Oh, it’s finally here – Chardonnay Day. The day I absolutely love and adore. Yes, I am the unabashed Chardonnay lover. I was hooked after my first sip of white Burgundy. Since then I’ve been searching the world for the same sensation for a lot less dough. It’s been tough. See, I fell in love with Chardonnay just after college when I traveled to Burgundy for a wedding. It was just the carafe of table wine they were pouring in the cafe, but I vividly remember thinking, this is so. dang. good. Much different than the Kendall Jackson and Columbia Crest we so often brought to dinner parties to seem sophisticated in college. I had very little wine vocabulary at the time, so I believe I called it, “deliciousness,” but I can’t be sure.
Now I know more about Burgundy and more about why I love wine from Burgundy. The terroir there is not a myth. Something about the soil, sun, aspect, grape clones and more help to create one of the best wines in the world – creamy but crisp, with layers of complexity between fruit and oak and spice… And yet, these wines are often unattainable in price.
And so, I try Chardonnays. I try any I get my hands on, seeking that wine that has the balance, the complexity and the je ne sais quoi that I can I love in Burgundian wine, but in a bottle I can afford. It will never be just like my Burgundy favorites, but I have found many value Chardonnay that achieve balance and a loveliness that are a decent second… here are my favorites under $50!
Iron Horse Estate Chardonnay
From the Green Valley part of the Russian River, this cool-climate gem is affordable (under $25) and absolutely delicious. No malo, and a perfect balance of fruit and very light oak.
De Wetshof Bon Vallon Chardonnay
I absolutely loved this wine! And there are not many unwooded Chardonnays I like (Iron Horse an exception), but this did a fantastic job.
Esk Valley Chardonnay
Represents what New Zealand is doing in Hawkes’ Bay, and at an affordable price.
Catena Alta Chardonnay
Argentina is known for values, and this $30+ Chardonnay acts like a $60+ from California. It’s kind of a mild splurge…
A fantastic find for me! A small boutique wine with incredible character and complexity.
Hamilton Russell Chardonnay
This coastal winery delivers a ton of depth, balance and complexity on this high quality bottle from South Africa.
Craggy Range Kidnapper’s Vineyard Chardonnay
Chablis-like in style, can’t get enough of this New Zealand wine.
What Chardonnay will you drink for #ChardonnayDay?