“I only drink chardonnay”; “I don’t like chardonnay.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard both these lines over the years. It’s like saying you only eat bananas or you don’t like car. And yes, I meant car. There are so many styles of chardonnay that there is one for every taste, from dry to sweet, light to heavy, and everywhere in between. Chardonnay is the most widely grown white grape in the world and thus has the widest range of styles, flavors, quality, and prices. Try these and you will find at least one you love.
Available at Excelsior Vintage, 378 Oak St., Excelsior, 952-401-0346
J. Moreau & Fils Chablis 2003 (Burgundy) $17.99
Chablis is a town in the Burgundy region of France, where the primary grape grown is chardonnay. The flavors are clean, crisp, and have the characteristic light-mineral finish. Walleye or halibut would be a perfect match.
Goundrey Offspring 2003 (Western Australia) $12.99
This wine is a world away from Chablis, as is its style. It tastes of big lush fruit, peaches, orange, and oak in nice balance. It’s medium-bodied, and pleasant from start to finish. A great value. Try it on its own or with penne and rock shrimp.
Kloovenburg 2004 (Swartland, South Africa) $14.99
When I think of chardonnay, South Africa isn’t the first place on my mind. A truly pleasant surprise, Kloovenburg’s fruit is ripe and citrusy with honey and vanilla on the finish. Pair with smoked salmon.
Kim Crawford 2004 (Marlborough, New Zealand) $17.99
Wow! This one is for all of you tired of too much oak and butter flavor in your chard. It is delicious nonetheless. Balanced, full-bodied, and a little buttery—but completely unoaked—with great tropical fruit tones and clean acidity. Just right for grilled chicken or fish.
Chalk Hill Estate 2002 (Sonoma Valley, CA) $42.99
This wine can be described as giant—the virtual opposite of the Crawford. Big fruit, big oak, and buttery enough to top popcorn. But it is balanced, rich, elegant, and complex, with flavors from pear and citrus to butterscotch and vanilla. Lobster anyone?