White Wine

Chardonnay

Chardonnay has incredible versatility and can be picked over quite a wide range of sugar levels and flavour ripeness.

The variety takes its name from the village of Chardonnay near Uchizy in the Mâconnais, in southern Burgundy. A region gaining in reputation for the production of delicious Chardonnay. Thought to have originated from Sâone-et-Loire between Lyon and Dijon.

Where is it grown?

Burgundy is the mythical home of Chardonnay. From there it spreads far and wide across the world. One of the three main varieties of Champagne production, we also see massive plantings in Australia and North America. You’ll find it somewhere in pretty much every wine growing country.
In Australia 340,000 tonnes of Chardonnay grapes are harvested each year over four times more than the No.2 white grape in Australia, Sauvignon Blanc!

What does it taste like?

There are a vast array of flavours, aromas, and, textures that Chardonnay can offer from the fruit alone, add in use of solid, fermentation vessels like oak, eggs, and tanks, and, malolactic fermentation, the sky is the limit.

Chardonnay has incredible versatility and can be picked over quite a wide range of sugar levels and flavour ripeness. The same vineyard can be picked with enough sugar to make a wine of 10-11% alcohol for sparkling production and then 14% for table wine with anything in between possible. Picked earlier it tends to have more citrus and green apple characters. Picked ripper the natural acidity drops and the flavours progress through stone fruit, to pineapple, fig and melon.

The hand of the winemaker has been particularly evident in Australia over the last 20 years. Starting with big, broad, alcoholic full malo styles in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the pendulum swung to the lean, acid driven styles in Australia in the mid-00’s, with some down right mean wines produced in the cooler climates like the Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills, Mornington, and, Tasmania.  Currently, styles have found balance with generosity and elegance. Australian Chardonnay is the best it has ever been. Restrained oak use is thankfully the norm, and, globally we are seeing greater use of larger oak barrels, reducing the influence of any new oak.

Use of wild fermentation, malolactic fermentation and grape solids in ferments can add an array of secondary aromas and flavours, nuttiness, creaminess, bakery notes, butteriness, funk.

Some makers have played heavily with reduction in Chardonnay often resulting in flinty, burnt match characters.

In Burgundy, climate change, just as in Australia (along with mature vineyards) has seen picking times bought forward with sugar levels maintaining. The degree of chaptalisation in Burgundy is reducing and is often not required at all.

Check out all the articles in the Wine Bites Mag exploring Chardonnay.


Tapanappa Flying the 🇦🇺 High!


Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2021

Brooding waiting to explode. Serious depth and length here. Intense long, and like the 1.5m seamless. Super ripe Positano lemon. A little pith. Great line and length. Layered in creamy lees. More white grapefruit. An impressive wine that needs a couple of years in bottle to blossom.
$108
$103ea in any 3+
$98ea in any 6+

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Simply Delicious

Hoddles Creek Estate Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2021

Perfect intro to Hoddle's Creek Chardonnay! Cool Upper Yarra Valley Fruit = Wine of Poise & Great Intensity!

Domaine Thierry Laffay Petit Chablis 2019

Deceptive, restraint and sophistication at play. Here it is in the texture, line and length of acid. A little chalky with an nice layer of phenolics. As it rolls around your palate it builds with excellent mid palate weight. Here’s a hot tip for you, one of the differences between good and great Chardonnay is mid-palate weight. This has it. Looks like a long slow ferment with my winemaking hat on. Fine delicious poised and pure. A little cold on first pour as it warmed and took a gasp of air t
$48
$45ea in any 3+
$42ea in any 3+

Domaine Roland Lavantureux Petit Chablis 2019

The international press is just discovering this Domaine’s rapidly rising star!
$52
$49ea in any 3+
$46ea in any 6+
Such Purity & Expression!

Hoddles Creek 1er Chardonnay 2017

Franco's at the top of his game. Making wine with balance between richness & juicy acid, delicacy & power, fruit & complexity!
$54
$51ea in any 3+
$48ea in any 6+

Domaine Thibert Mâcon-Prissé ‘en Chailloux’ 2018

This is superb, and it's just the entry level wine! Palpable energy here, picked at an excellent point. Superbly balanced, saline, a little chalky. Very fresh. The texture is so fine, gliding along your tongue. The spectrum of fruit flavours covered is both complex and seamless with pops of cleverly handled lees work, the meal and oats Euan mentions. This glimmers green/gold in the glass. Aromatically evoking ripe yellow fruits, meal and oat with some stony nuances. The palate has flavors
$55
$52ea in any 3+
$49ea in any 6+

Domaine Roland Lavantureux Chablis Vielles Vignes 2018

The international press is just discovering this Domaine’s rapidly rising star!
$61
$58ea in any 3+
$55ea in any 6+

Domaine Thierry Laffay Chablis Vielles Vignes 2019

Showing exactly how important vine age is!
$62
$59ea in any 3+
$56ea in any 3+

Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 2020

This is very good. Defaix has given us a restrained, detailed expression of Chablis. Mineral with juicy fruit, citrus, and most importantly loads of personality. The fruit drive is impressive, balanced by lightning energy and zippy acid. The mouthfeel is superb, long and refined with great length. A cracking Chablis. Challenger for house Chardonnay! Tank fermenting and ageing Chardonnay can come through as a certain primary, unfinished rawness, particularly in the new world. Not so here. Develop
$63
$60ea in any 3+
$57ea in any 6+

Domaine Roland Lavantureux Chablis Vielles Vignes 2019

The international press is just discovering this Domaine’s rapidly rising star!
$66
$63ea in any 3+
$60ea in any 6+

Domaine Testut Chablis Vielles Vignes 2019

The pedigree of this fruit at the Chablis level is pretty bloody good! It's from a 50 year old parcel adjacent to the Grand Cru, Blanchot! Bloody tasty Village. Beautifully weighted and developed. Often at this level Chablis can be thin and raw. Testut here, as with all his wines shows a deft touch in raise the wine and building generosity. A wine that can be hoovered now, it’ll drink well over the next few years. Great flow across your palate, fine, sophisticated, perfect everyday drinking
$67
$64ea in any 3+
$61ea in any 6+

Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis 2019

Fun, playful Chablis, that maple, every so slightly toasty note from a decent period in tank. I use to see this in a more intense way in reserve wines for sparkling production that I held in tanks for considerably longer, perpetual soleras. A little citrus zest carries through to the a weightless, refreshing palate and fine acid. This is extremely easy to hoover! “A little extra zip, direction to this nose but essentially the same complexion. In the mouth its more directly mineral, dire
$68
$65ea in any 3+
$62ea in any 6+
Stunning!

Stefano Lubiana ‘Estate’ Chardonnay 2019

Stunning. The texture here is divine. Refined with a delicacy to the long seamless line of acid. Superb flavour profile of ripe lemons & citrus oil, white nectarine, a little green apple, light honey, nutty wild ferment / solids with supple creaminess. Such great drinking.
$70
$67 in any 3+
$64 in any 6+

Passobianco Chardonnay 2019

Straw yellow. Concentrated, deep and alluring white- and citrus-fruit nose with hints of kumquat and papaya. Orange and lemon palate with bitter-almond notes on the finish. Long and a little linear and with plenty of substance. Drink 2021-2026  Walter Speller, Jancis Robinson
$70
$127ea in any 3+
$122ea in any 6+

Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis Tête d’Or 2018

“The 2018 Chablis Tête d’Or has slightly musky, nutty bouquet – much more intriguing than the Chablis Village. The palate is well balanced with lemon, lime and a touch of bitterness on the entry. I appreciate the edginess of this Chablis and the bite on the saline finish. Excellent.” Neal Martin
$72
$69ea in any 3+
$66ea in any 6+

Domaine Roland Lavantureux Chablis ‘Vau Prin’ 2018

The international press is just discovering this Domaine’s rapidly rising star!
$72
$69ea in any 3+
$66ea in any 6+