Even though it may not be popular to say so, chardonnay remains the best, most versatile white wine grape in the world — and also one of the most widely planted, producing happily on six continents (it is one of the major grapes in the burgeoning Chinese wine industry, for instance). It is certainly capable of making some really ordinary wines — in chardonnay, as in so many things, you get what you pay for — but there are also a number of very nice chardonnays still available for around $20 a bottle or even less.
The 10 wines reviewed here range from five good, modestly priced white Burgundies from the noted négociant and producer Joseph Drouhin to a couple of excellent Spanish chardonnays from the esteemed Arínzano estate in Navarre — one of them very modestly priced and the other well worth its higher price.
Find a sunny spot and start pulling corks!
Well-balanced with hints of tangy apple and good minerality.
This South African entry offers some creaminess to go along with lightly spiced apple flavors, and it’s fairly rich considering that it has no barrel treatment.
Halfway between full and lean, with good minerality; a versatile food wine.
Quite possibly the best Spanish chardonnay I have tasted: Very good structure and complexity with flavors of pears, vanilla, and vanilla cream leading to a crisp finish and a tangy note at the end.
Elegant with lots of floral notes, good complexity, metallic minerality, and light tannins.
Lots of white flowers, good fruit, medium body, and nice complexity — delicious and a good price.
Very nice, very rich chardonnay flavors of apple and buttery corn, medium body, good structure, and a good finish.
This wine needs some airing — decanting would be a good idea — to fully open up its complexities of ripe apple and savory wood flavors.
Rich,full and a tad sweetish with mellow apples, baking spices, and some toast.
A very complete older chard, which has aged quite well — rich yet with flavors of dried apples, spices, and minerals and some savory notes.