Home Consumer Breakout The Wine Glasses It’s Time To Celebrate Chardonnay Day

Breakout The Wine Glasses It’s Time To Celebrate Chardonnay Day



Chardonnay Day is Thursday, May 23, and a good time to recognize the most prolific and most prestigious white grape in the world. Considered to have started in France, chardonnay is the grape variety that is the foundation of great burgundies and Chardonnay Daychablis. Yet, despite its popularity, it is the grape variety to fashionably hate.

Not us.

Chardonnay is grown almost in every wine-growing region in the world because, unlike Pinot Noir and Riesling, it is a variety that adapts well to most soils and environments. Over the years, styles of chardonnay have come and gone, the most notable of which were the oaky versions from Australia and California.  Today, chardonnays undergo various levels of malolactic fermentation, a process that converts malo acid to lactic acid to reduce acidity and increase creaminess. This method used judiciously, has made chardonnay more appealing to consumers than the often tart, acidic sauvignon blanc.

Faith Based Events

Oak barrels in fermentation and aging also have influenced style. A wine with 24 months of oak will be more complex – and more expensive. Oak can add a melange of flavors, including toasted almonds, coconut, vanilla and even butterscotch.

Here are a few California chardonnays we recently liked:

Decoy Limited Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($30). You get a lot of warm opulence in this chardonnay for the money.  Peach and apricot flavors are topped off with an array of aromas starting with lime and ending with spice. Very viscous and enjoyable.

Goosecross Napa Valley Chardonnay 2022 (Goosecross)

Mer Soleil Chardonnay Monterey County Santa Lucia Highlands 2021 ($30). Another winner from the uber-successful Wagner family of Caymus fame. Luscious tropical fruit notes of mango and pineapple with perfectly balanced toasty oak notes. A classic big-boned California chardonnay.

Goosecross Napa Valley Chardonnay 2022 ($46).  This restrained, balanced and food-friendly chardonnay has everything you want in a chardonnay. Tropical fruit, pear and lemon aromas give way to peach and apple flavors.

Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley Chardonnay 2022 ($50). One of the best chardonnays we’ve tasted in this group, the Beringer PR is full-bodied with luscious tropical fruit flavors and touches of toast, apple and spice. Very long on the finish.

Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay 2021 ($75).  We liked the great balance in this exquisite wine. The fruit is ripe but overly so. There is good acidity and minerality to balance the ripe melon and lemon curd flavors. Broad aromas of apple and stone fruit.

Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay 2021 ($125).  Excellence comes with a price and this is the case here. From the often-overlooked Santa Cruz corner of the world, this elegant wine gets full barrel fermentation for 12 months and an additional 6 months in stainless steel.  The oak notes are fleeting and don’t overpower the rich honeysuckle and citrus flavors.  This chardonnay will only intensify as it ages, much like the chardonnays from Burgundy, but it pairs well with food now.

J.Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay 2022 (J.Lohr)

MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2022 ($28).  This is a great value in this group of extraordinary chardonnays.  Sourcing grapes from the Sangiacomo and Ricci vineyards in Carneros, the producer has crafted a wine with effusive citrus aromas, richness and layers of apple and tropical fruit flavors.

J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay 2022 ($14). The producer is celebrating its 50th anniversary and has a brand new look for its popular chardonnay. A blossomed-theme label teases you into a bouquet of apple and spice followed by stone fruit flavors. One of the best values in chardonnay.

Talley Vineyards San Luis Obispo Coast Chardonnay 2022 ($38). Brian Talley led the 2022 effort to make this region an AVA.  Having the coolest temperature in California AVAs, the Pacific breezes make it ideal for both chardonnay and pinot noir.  We enjoyed it for its unique flavor profile. Lots of apple notes.

Baldacci Family Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay 2022 ($55).  Apple aromas and tropical fruit flavors with a dash of spice and a soft-mouthfeel. Delicious.

Cuvaison Chardonnay Kite Tail Chardonnay 2022 ($70). This luxurious chardonnay from Los Carneros is very impressive. Stone fruit and apple notes are cloaked in elegance and smoothness. A touch of mineral adds to a very expressive and delicious wine.

Benziger Family Winery Chardonnay 2022 ($16).  A pioneer in biodynamic farming, Benziger makes a reliable chardonnay for the value price. Ripe pear notes with a creamy finish.

Materra Cunat Family Vineyards Chardonnay 2021 (Vivino)

Landmark Damaris Reserve Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2022 ($50). Landmark, founded by Damaris Deere Ford, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with this redesign label for its top chardonnay. Apricot aromas with pear and white peach flavors accented by spice and oak.

Materra Cunat Family Vineyards Chardonnay 2021 ($36).  From the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, this well-balanced and creamy chardonnay is from a producer new to us.  Lots of stone fruit and citrus notes with a hint of almonds.

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2022 ($18).  Still one of the best bargains in chardonnay, this mass-produced Wente wine has persistent apple flavors, good acidity and is not over oaked.

Alma Rosa El Jabali Chardonnay 2021 ($60).  From the fabulous Sta. Rita Hills area, this wine taps into one of the best vineyards in Santa Barbara. Nice mineral notes.

Australian chardonnays

Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay 2022 ($40).  Penfolds uses several regions to source this austere and food-friendly chardonnay. The mineral notes come from Tasmanian grapes. Added are white peach and citrus notes and a dash of almonds.

Vasse Felix Margaret River Chardonnay 2021 ($48). We loved this opulent yet elegant chardonnay from one of the most interesting wine-growing regions in Australian. Stone fruit flavors abound under a cloak of minerality, melon and citrus.

Handpicked Regional Selections Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2022 ($25).  This chardonnay seemed to have unusual flavors that we found attractive but hard to describe. We definitely spotted peach with maybe a dash of apricot. Soft mouthfeel.

Wine picks

Baldacci Proprietary Red Blend Napa Valley 2021 ($70). Merlot comprises 30 percent of this wine, but also in the blend is a good of cabernet sauvignon plus cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot. The merlot gives the wine a soft landing on the palate. Lots of plum notes with a dash of spice.

Our Daily Cab 2023 ($11).  This inexpensive cabernet sauvignon from California is a decent wine for everyday drinking.  Easy, quaffable with smooth ripe red fruit.

Truth Myth Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 ($24).  No sulfites and gluten free, this wine has a lot of stuffing for the price. Blue fruit aromas with ripe plum, blackberry flavors with a hint of dark chocolate.

Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr, MoreAboutWine, posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com
Republished with permission
Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr have been writing a weekly wine column for more than 30 years. Additional Wine reviews on MoreAboutWine
All photos are randomly selected and do not indicate any preferred wine. Listed prices are subject to change and do not include tax or shipping.
You can send questions to Tom Marquardt marq1948@gmail.com Always drink responsibly
Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr have been writing a wine column since 1985. They have traveled extensively to vineyards in France, Spain, Italy, Greece and the United States. Tom currently resides in Naples with his wife, Sue, where he conducts wine tastings. His web site is MoreAboutWine.com. Patrick is in the wine retail business in Annapolis, MD.