in quality and price, but it’s staggeringly good. Peach, orange peel, toasty honied notes and all the good stuff you get with Meursault.
With food? Crab or salmon in a rich creamy sauce
Available from: good wine shops nationwide (use wine-searcher.com to find it online)
5. Chanson Meursault 2007 (€40, bought in sale for €25)
This is more restrained, more elegant than many of the overly buttery Meursaults. Lots of lovely minerality, a flavour seen throughout this week’s picks.
Pink grapefruit, brioche and honey all melding to form what is one of the best Chardonnays I’ve had in quite a while. Keep for a special dinner, and keep your eye on O’Brien’s when this can be reduced by as much as €15.
With food? Rich fish dishes or lobster
Available from: O’Brien’s wines
Over to you
What do you reckon, is chardonnay back?