How to Choose the Best Chardonnay Wine

Green grapes gave us the popular white wine, Chardonnay, to tickle our taste buds just when we thought we'd had enough quality wines. If you are a wine lover who is always sceptical about which quality wine to purchase, this guide is for you. Selecting good Chardonnay can be challenging, so we've put together some pointers to help you choose the perfect one for your taste.

Why is Chardonnay Loved?

Chardonnay is a versatile white grape grown in many regions worldwide, including Burgundy, France, America, California, and Australia. Chablis, a region in Burgundy, is renowned for its complex and mineral-driven Chardonnays, which have high acidity, flavours of apples, and chalky minerality. Australia and New Zealand excel in producing Chardonnays as well, focusing on fruit purity and minimal oak influence to maintain the liquor's sparkling nature. Chardonnay is the main grape in blanc de blancs champagne, which is expensive but of superb quality. Wine lovers are drawn to the wine because of its uniqueness and versatility.

Chardonnay is typically a dry wine, meaning it's not sweet. The grapes' natural sugars are fully converted to alcohol during fermentation, leaving little to no residual sugar in the final product. However, some Chardonnays may have a slight perception of sweetness due to their fruity flavours or the use of oak aging, which can impart a rich, creamy texture.

The Zest of Chardonnay Wine

Chardonnay wines have unique zest, which is mostly shaped by climate and time of harvest. Cooler climates and early harvest increase citrus notes in the grapes. Oregon and Burgundy have the best weather for growing white grapes. Collectively, Chardonnays have a green apple, pineapple, and lemon zest, plus a unique chalky mineral taste. Also, in warmer climates like California and Australia, Chardonnays have more residual sugar and less acidity.

Sometimes, the intensity of flavours can be affected by some factors, such as the type of oak used (French or American), the shape of the oak, etc. French oak tends to add more delicate flavours, while American oak usually gives stronger ones.


The climate where grapes are grown really matters for the taste and feel of the wine. Chardonnays from cooler climates, like Burgundy or New Zealand, tend to be lighter and crisp with that high acidity and mineral flavour that goes so well with seafood or a fresh salad. On the flip side, Chardonnays from warmer places like California or South Africa are usually richer and more full-bodied, with a bit less sharpness and more of a fruity punch. They complement heartier meals like a roast chicken or a dish with a creamy sauce really well.

Chardonnay's taste can get pretty interesting because of the winemaking process, especially during the malolactic fermentation stage. That's where the sharp malic acid in the grapes softens into creamier lactic acid, giving some Chardonnays that rich, buttery feel everyone talks about. This is one of the reasons Chardonnay is known as the winemaker's grape—its versatility. Complex wine varieties from the cooler climate regions or the lush Australian Chardonnay have that smooth, creamy texture, thanks to this process. So whether you're pairing a glass with some pork tenderloin or enjoying it solo, that creamy mouthfeel is all about the magic of fermentation.

Oaked and Unoaked Chardonnay

One of the most important things to know about Chardonnay is whether it's oaked or unoaked. Oaked Chardonnays are aged in oak barrels, which add vanilla and caramel zest to the drink. They're often full-bodied, with a soft, velvety texture and a toasty or buttery note. Oak aging lets a little bit of air mix with the wine, softening the tannins and making the texture smoother.

Unoaked Chardonnays are fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. When properly fermented, unoaked Chardonnays preserve the wine's natural crispness and fresh fruit flavours, resulting in a refreshing blanc de blancs feel with flavours of green apple and citrus. These are often described as "clean" and "pure."

Price and Value

You don't have to break the bank to enjoy a great bottle of Chardonnay. They are available at various price points, from budget-friendly options to premium bottles. Chardonnays come in a range of styles and complexities. The more affordable options are usually fruit-forward, while mid-range wines might have oak aging or malolactic fermentation for extra complexity. Premium varieties from famous regions stand out for their depth and aging potential. Choose based on your personal taste and budget.

How to Find Good Deals


A premium Chardonnay is smooth and has a mix of flavours like lemon, peach, sometimes tropical fruit and a little vanilla from the oak barrels it's aged in. It's not too heavy and leaves a nice, crisp feeling when you drink it. Look for Chardonnays with good reviews or ratings from reputable sources like Wine Enthusiast or Vinous.

If you are on a budget, you can always find great deals on Chardonnay without breaking the bank. Skip the big names and go for less famous regions, as they offer amazing wine for way less. Ask for recommendations from knowledgeable staff at your local wine shop. You might stumble upon a hidden gem from lesser-known regions.

To spot good deals on Chardonnay wines, here's what to keep in mind:

  • Explore Satellite Regions: Look beyond well-known areas to neighbouring regions for high-quality Chardonnay at better prices.
  • Mind the ABV: Wines with an ABV of 11% or higher usually indicate a dry Chardonnay. This can be a sign of quality at a good price.
  • Pairing Experiments: Try different food pairings with Chardonnays. Finding a versatile wine can feel like an extra win for your wallet.
  • Price Points: High-quality Chardonnays don't always have a steep price.
  • Read the Label: If you prefer light and fruity, go for unoaked Chardonnay. If you like them smooth and rich, look for oaked versions.

Our Hidden Sea Chardonnay is an excellent choice for those seeking both high quality and value. It delivers a premium taste experience at a friendly price, and every bottle supports our dedication to ocean conservation. It's the ideal choice for wine lovers who appreciate the great flavour, quality craftsmanship, and environmental responsibility.

Chardonnay and Food Pairings


Chardonnay pairs perfectly with a wide range of dishes. When it comes to seafood, salads, and white meats, unoaked Chardonnay is a perfect pair. Its high acidity and crisp flavours complement the delicate flavours of these dishes, while their citrus and herbal aromas enhance the overall taste experience. Meanwhile, oaked Chardonnay is better suited for dishes like roasted chicken, creamy pasta, and rich, buttery sauces. The wine's oak-derived flavours of vanilla and baking spices complement the caramelized flavours of roasted vegetables or onions, making it a perfect pair.

Chardonnay wines are perfect for pairing with a variety of cheeses. When it comes to wine and cheese boards, Chardonnay is a natural choice. For a refreshing pairing, combine pineapple and apple notes of Chardonnay with the creamy texture of Brie or Camembert.

Wrapping Up

From the bright and zingy unoaked types to the rich, buttery oaked ones, Chardonnay has a unique style.

The key to finding the best Chardonnay is to know what flavours you enjoy, explore wines from various regions, and don't overlook the less famous areas for great value. Ask around for recommendations, experiment with food pairings, and remember that price isn't always an indicator of quality. This way, you'll be sure to find a Chardonnay that's just right for you. Enjoy the journey of discovery, and cheers for your next glass.

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