International Chardonnay Day is 23 May each year (or celebrated on the Thursday before Memorial Day if you’re in the USA which makes it today, 21 May). We asked some French wine importers which French chardonnays they recommend to celebrate the occasion.
What makes a Chardonnay a Chardonnay?
Chardonnay is the name of the green-skinned grape used in the production of many white wines, and is said to be the world’s most popular white wine. The grape is also often used in the production of sparkling white wine and champagne.
Which French regions grow Chardonnay?
More than 60% of French chardonnay plantings come from Champagne, Chablis, and Burgundy. The next-largest concentration is found in the Languedoc, where it was first planted around the town of Limoux and up to 30% can be blended with Mauzac in the sparkling Blanquette de Limoux. Chardonnay is also grown in Alsace, Ardèche, Jura, Savoie, and the Loire Valley.
Modern DNA fingerprinting suggests that Chardonnay is actually a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais blanc.
Now 8 French wine importers tell us which French chardonnays they recommend. Let’s drink!
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We asked Daniel Airoldi which Chardonnay he recommends for International Chardonnay Day.
“In terms of French Chardonnay, yes I would recommend a Mercurey 1er Cru “Clos Marcilly” 2015 which is a monopole 1er Cru owned by Les Héritiers St-Genys, a fantastic producer.“
“2015 was a richer, riper vintage that made complex and structured chardonnay well-loved in Australia and particularly at the moment heading into winter that suits richer white wines. Mercurey is often overlooked by consumers in favour of the more northerly and more famous appellations such as Chassagne / Puligny Montrachet, but this Mercurey is extremely qualitative and worth a fraction of the price of its more famous northerly neighbours!“
Sophie of Bibendum Wine Co says there are “so many options when it comes to Chardonnay!” Narrowing it down for International Chardonnay Day, Sophie says:
“I would more often than not turn towards Burgundy (sadly for my wallet!), more specifically Puligny-Montrachet for the depth, character, age worthiness and complexity of their wines. Bachelet-Monnot Bourgogne Blanc 2017 comes to mind for weeknights and Leroux Puligny-Montrachet 2017 for a treat”
“I’ve also had some lovely examples from the Auxerrois, a wonderful alternative to Chablis and a perfect match for freshly shucked oysters. Guilhem & J-Hugues Goisot is one of the top producers in the area. His Bourgogne Côte d’Auxerre Biaumont 2015 is superb.”
2018 Jean-Louis Chavy Bourgogne Blanc $55.00
Burgundy prices have gone through the roof in recent years, especially for even relatively humble Bourgogne’s. If you know where to look though some value can be found. This wine is made from 100% younger vine Puligny-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru fruit. It has all the hallmark flavours of the village, with white flowers, acacia, and wonderful purity of fruit. It’s an affordable passport to the world’s finest address for Chardonnay.
2018 Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru ‘Les Clos $160.00
At the pointy end, the wines from Chablis’ most famous Grand Cru of Les Clos rival the top Grand Cru’s from the Cote d’Or at a fraction of the price. From a riper, but still classic vintage Christian Moreau’s Les Clos is a muscular, very powerful wine full of stony Chablis minerality. It offers plenty of drinking pleasure now, but has the stuffing to age for several years.
2018 Pierrick Laroche (Domaine des Hates) Petit Chablis $40.00
Pierrick Laroche is a young grower whose father used to sell all their fruit to the local co-operative. He now farms organically, and has been making small volumes of wine since 2010. In past years, many Petit Chablis could be pretty thin and uninteresting. This wine packs lots of vivid, concentrated fruit into the bottle along with classic oyster-shell Chablis minerality.
Nathalie at Bottli says that “no one should ever be disappointed with a bottle of wine. A good bottle is made to bring joy and spread happiness. If the taste is missing or unpleasant, then the wine fails in its mission.”
“We compare French and Australian grape varieties because behind each bottle there is a fascinating discovery of flavours and aromas behind it. Indeed, we select small wine producers who are not in supermarkets and who offer quality products. We tell their story and make our Community of wine lovers discover these exceptional products. Our last Premium White wines box compared 3 Chardonnays.”
“The three were very interesting because they were very different and showed the diversity that can be found in a Chardonnay:
– a Chardonnay from Piccadilly Valley Tapanappa 2018
– a Chardonnay from Adelaide Hills Grace Charlotte Dalton 2018
– a Chardonnay from Beaujolais Roche Noire Domaine Lathuiliere-Gravallon 2016
“The first one had notes of lemon and citrus notes and green apple skin. Then those stone fruit will appear more present, accompanied with some floral flavours, to finish on a long and rich mouthful, creamy and toasty at the same time with a bit of cashew and quince.
The second one was less acidic, with flavour of Mirabelle-plums, honeysuckle, peaches, butterscotch and light bread dough with a toasty and buttery finish. A very fine texture.
The third had an elegant taste, rich with citrus notes. It was slightly mineral with light body, discreet intensity and good persistence.”
“It is a daily apprenticeship to stimulate our senses towards new wine discoveries, and we help in a simple way to share this moment in an accessible way as if the Sommelier was coming to your home.”
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Alexandre of Clos Cachet’s choice for International Chardonnay Day is the Samuel Billaud – Chablis 2018.
A Chardonnay with a strong personality, which is unique, with salt accents and great citrus fruit. Great persistency, with a lot of purity and all the same some flesh.
Tim of Cool Wine says:
“Love French Chardonnay- And some top Tasmanian Chardonnay too- I feel there is an affinity there-in the stonefruits and acidity.
We’ve been really liking the Comte Lafon Macon wines, various vineyards and recent vintages, 2014-2017, I have the 2016 Vire-Clesse open now, it’s delicious with a really lingering finish. $65.
Another in the bargain end is the Chateau Fuisse- 2016 Bourgogne- $36, loads of white peachy (almost new world) like fruit, a real mouthful – customers are loving it and the price.
At the other end of the spectrum we shared a 2011 Bonneau Du Martray with a friend recently, what a delightful wine.”
The 2 chardonnays that DiscoverVin loves are from Domaine Lupé-Cholet.
The pinnacle of chardonnays internationally are known to come from Meursault and Montrachet in the Burgundy region. And these beautifully refreshing chardonnay’s are from the excellent 2014 vintage and are made by an excellent producer.
Domaine Lupé-Cholet Meursault 2014. This is a wonderful example of cool climate white Burgundy from the Meursault region. $109.
Domaine Lupé-Cholet Puligney-Montrachet 2014. This premium white Burgundy comes from the vineyards situated around the village of Puligny-Montrachet. $129.
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Use code HAPPYDAY20 until 31st May 2020.
Full range here https://discovervin.com.au/shop/category/burgundy
Here are a few chardonnays that Mosaïque Wines recommend to celebrate International Chardonnay Day:
Mosaïque Wines say that you can’t celebrate Chardonnay without this textbook Chablis wine crafted by the Clotilde Davenne.
Organically farmed vineyard, 38 years old vines on unique Kimmeridgien terroir.
Here we choose this wine because it’s one of the purest expression of Chablis, no oak to allow Clotilde’s Chardonnay to reveal its full vibrancy and purity.
Bright clear colour, notes of citrus, white flowers and sea characteristics.
Clotilde’s Chablis is pristine and textured with notes of lemon. A great success, mineral, vibrant with good tension and length.
Mosaïque Wines recommends you pair it with oyster, sushi, fish, veal.
Mosaïque Wines says that “this is simply one of the best value Burgundy Chardonnay imported in Australia…”
Organically farmed selection of Olivier Morin best and oldest vineyards on limestone soils.
Aged in old oak barrel on lees, generous and charming with beautiful mineral drive.
Savoury texture with plenty of fleshy white fruit and long salty finish.
Very authentic and honest wine, punching way above its weight.
Food matches: Seafood, white meats, rich creamy cheese.
From rising star producer in the lesser known vineyards of the Hautes Cotes de Nuits this single vineyard wine is an absolute favourite of Mosaïque Wines in its rich creamy style.
If you love barrel fermented, barrel aged, older vintage Chardonnay this is made for you!
Tasted blind it could be from the very prestigious village of the Cote de Beaune…
Long 18 months ageing in oak barrels this cuvée is fast becoming a must for Paris Michelin star restaurants.
Mosaïque Wines describes it as “Suave, mineral and very driven, notes of hazelnuts and liquorice. Textured and racy with purity and subtle oaky character. Length and power are a trademark for “Le Rouard” vineyard with a long vibrant finish.”
Mosaïque Wines recommends pairing this wine with a roast chicken, salmon with rich buttery sauce, fish pie or scallops.
Meursault is without a doubt one of the most famous village for growing Chardonnay in Burgundy.
The Nudant family has been farming their vineyards since 1453 and still the same attention to detail and respect for tradition.
This wine is fermented and aged in barrel with some new oak and batonage to put the lees in suspension and give extra texture to the wine.
This Meursault from Domaine Nudant is everything we want from a Meursault, creamy textured, richness, length and oaky characters. Citrusy, subtle notes of spice and vanilla.
On the palate, it shows a deep sense of place through purity, minerality and digest texture compared to most heavy weight Meursault.
Impressive length and finish for a village Meursault. One of our friends said “I would bathe in it” after his first sip. You will ask for more…
Pair with a rich roast poultry, fish in creamy sauce with mushroom, sushi or prawns.
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Mosaïque Wines offers you 10% off all Chardonnay wines with special promo code: CHARDONNAYDAY.
*Limited time offer finishing on May 30th 2020.
How are you going to celebrate International Chardonnay Day?