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Chardonnay - love or hate


Just saw this article from our very own @martin_brown on TWS website:

I very much like the categorisation. I also have to admit that once I was one of those people, who did not shy away from declaring my general disapproval for the variety (aka “I don’t like Chardonnay”). True it has been driven by the oak soup available in 1990s Hungary. That time has passed, I do now applaud the versatility of the grape and I am very much partial to a glass of white Burgundy, be it St. Aubain or Chablis.

There are a few wines in the article that caught my eye…

Where do you stand on the Chardonnay preference scale (I am not going to add the attribute friendly on here…)


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Thank you very much! I’d be very interested to see how people respond to your poll (and quite agree that ‘friendliness’ is too subjective a candidate for inclusion).
This article was a lot of fun to put together and hearing that a few people have already found some vinous tips out of it is a real thrill. Love to hear any thoughts on it that anyone has.


These two are the closest match to my imaginary flavour profile, while the Norman Hardy wine has long been on my wish list, I am intrigued to see the chilean wine’s profile. The Limoux also interesting.


I was also an abc puritan but since really delving into white burgundy, recently sampling excellent us chardonnay and premium oz and south african stuff, it’s right up there.

The lower end of the market is still probably pretty guilty but then those customers want something steady and reliable and won’t break the bank.

Next on the tasting journey is south american blends or single variety so if anyone wants to recommend anything ‘complex’ and even quite oaky then please do!


If I’m going to drink white it will probably be a Chardonnay. Burgundys good but not forget the Maconaisse for better value. Then there’s Kumeu river, dog point and neudorf from New Zealand. I had one from Topiary in South Africa which was a dead ringer for Meursault just last week, but not from TWS. There’s plenty of good stuff around.


Following the advice of the WS Food Matcher I’ll be opening a bottle of the Society’s Australian Chardonnay tonight to accompany a home made Chicken Tikka Masala. I’ll let you know how it goes!


I have two easy drinking chardonnays in my wine rack. One of them was a bit of a revelation, a white Beaujolais, never heard before or since… it is on par with simple macon whites (like the other bottle). Only later did I realise that both are part of the Louis Latour setup. The Macon-Lugny is a crowd pleaser…



I think the poll could have been set up… the average of scores converges to the mean (predictable)… so far a victory for steeliness over fruit (surely, read I am guessing, helped buy more positive extremes in the former).


Call me Mr Thicko, but I can’t work out if scoring 1 is high – e.g. this is my top attribute or low, meaning 5 is the highest number of points one can give…

Suffice it to say that, apart from its prt in Champagne I have only 1 Chardonnay, and that’s 2005 Vineland Estates Winery Chardonnay Musqué brought home fromOntario and forgotten about and probably too old now.

Chardonnay is a winemakers dream because it is so pliable in the winery, and a minefield for consumers as it’s difficut to know how the word ‘Chardonnay’ on the label will be translated in the glass.

I like it as a crisp dry wine (or in Champagne, although I prefer BdN to BdB), and I disliked those oaky buttery monsters that were fashionable not so long ago, but I’d pick a zingy Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux white, Gruner Veltliner, Muscadet or any other white in preference to an unknown Chardonnay…


1 = low, 5 = high.
A minefield indeed!


Thanks, I have now voted !


Surely, if you enjoy a well balanced wine you will mark all three attributes equally. Or am I missing something?


Merely that chardonnays can be incredibly divisive due to people’s preferences regarding the elements included (oak nearly always the biggie!); it was this that got me thinking about the scale when writing the article, and which @szaki1974 wanted to put to a wider vote.


not just Chardonnay - take Cabernet blends; my most frequent disappointments are reds that are described as having unobtrusive oak flavours and to my palate seem dominated by the oak. This also occurs across all price points…


Not just chardonnay, of course, but I have found it a conspicuously oft-maligned grape for this reason. As for reds, this has rang truer with me over the years: I do seem to be less into oaky reds these days. I’ll have to get Knut on the case :wink:


Further to my post of 17th Nov. I followed WS Food Matcher advice and drank WS Australian Chardonnay with chicken tikka masala. Well done Food Matcher, that works very well. The wine is dry and fresh and contrasts well with the richness and strong taste of the curry. It is definitely fruity but a million miles away from the oak enhanced fruit soup that I remember from the last time I tried Aussie chardonnay. I had steered clear of this grape unless produced in France but if this sort of quality is available at £7.25 a bottle I will definitely explore some more.
Long story short - chardonnay is back on my radar!


I will hold my hands high and admit after a mis-spent youth in friends parents pubs I decided that Chardonnay was not the wine for me. I had been exposed to the cheapest, terribly made plonk imaginable. I avoided it like the plague … until in my very early twenties I discovered Chablis :wink:! What a wonderful reintroduction to this extremely diverse and adaptable grape variety. I now am no longer in my early 20’s ( what a shame!) and my palate has developed enough to be able to separate the boys from the men when it comes to decent Chardonnay! Last night I had a lovely St.Veran with some Scottish smoked salmon. Beautiful! I am a convert to well made Chardonnay. However the jury is still out which my favourite is : blanc de blanc or blanc de Noir :thinking::wink:


The great thing about Chardonnay is that it keeps after being opened unlike just about any other white wine - after 24 hours it is actually often better

Has anyone tried the white Macon from Mark and Spencer Vire Clesse Florent Rouve at £14.50 it is quite pricey but you get 25% off for 6 bottles?? I think it is fantastic


What I intensely dislike about Chardonnay is the over use of oak. To me it overpowers the rest of the wine and it’s all I can taste. I deliberate long and hard about a bottle other than Chablis these days. If I ever buy a bottle in a restaurant then I always ask the sommelier beforehand. Two that I do enjoy are Rustenberg Chardonnay (S Africa) and Heirloom Vineyards Chardonnay Adelaide Hills - both I think around the £20 bracket.


I think the current standing of the vote suggests that less oak (2.56) and more steeliness (3.46) is preferred, while fruitiness is bang in the middle (3.04). Obviously these are averages and to be honest I kind of expected all three to average in the middle…