Paula’s Wines of the Week – 17th August 2021

Paula’s Wines of the Week – 17th August 2021

No butter and no sharp lemon: Top tasty no-extreme Chardonnays

The phrase “anything but Chardonnay” is still occasionally uttered out loud but more often than not it’s just “I don’t like Chardonnay”. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

If you’ve tried a white wine made with the Chardonnay grape in the past and tasted either sickly buttery, or the extreme opposite, a drink that was so sharp and lemony that it almost took your teeth enamel with it, then rest assured not all Chardonnays taste like this – the Chardonnay grape is so versatile that it can taste pleasantly fruity too.

But let’s get the opinion of a professional. Iain Young, a customer wine advisor for Virgin Wines says, “Wine producers [in the past] would use huge “tea bags” full of oak shavings (which were dunked in and out of the wine just like we might do with an actual tea bag!) and these resulted in quite coarse and brutal wines with very little finesse that were overly oaky. People drank these thinking they were representative of the grape, which they are not.”

Too much use of oak when making Chardonnay can result in wines tasting buttery – so much so that the wine can be too rich and sickly. But many wine producers now prefer a subtler approach and choose to make their wines taste lightly fruity – often resulting in melon and apple flavours that are a match to many foods.

Chardonnay wines can also taste very sharp and acidic. This too can be unpleasant and is a result of using unripe grapes to make the wine. The rainy, cool summers that can be found in Europe are not friendly to ripening grapes, leaving the flavours only partially developed and giving the grapes a sharpness that comes through in the wine. Chardonnay wines made in the French region of Burgundy, particularly the most northery region called Chablis, are known for this flavour and are expected by wine connoiseurs. So avoid buying wines from this region if you don’t like sharp lemon flavours in your wine.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you want to discover top tasty no-extreme Chardonnays that try the wines below. They’ve all been tasted and reviewed by the WineUncorked tastebuds and so you can be sure they’ll be no sickly butter or sharp lemon – just nice fruity flavours.

Chardonnay wine recommendations by

Oxford Landing The River Crossing Chardonnay 2017
£5.50 Morrisons, Waitrose
A reliable Chardonnay that keeps delivering fruity well-balanced flavours year after year. Peach, melon and pear drop aromas are a match to the light flavours.

Caves Road Chardonnay 2018
£9.99 Aldi
The creamy pear, melon and peach flavours are a match to curry and quiches making this a great stand-by wine for many occasions.

Estevez Chardonnay
£4.99 Aldi
A fruity and creamy wine with lots going on in the aroma with melon, pear and peach.

Co-op Irresistible Chardonnay 2018
£7 Co-op
A refreshing and effective Chardonnay that hits the spot. Aromas of creamy peach and melon are enhanced with the appeal of freshly-made lemonade. Add to this flavours of lightly toasted crusty white bread and you have a really nice wine.

Corney and Barrow White Burgundy 2017
£14.50 Corney and Barrow
Corney and Barrow’s own-label Macon-Villages bottling is a delicately creamy Chardonnay. Flavours of creamy apple, cheese and a dash of lemon. A nice wine.

Budburst Chardonnay 2019
£9.49 Averys of Bristol
This pale green wine from the country of Moldova is all about pear drops – on the aroma along with apples, and on the taste with the addition of apple crispness and a creamy pineapple finish.

The wine rating system uses a maximum of 5 stars:

5* outstanding – the top rating given by
4* very good wine
3* good wine but over priced
2* a disappointing wine
1* little to offer
0* avoid – pour down the drain

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© Paula Goddard 2021