Chardonnay is the number one white wine in the world. There are several reasons for this including the fact that the Chardonnay is a relatively low-maintenance vine that adapts to a wide variety of climates which results in high yields around the world. So, you can choose from the millions of bottles produced annually and get good one for $15 while also spending ten times as much for an elegant one. It’s the 5th most planted grape varietal in the world with over 30 different clones of Chardonnay producing wine.
What Makes Chardonnay?
Chardonnay the varietal is the result of a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. The cross pollination occurred centuries ago when Romans planted Gouais Blanc on French soils in areas where Pinot Noir was also planted; from there nature took over and made France’s Burgundy region the home of this world-renowned wine. The fact that Chardonnay is one of the three main grapes used in champagne explains why French Champagne is so abundant.
Chardonnay is an excellent mirror of the climate and location it’s grown in. This is why in warmer climates, it can taste of tropical mangos and pineapple, while in cooler climates you’ll taste orchard fruits like peaches and apricots.
Now that we have some background on Chardonnays, let’s get to some recommendations, shall we? The next time you’re wine shopping at Spec’s, be sure to give the following Chardonnay brands a try!
Far Niente Chardonnay – Napa Valley, CA
Since Far Niente’s first vintage in 1979, they’ve have produced their Napa Valley Chardonnay with an absence of malolactic fermentation, which retains the grape’s natural acidity. The result is Chardonnays with delightfully forward fruit and bright acidity in youth, that gently evolve over time to a sophisticated, creamy and rich palate profile.
- This bottle offers aromas of grilled citrus, melon and honeysuckle with hints of white fig, gardenia and toasted hazelnuts. You’ll taste a sweet core of melon and citrus is supported by white floral and toasted vanilla and baking spice notes.
Daou Reserve Chardonnay – Paso Robles, CA
Family owned and operated, DAOU Vineyards & Winery is committed to producing collectible, world-class wines to rival the most respected appellations in the world. DAOU Mountain’s combination of remarkable geology, microclimate, a 2,200-foot elevation, and steep slopes gives it a terroir described as “a jewel of ecological elements.”
- The wine has a powerful nose of smoky oak, buttered toast and lemon chiffon. Green apple, vanilla bean and pear accents are rounded out with hints of honey, almond and nutmeg. Lush and succulent on the palate, delivering flavors of Crenshaw melon, pineapple and honeysuckle, with notes of citrus, spiced apple and hazelnut.
Twisted Paso Chardonnay – Paso Robles, CA
Father and daughter Lloyd Messer and Dana Brown realized their dream of finding a place to express their passion for wine in 2000, when they established Calcareous Vineyards on one of the highest limestone plateaus on Paso Robles’ westside. Their acquisition of 442 acres atop solid calcareous rock reaching 1,800 feet above sea level confirmed their dedication to producing the highest quality, terroir driven wines possible.
- The Twisted Paso Chardonnay showcases an extremely tropical nose coupled with a hint of toasty oak and balanced by a wonderful blast of bright acidity that keeps the finish clean and refreshing.
House Wine Chardonnay – Columbia Valley, WA
Created in 2004 in Walla Walla, Washington, House Wine was conceived by ex-rock n’ roll manager and award-winning Washington winemaker Charles Smith. Inspired by the everyday table wines of Europe, Smith’s vision was to create a delicious wine at a maximum value and quality. Winemaker Hal Landvoigt drives its irreverent spirit by travelling the world to source the finest grapes and cultivate its uniquely unpretentious style.
- Their Chardonnay presents a welcoming nose of fragrant pineapple, nectarine and straw notes that marry with toasted marshmallow and vanilla creme aromatics. The creamy palate brings together jasmine, lime and toasted coconut.