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Wine Guide > Chardonnay


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Chardonnay is a versatile grape. In cold regions such as Chablis, it shows crisp acidity and flavours of green hay with the flinty notes typical of the terroir - the wine even has a green tinge. Just 100 miles south, in the Côte de Beaune, the white Burgundies are much riper and richer, reflecting warmer conditions and the increasing use of oak.

Chardonnay wines taste very different when the vines are grown in hot climates such as those in the plains of California and Australia. The conditions ensure ripe grapes, which lead to high levels of alcohol in the wine, and rich flavours of peach, melon, citrus and tropical fruits. In the 1980’s and 1990’s many New World winemakers responded to these bold flavours with equally bold use of oak, ageing the wine for long periods in new oak barrels. The cheap way to add oakiness would be the addition of staves or wood chips to wine in stainless steel containers. The intention was to impart complexity to the wines by introducing desirable aromas of vanilla, caramel, and butteriness. Too often the result tasted like chewing on a piece of wood, and this led to something of a consumer backlash against heavy, oaky Chardonnays. Winemakers in Australia and New Zealand reacted with completely unoaked Chardonnays from cooler climates, whereas in the United States there was more emphasis on controlling the oaking process. Thus they experimented with oak from different sources (French, American, Central European oaks all have different effects on wine), with different treatments (for instance toasting the barrels imparts smokiness and toast flavours) and reduced the oak influence by using bigger barrels (which have less oak per volume of wine), oaking only some of the wine in the blend, or using a mix of harsh new oak and older barrels.
More information on Chardonnay
Food Pairing: Pairs well with any poultry and Vietnamese cuisine. Wonderful with fruits, strong cheeses and capers. Also works beautifully with grilled freshwater fish. On a hot day, a very cold chardonnay served with a plate of figs, balsamic vinegar, and a salty hard
381 wines
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Mario Perelli-Minetti Winery
CAW Rating: 94
1 reviews

2001 Chardonnay
Napa Valley

more about Santa Cruz Mountain Estate Chardonnay
Zayante Vineyards
CAW Rating: 95
1 reviews

2003 Santa Cruz Mountain Estate Chardonnay
Santa Cruz Mountains

A beautiful aroma of crisp green apples and pears fill the nose. The luscious flavors on the palate are highlighted by toasty oak and a slight flinty complexity from our soil. The ...morelong finish is reminiscent of a fine French white burgundy. 14.3% alcohol by volume.

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Tin Roof Wines
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2006 Chardonnay

Our 2006 Chardonnay displays fresh apple and ripe peach aromas with subtle creme brulee and toasted almond tones. The wine’s bright, creamy mid-palate flavors segue into a long, el ...moreegant finish that makes this Chardonnay a marvelous accompaniment to fish and chicken dishes, game birds, pork and cream-sauce pastas.
Calera Wine Company
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1995 Chardonnay
Mt. Harlan

Wine Spectator reviewed this wine in 1998 as follows: "Smooth, ripe, rich and concentrated, with a focused core of spicy pear, hazelnut, fig, melon and light toasty oak. Complex an ...mored inviting, finishing with a spicy flavor and fine length. 90 points." Laurie Daniel, writing just two months ago (Sept. 7, 2005) in the San Jose Mercury-News, wrote: "They also poured a 1995 Mt. Harlan Chardonnay to let me see how the wine ages. It was rich, fleshy and still vibrant."

more about Chardonnay Lucia Highland Vineyard
Pessagno Winery
CAW Rating: 97
1 reviews

2005 Chardonnay Lucia Highland Vineyard

Lucia Highland Vineyard is located in the northern region of the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County and just a stone’s throw across the street from our winery. Ou ...morer second release of the Lucia Highlands Vineyard Chardonnay is rich and elegant, offering deep concentrated layers of apple, ripe pear, and pineapple, with a hint of caramel from oak aging. The lingering butterscotch finish, coupled with firm natural acidity, will invite you back for continued enjoyment. Pair this wine with grilled chicken, pork, or creamy pasta dishes. 462 cases produced
more about Wedell Cellars Edna Valley Chardonnay
Wedell Cellars
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2002 Wedell Cellars Edna Valley Chardonnay

The 2002 vintage marks the third vintage that all of our fruit comes from our own hillside vineyards. In our continuing efforts to produce a world class wine we have aggressively p ...moreruned our vineyards to keep our yields low and our quality at its peak, this resulted in keeping our yields to less than two tons per acre. Upon harvest we whole cluster press, use indigenous yeast for primary fermentation, then induce malolactic fermentation to soften the high acids that result from our north facing hillside vineyards. The wine was completely barrel fermented and completed primary fermentation on October 25TH 2002. We then induced mallolactic fermentation and that finished completely on December 30th 2002. The lees were stirred biweekly through January 2004. In keeping with our philosophy that less is more, we bottled this wine unfined and unfiltered on May 11, 2004.
Antelope Valley Winery
CAW Rating: 98
1 reviews

2006 Chardonnay

This is our third vintage from 100% Antelope Valley grown Chardonnay grapes. This is an exceptional white wine that shows the great fruit complexity that is present as our vineyard ...more matures.
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River Grove Winery
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2005 Chardonnay

River Grove Winery's 2005 Chardonnay brings you the new direction in Chardonnay wine - a fresh, crisp and fruitful taste of pear and melon with just a hint of oak. The nose is clea ...moren and stimulating, and the color shows a passing whim of green against a starbright body.

This wine pairs particularly well with oysters and shellfish, and is a natural with salads and appetizers. It is delicious just by itself as a cooling and refreshing wine for warm days.

Winemaker's Selection, Estate Bottled and initially released in late summer of 2006, this wine has already become one of our favorites.

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Laura’s Vineyard
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2005 Chardonnay
Paso Robles

Laura's Vineyard 2005 Chardonnay is stainless steel fermented and aged, to bring bright, acid-driven fruit to the forefront. Full-bodied and flavorful, with nicely mixed stone frui ...morets, pineapple, green apples and lemony citrus.
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Page Mill Winery
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2006 Chardonnay

This Chardonnay is a traditional French Style chardonnay with a dry finish and limited oak use. With soft fruit in the front and a hint of oak on the mid palate, this Chardonnay is ...more round and rich with a soft, creamed butter through the finish and medium acids.
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Mitchell Katz Winery at Ruby Hill
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2005 Chardonnay
Livermore Valley, Shadow Hills Vineyard

Ledson Winery & Vineyards
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2004 Chardonnay, Carneros Reserve
Carneros Region

Aromas of apples and peaches lead into a smoky, vanilla finish. Two different fermentation processes lend complexity and richness to this wine. The wild yeast fermentation brings f ...moreorth subtle fruit nuances while the prise de mousse fermentation highlights the bolder citrus flavors of lemon and grapefruit.

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Bedford Thompson Winery
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2002 Chardonnay
Los Alamos Hills

This rich, full-blown Chardonnay doesn't hold back. Abundant tropical fruit flavors and voluptuous texture are typical of Chardonnay from the Los Alamos wine region, and we embrace ...more it. The 2002 harkens back to our 2000 vintage that scored 90 points in Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. The wine shows the flavors of quince, pineapple, lemon, coconut, butter and mineral tones. A complete barrel fermentation (38% new French oak) and malolactic fermentation gives rise to a creamy texture, flavors that are expansive, and a long finish. Nine months in French oak provides a toasty vanilla component.
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Edna Valley Vineyard
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2005 Chardonnay
Edna Valley

The 2005 Edna Valley Vineyard Chardonnay is significant for its sense of place. As is typical when making good Chardonnays, we used techniques such as barrel fermentation, malolact ...moreic fermentation, lees stirring and new oak barrels. Our goal is to balance these techniques with the unique flavors that come from Edna Valley.
more about Reserve Chardonnay
Edna Valley Vineyard
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2005 Reserve Chardonnay
Edna Valley

Edna Valley Chardonnay is significant for its distinct sense of place. In crafting the 2005 Edna Valley Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay, we hand-picked the grapes and sent them direct ...moreto press as whole clusters. As is typical of good Chardonnays, we use techniques like 100% barrel fermentation, malolactic fermentation (44%), lees stirring and use of new oak barrels (65%). We cold stabilized and filtered the wine prior to bottling.This wine is intended to be our most intensely flavored Chardonnay, with concentrated grape flavors of peach and citrus, enhanced by lots of smoky oak and vanilla from new French barrels and mellow, caramel and hazelnut flavors from malolactic fermentation. The wine is round on the palate and long in the finish, with a crisp acidity that keeps it from being cloying. This lovely wine is the perfect accompaniment to crab cakes with lemon aioli, fresh cooked lobster and crispy roasted chicken.
more about Chardonnay Estate
White Crane Winery
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2003 Chardonnay Estate
Livermore Valley

Pear & green apple flavors, with a hint of toasty oak & butter finish. Pairs well with chicken, fish and cheeses. Full-bodied and complex.
more about Estate Chardonnay Unfiltered
White Crane Winery
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2004 Estate Chardonnay Unfiltered
Livermore Valley

This is a complex and lush Chardonnay, with lot's of character!
more about Chardonnay Estate Port (Folkendt Estate)
White Crane Winery
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2004 Chardonnay Estate Port (Folkendt Estate)
Livermore Valley

State Fair & Orange County Medals!!
Apples, pears, floral aromas and light oak highlight this unique port. Stomped by the prettiest ladies feet in the valley at our ann ...moreual Grape Stomp Party.
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Stuhlmuller Vineyards
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2004 Reserve Chardonnay

The 2004 Reserve Chardonnay is golden straw yellow in color, with a faint greenish hue. It offers a complex nose of intense tropical fruit with accents of pear, smoky hazelnut, ani ...morese and candied lemon skin. On the palate the wine offers rich mouthfeel and further tropical flavors of buttery peach, pineapple and ginger. This creamy Chardonnay also possesses subtle hints of smoke and brown spice that add to a satisfying finish.
more about Carneros Chardonnay
Dutch Henry Winery
CAW Rating: 91
1 reviews

2003 Carneros Chardonnay
Ceja Vineyards

100% Chardonnay
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Chardonnay News

Fête: On the subject of chardonnay - The Advocate

Unseasonable Rain Threatens Chardonnay Grape Yield in Wine Country - CBS San Francisco

Style Guide: The World`s Best Places for Growing Chardonnay - VinePair

Raise Your Glass: The perfect un-oaked Chardonnay - Rutland Herald

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Netflix s Wine Country review: Amy Poehler s comedy is pleasant but flat - Vox.com

Saint-Émilion to be source of Bordeaux`s first `grand cru` Chardonnay - The Drinks Business

A sommelier`s guide to independent wine labels - City Pulse

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6 Oregon wines illustrate chardonnay`s ascendance in the Willamette Valley - OregonLive

Summer wines to delight the palate - Boston Herald

Doug McCrea opens a new wine bar in booming east Lacey - The Olympian

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Featured Wines

Top Rated Chardonnay

2005 Chardonnay
Santa Cruz Mountains
CAW Rating: 100
2 reviews
The wine produced from this vintage is from Chardonnay grapes grown exclusively in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This smooth refreching wine has an upfront applely-grassy start with a light oaky, buttery finish.

More Chardonnay Ratings
Combined Rating
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2006 Estate Chardonnay
Wiens Family Cellars

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