Wine expert Angela Aiello is back in time to teach us all about Chardonnay in time to celebrate its special day. Angela, also known as @SuperWineGirl is a multi-award winning journalist, educator, creative writer and host. Having traveled to over 14 countries, tasted over 10,000 wines and 20 years in the wine, spirits and hospitality industry. She’s lead over 250 wine school classes, 50 dinner parties, and worked with countless celebrity chefs. As both a leader and executive in the wine industry, her vision is to help people earn their own wine confidence and bring innovation and creativity to entire industry.
This Thursday is #ChardonnayDay and in the world of ‘Wine Royalty’ I call Chardonnay the Queen. Why is she the Queen you may ask, well, once you learn about wine, it’s easy to understand. She is regal, golden, and a global ruling white wine.
Her heart and soul lies in Burgundy, France and Chardonnay, however fabulous chardonnay is made all over the world, in both the old world Europe and all over the new world. Shopping for your perfect bottle of Chardonnay is not an easy thing to do. Still table Chardonnay wine can range from crisp, dry, refreshing and completely unoaked to barrel fermented to unfiltered and natural to sparkling and delicious. There is a very wide range of styles and taste profiles, making it very challenging to shop for to find a new favourite. Experimentation, education, and overall interest in the grape is what it takes to be part of the ‘Chardonnay Club’. It takes patience and determination to find a style that fits you (I often compare shopping for Chardonnay like shopping for jeans and how hard it can be to find the perfect style and pair). Chardonnay can be hard to shop for and I often find it hard to find really great bottle under $20 as the grape can require artistry, much human intervention for lees stirring and battonage, new oak barrels, and significant passion and interest from the winemaker.
Below are 3 bottles that are just that, fit, fabulous and friendly for your wallet. Today I have chosen 3 New World Chardonnay’s for you to taste, compare and enjoy. The best part is they are all under $20.
WINE #1 :
The 1685 Chardonnay (the range is named after South Africa’s Boschendal’s founding year) is a blend of three very diverse winemaking areas, namely Stellenbosch, Simonsberg-Paarl and Elgin. The 2019 vintage shows enticing citrus, stone fruit, as well as tropical and nutty aromas. The palate is refreshing with beautiful fruit complexity backed by elegant oak. Served at the perfect temperature this wine is balanced and beautiful.
According to Michael Langenhoven, white wine maker at Boschendal, “versatile Chardonnay features prominently in the portfolio of this iconic Cape winery. The Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay is a classic example of modern South African Chardonnay with typical bright citrus and tropical flavours, and a touch of oak (mostly older French barrels) adding elegance.” After having tried this wine, and going to the winery and farm (which you must go to!), this wine will forever sit in my “Best Value Chardonnay’s” in the world.
One of the most established and iconic wine estates in South Africa, Boschendal constantly strives to balance tradition and innovation in wine making, appealing to a new generation of wine lovers whilst continuing to create wines with signature finesse and elegance.
Clare Valley is one of Australia’s oldest wine-producing regions, the picturesque region has a winemaking history that spans more than 150 years and has also been described as one of the prettiest in Australia, with rolling hills and sweeping gullies. Only a 90 minute drive from Adelaide, it is a charming corner of Australia with only 40 family-owned wineries. The small region has 11 recognised soil types, ranging from terra rossa red topsoil over limestone and broken slate, sandy loams and degraded quartz are also found in the region’s west. Lets just remember that fabulous terroir produces ah-may-zing fruit.
Wakefield Wines is recognised as one of the ‘Top 5 Wineries in the world’ and the wines are hand crafted by Taylor family. Three generations of winemaking have passed down secrets to incredible winemaking. With a philosophy around sustainability their estate Chardonnay is really quite brilliant.The grapes are harvested at night and placed into French oak barrels for fermentation. The wine is left on its yeast cells – also known as lees – and are occasionally stirred to add texture and weight on the final palate. Another portion of the wine was aged in stainless steel and they are blended together before bottling for a perfect sip. Talk about a killer combination. Their estate Chardonnay is one I highly recommend! Kudos to the winemaking team at Wakefield for this fab wine. Best served between the temperatures of 10°-12°C.
Washington State is a wine lover’s paradise. With 14 unique growing regions, Washington State is a mosaic of landscapes, from evergreen coasts and snow-capped mountains, to a vast sagebrush desert. Geographically, this wine region is nestled to the east of two mountain ranges at the perfect wine growing latitude of 46 degrees. Here, vineyards are planted on volcanic soils, perfectly suited for growing exceptional grapes given their unique makeup. Wines are hand-crafted by ambitious, talented winemakers who bring out the purest of terroir, and show a balance of authentic fruit expressions to deliver perfection in your glass.
As Washington’s largest appellation, the Columbia Valley comprises nearly all of the state’s total vinifera grape plantings. Its volcanic, well-drained, sandy loam soils stress the vines to yield focused flavors in our grapes. In most parts of the Columbia Valley, there is an average of 16 hours of sunlight and only eight inches of rainfall. This combination lends itself to the creation of unique wines with elegant fruit flavors and crisp acidity, delighting the palate and providing a vibrant complement to any food pairing.
Columbia Crest winery is nestled alongside the Columbia River in eastern Washington, Columbia Crest winery opened its doors in the heart of the acclaimed Horse Heaven Hills in 1983. It is the only washington estate winery to receive #1 Wine of the Year in Wine Spectators annual Top 100 Wines of the Year edition. Juan Muñoz-Oca produces really wonderful and kick-ass wines.
This chardonnay was made with elegance and taste in mind. When it comes to winemaking, 75% of it was placed into a combination of new and one-to-three year old American and French oak barrels for fermentation with 25% of the blend placed in stainless steel fermented to increase varietal aromas and enhance the wine’s overall bouquet. A wonderfully balanced wine and a great value for everyday enjoyment. Open up a bottle to enjoy aromas of apples and melons, balanced with the excitement of crème brulee! Ripe fruit perfectly in play with creamy buttery notes. Such a delight!