Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wanted: Good Value in Chardonnay

Good value, high quality, authentic-tasting Chardonnay may be America's most wanted wine. Sometimes, you might think it's as difficult to find as it would be to track down a known fugitive. Why is there so much terrible cheap Chardonnay? Every year there seems to be more of it. But finding a good bottle that is also affordable--that's the trick.

In the summer, the high temperatures and our tendency to serve foods like grilled chicken, corn, crab, and fish make even those of us who are not huge Chardonnay fans head for the store in search of that elusive bottle. When I made some fantastic Tandori-style grilled chicken and slapped it between some grilled naan for a fast weeknight supper, I was definitely on the hunt for a Chardonnay that would be rich but not overly oaky, and luscious without tasting fake and plastic.

Here are some recommendations for Chardonnays that fit the bill--both in terms of cost and taste.

2008 Trefethen Chardonnay Double T (available for $15-$19) This nicely-balanced Napa Valley Chardonnay had authentic, creamy oak and baked apple aromas and flavors. Though it was rich, there was plenty of acidity to keep it from getting to flabby. Very good QPR.

2008 Hayman & Hill Chardonnay Reserve Selection Russian River Valley (SRP $15; available for $14 to $17) Another California Chardonnay, this one from the cooler climate of the Russian River Valley, delivered creme fraiche, apple, and citrus aromas and flavors. The citrus notes kept the wine quite lively, although this was still a full-bodied wine. Layered, complex, and very good QPR.

2008 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay Conservancy Livermore Valley (SRP $15; available for $9 to $13) From the Livermore Valley, the Concannon Vinyeard bottling struck a perfect balance between richness and freshness with its abundant apple, citrus, pear, and sour cream aromas and flavors. This well-made wine will appeal to those who like their Chardonnays rich, without turning off those who prefer a wine with a lighter flavor profile. Very good QPR--and excellent QPR if you can pick it up for around $10.

Full Disclosure: I received these wines as samples.


Ashley said...

Thanks for the recommendations! I've never been a big Chardonnay fan, but I am always open to trying a new bottle. So many of them do taste too oaky. Occassionally I find one I actually do like, so will have to give these a swing!

cawetshok said...

I am very happy to visit your site. The blog very good I wish you further progress and become friends
my blog is cawetshok

Anonymous said...

Not to be missed, when looking for affordable tasty chardonnay, is the Inox offering from Chehalem Vineyards in Oregon. As the name implies, it is fermented in stainless steel, allowing the full flavor of the chardonnay grape to shine through unmolested by oaky overtones. Perfect for summer and picnic.

Buy Wine said...

I also agree with it that Good value, high quality, authentic-tasting Chardonnay is America's most wanted wine for summer.

christine said...

This is a good blog! You see, we have this food site ( that is a food and cooking encyclopedia that everyone and anyone can edit. Maybe you are interested in sharing some of recipes to us or share your knowledge about food stuffs and techniques, Or maybe you just like to write reviews about food, wines, restaurant and recipes...why don't you visit us sometimes. And by the way, If you wont mind I'd love to guide Foodista readers to this post. Just add the Foodista Widget
to the end of this post and it's all set, Thanks!

I hope to see you there.


Scarlet-O said...

Hey there!

So happy to find your site... I actually wanted to see if you could connect with or give it a read?? It's the most informative and funny wine blog I've read in a while, it's still new, but each week they focus on a different region, tell the history, and then do a wine tasting... hope you enjoy!