Our Method: For Chardonnay we look for traditional measures of quality, regional differences and the wines being expressive of their climate (which is primarily based on ripeness correlated to how warm or cold the climate is). Beyond this, these reviews are based on our opinion of what makes for a great value-minded bottle of wine. We look for balanced wines with no flaws. Second, we taste all the wines on our own dime to ensure that each vintage and winery stands up to our exacting standards for what we love to recommend for you to purchase. Third, we look for wines that are indicative of the region they come from. For Chardonnay this is pretty much global, but for a great cool climate we look to Burgundy, France and warm climate we still have soft spot for high-quality bottles from Napa, CA. Fourth, we use a Ten Point scale to ensure the ratings are easy to follow and remember, and anything ranked above a 7.5 we consider a wine of great quality. Finally, we try to keep the language easy to follow to help you match wines that will align with your specific palate, because the best wines are the ones you enjoy the most! As always, reach out to us with any questions you may have with the “Ask a Sommelier” link, and feel free to engage in discussions at the bottom of each post!
1) William Fevre Chablis Domaine 2015
- (Chablis, Burgundy, France) $33 – LINK
- As many wines from Chablis are like, this bottle is light and fresh with no oak. Highly mineral (as in it smells pleasantly like wet pavement after a summertime storm) on the nose and palate, it has citrus as well as floral notes throughout. Perfect for the summertime, the wine is not overly complex, but does stay true to its French roots with high acid and low low tannin. A lovely addition to any picnic or outdoor event, be sure to serve it nice and chilled to bring out the full character of the wine!
Our Rating: 9.5/10
2) Craggy Range Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay 2012
- (Hawkes Bay, New Zealand) $28 – LINK
- This wine presents with a bit more fruit and ripeness than the Chablis above. However, the low alcohol (12%) and lemon and mineral notes on the nose keep the wine extremely fresh. Something to be drunk with a little more vigor backing it up, we love this wine with a feta cheese salad,fresh fruit, a scoop of citrus sorbet, and even grilled fish and shellfish. The screwcap also makes for exceptionally easy opening in an outdoor situation!
Our Rating: 9/10
3) MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014
- (Sonoma Coast, California) – LINK
- While usually California chardonnays scare us in the dog days of summer, with the high oak content and weights of the wines lending themselves more toward Autumn and Springtime, we love the wines from Sonoma Coast when it’s hot out! A great value option the MacRostie is light and fresh with a lovely golden color the penetrates the whole glass and strong notes or sour citrus (lemon and lime) on the nose. The sunny weather adds some weight to the wine (thanks to extra ripeness), but this is still a light style wine to be enjoyed in shorts and a t-shirt. Our favorite pairing is oysters, shrimp, and raw veggies.
Our Rating: 8.75/10