5 Reasons that Now Is the Best Time to Be a Chardonnay Drinker

Posted June 09, 2015

WineLibrary Staff


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There was a time, not so very long ago, that it was tough to be a Chardonnay drinker. The oak-mad malolactic monsters of the the 80s had gone out of style along with shoulderpads, and "Chablis" was gleefully consumed from jugs that bared as much resemblance to their Burgundian namesakes as a paper airplane does to China's space program. Chardonnay was unfashionable. Gauche. 

But things have changed since then, dear reader. Chardonnay is back, it's beautiful, and it's proud of its round, fruity curves. Across all locales and all price points, there are tons of Chardonnays out there to love. Here are a few to get you started:

2012 Cadia Chardonnay Igt

Chardonnay might not be a grape that comes to mind when you think Italian, but that is about to change. If Gavi, Pinot Grigio, and Fiano work, why not Chardonnay? The Cadia shows off the same light, fruity, floral aspects of your favorite biancos, but with an added richness that only Chardonnay can bring to the party. And for $10? Grab a case and have yourself a party.

2012 Quintay Q Chardonnay

Chilean Chardonnay has been on the ascendant for a few years now, and with wines like the Quintay, you can see why. Notes of tropical fruit mingle with green, grassy overtones in this round, barrel-fermented example of balanced winemaking. Chile is not messing around with the way it’s handling the classics like Chard and Cab. If you haven’t given one a shot, this is a great place to start.

2012 Landmark Overlook Chardonnay

It’s weird, but when you pass the $15 mark, your expectations and perceptions begin to change. You demand more. Thankfully, the Landmark Overlook is there to provide. With 90 points from Advocate is a wine that has truly been made with care and technical excellence.

2009 Duckhorn Migration Russian River Chardonnay

Now we’re getting into the heavy hitters. Duckhorn has been putting out genre-defining wines for decades now, so if you or someone you know loves that canonical, oaked California Chardonnay, and hasn’t tried Duckhorn, it’s seriously a no-brainer. This wine takes that style and does it best.

2011 Bello Family Chardonnay

Now you may be thinking “wait, Bello makes cult Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, so their Chardonnay must be similar to Duckhorn’s, right?” Wrong! Here’s the deal: This is basically one of America’s greatest consulting winemakers using some of America’s best fruit to make an immaculately balanced, fruit-driven Chardonnay. It’s rich and luscious, but not overly buttery or vanilla-coated. This is a wine that could easily compete with Mersault or other similar white Burgundies without breaking a sweat, and it’s a third the price. If you want to try a truly premium expression of Chardonnay, you need to seek this out.


Item: 63788

750 mL

Retail: $31.99

$23.98 per btl

Product Label.

Landmark Overlook Chardonnay

90 Robert Parker - Robert Par...

Item: 86906

750 mL

Retail: $30.00

$15.95 per btl

Product Label.

Bello Family Chardonnay

94 California Wine Advisors

Item: 88458

750 mL

Retail: $45.00

$29.99 per btl

Item: 88530

750 mL

Retail: $14.99

$9.88 per btl

Item: 88830

750 mL

Retail: $15.99

$4.20 per btl