If you’re a fully fledged member of the “ABC” crowd then stick with us, as we’re certain there’s a Chardonnay out there for you.
And as Thursday 23rd May is International Chardonnay Day, we’re on a mission to convince you to give this divisive grape another chance!
Crisp and fresh or buttery and toasty, Chardonnay is one of wine’s most versatile grapes and can be made in a variety of styles.
Much of this variation is down to where the grape is grown.
Chablis, in Northern Burgundy, produces vibrant, lemony wines which represent Chardonnay in the raw form, while grapes grown in warmer climates such as California and Australia’s Margaret River ripen more, resulting in wines tasting more of peach and tropical fruit than green fruit and citrus.
Further south in Burgundy, in the village of Meursault, wines are rounder and creamier thanks to a process known as malolactic fermentation and develop a bready flavour through oak ageing.
But the Chardonnay grape isn’t only used in still wines, it’s also commonly used to create Champagne and English Sparkling Wines.
Here are five Chardonnay wines we think would be perfect for sipping in celebration of International Chardonnay Day.
Domaine Servin Chablis Les Pargues 2017
With the classic aromas of green apple and citrus, this wine offers great ripeness and intensity with hints of peach shining through.
Once itself an official Premier Cru vineyard, Les Pargues sits between Premiers Crus Montmains and Vaillons, the Chablis from which sets you back up to £30 a bottle.
The difference is Les Pargues was abandoned during World War I and declassified – understandable then, but not now when you taste the quality.
In the 1950s the Servin family began to restore Les Pargues and now 50 year old vines deliver wine of impressive concentration.
Seventh generation custodian François Servin now lavishes Premier Cru attention on Les Pargues, ensuring wine with the honeyed minerality of great Chablis.
We love this in the sunshine served with a plate of fresh oysters seasoned with the slightest squeeze of lemon juice.
Try it for yourself. Order Domaine Servin Chablis Les Pargues 2017 for £17.99 a bottle.
Domaine Jean Monnier et Fils Meursault Vieilles Vignes 2016
You simply cannot ignore the magnificence of this Meursault, with its creamy, rich complexity which marries ripe peach and toasty, nutty flavours.
It shows why the Chardonnay grape and the terroir of Burgundy are so revered.
The Monnier family established their domaine in 1720 and today the estate is run by direct descendants Jean-Claude and Nicolas Monnier.
Barrel fermenting prior to ageing in oak lends a beautifully subtle and well-integrated toasted hazelnut character to the wine.
This wine is just perfect by itself but won’t be overshadowed by a rich and creamy chicken chasseur either.
At £32 a bottle it’s probably one for a special occasion, but it’s definitely worth it for the quality. Try Domaine Jean Monnier et Fils Meursault Vieilles Vignes 2016 for yourself.
Shaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay 2017
Using methods that wouldn’t be out of place with Grand Cru Burgundy, this is terrific Aussie white offers all of the fresh peach, apple and citrus fruit flavours you’d expect from a warmer climate Chardonnay, perfectly balanced with creamy, toasty and biscuity notes.
Barrel fermentation with wild yeasts and oak ageing with lees stirring have helped to develop a rich, complex white of real class.
Shaw and Smith began in 1989 when, over a family lunch, cousins Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith decided to realise a long held dream: to make wine together.
They brought together a wealth of experience and set up in the ultra premium Adelaide Hills.
For an ultra indulgent movie night treat try this with buttery popcorn for the perfect food and wine match.
Shaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay 2017 is available online for £32 a bottle.
Los Rosales Chapel Vineyard Chardonnay 2018
One of Chile’s oldest estates, Viña La Rosa is renowned in particular for its fine Chardonnay.
Pure, bright and fresh, take in this wine’s crisp peach, apple and lemon notes.
The fruit comes from the cellar’s Cornellana vineyard, which has the historic Ossa family chapel at its centre, hence the wine’s name.
A delight on its own but also excellent with a fresh and crunchy salad for a light yet elegant meal.
Order Los Rosales Chapel Vineyard Chardonnay 2018 online for £9.99 a bottle.
Laithwaite Champagne Cuveé Anniversaire Brut Premier Cru 50th 2002
What better way to celebrate International Chardonnay Day than with a celebratory bottle of our very own Champagne?
Made from pure Chardonnay from the grower Paul Goerg and the outstanding 2002 vintage and then aged for five years on its lees (the standard is two), it has lovely, creamy, toasty brioche notes as well as citrus, honeyed fruit.
Our fine Champagne marks the 50 year anniversary of Laithwaite’s and is the perfect bottle when only the best will do.
Order your bottle of Laithwaite Champagne Cuveé Anniversaire Brut Premier Cru 50th 2002 online for £49.99.