The World’s Best Chardonnays
Love it or leave, there’s no denying that Chardonnay is one of the world’s most popular wines. The Burgundian grape is also one of the most successful international grape varieties. Wherever winemakers produce wine, someone is making Chardonnay. A versatile grape, winemakers love Chardonnay for its ability to pick up on the nuances of its terroir as well as winemaking decisions like the addition of oak or lees stirring. Although it’s made everywhere, there are a few standout Chardonnay regions in the wine world. These are the must drink regions you should try.
Chardonnay’s home region and where some of the most beautifully expressive and expensive Chardonnays are made. To the northern extremes of Burgundy, Chablis is the place to look for mineral-driven, citrusy Chardonnay. Head south to the Cote de Beaune’s Montrachet and Meursault for the ageable oaked versions.
The Chardonnay grape helped make California famous as a wine region. For riper, luscious, oaked Chardonnay, Napa Valley is the classic region. For more Old World styles, you can’t do better than Mendocino in the north or the cool Santa Barbara County to the south.
There’s lots of excellent Chardonnay in Australia. Cool climate Yarra Valley makes elegant versions, with unbeatable finesse. They also use their high acid Chardonnays to make sparkling wine. Tropical pineapple laden Chardonnays can be found east in the Margaret River. Finally, rising star Tasmania offers incredible Chardonnays on par with the finest in the New World.
If you love cool climate Chardonnay, New Zealand will treat you right. Subtle and elegant, with loads of savoury minerality and bright lemon zest notes, regions like Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay are leading the way for these world-class wines.
Although it’s home to a wealth of indigenous grapes, many international varieties have a stronghold in Italy. Chardonnay is no exception. Tuscany makes some of the best in the Italian peninsula. They can be quite ripe but still possess plenty of finesse and can even be good candidates for cellaring.
Naturally, many other fantastic Chardonnay regions exist. Chile, South Africa, Canada, and New York all produce wonderful Chardonnay that any self-respecting fan of the grape should try. If you need help on where to find Chardonnays from some of these regions, electronic sommelier can offer a list of wine bar and restaurant suggestions near you.