Are you thumbs up on Chardonnay or are you thumbs down? It can be a polarizing topic, but regardless of your stance it's impossible to overlook the fact that Chardonnay is currently the most extensively cultivated white wine grape in the world, indicating its widespread popularity. Indigenous to France, Chardonnay possesses a naturally low acidity level and a full bodied fruit flavor palate. From the heavier, oak-influenced and buttery wines of Burgundy and California to the leaner more mineral forward wines of the Southern Hemisphere, the grape truly has an impressive range. Below are a few of our favorites. If you’re interested in learning more about the versatility of Chardonnay, come out and join us at one of our upcoming April wine tastings! We have some we know you'll love!
ALMA FRIA PLURAL CHARDONNAY
This Sonoma County winery is deeply tied to the terroir and the wines that grow from it. In their words, “ecological diversity nourishes our spirits as well as our wines”. This non-interventionist philosophy carries through the winemaking, producing wines that speak of place. The Plural Chardonnay is made using grapes from two different vineyards, helping to create a single varietal wine with depth and texture. The wine is aromatic with notes of meyer lemon, white citrus blossoms, and delicate almond. These notes continue on to the palate along with flavors of kefir lime, citrus oils, and soft brioche.
Alma Fria Plural - $36.99; Available at Krog
FAMILLE GUEGUEN BOURGOGNE COTES SALINES
Chablis Chardonnay is one of the most famous wine styles in France and with that fame comes a higher price point. Luckily the team behind Famille Gueguen comes from a long line of winemakers and know that the mineral-rich, clay-limestone soils of this region extend beyond the “the gates of Chablis”. Bourgogne Côtes Salines goes through full malolactic fermentation and lees aging for about six months before final aging in stainless steel. This combination allows for a delicious balance of round, full bodied texture and the lean, slightly salty minerality one would expect from this style. The palate shows flavors of white flowers, almond, toasted bread, and honey.
Famille Gueguen Bourgogne Côtes Salines - $19.99; Available at West End
Another favorite from California is the Santa Barbara County Chardonnay from Tyler Winery. The grapes are selected from different sites around the county, intended to remain approachable while showcasing the terroir of the marine-influenced soils of the area. Winemaking at Tyler is organic and minimalist. The Chardonnay is pressed whole cluster and left on lees for eleven months, with a gentle oak-aging process meant to enhance the natural flavors of the grape, never overshadow. It is bright and fresh with notes of citrus, honeycomb, juicy orchard fruits, and soft almond making it especially easy to drink.
Tyler - $36.99; Available at West End & Fayetteville
DOMAINE RIMBERT BLANC BINO
Jean-Marie Rimbert is known for a “gentle” winemaking practice that results in clean, lively, and fruity wines from Saint Chinian in Southern France. Rimbert’s Blanc Bino Chardonnay is an excellent example of this philosophy. Sourced from local vineyard partners that are in the process of organic certification, the wine sees minimal sulfur addition and delicate fining and filtering before aging in neutral wood tanks. The palate showcases juicy green apple, soft lemon, fresh cream, and wet stone flavors. All of that “gentle” attention allows for the fruit to take center stage.
Domaine Rimbert Blanc Bino - $18.99; Available at Krog