Shout for Chardonnay!—
Chardonnay is an enigma. From deft sparkling Champagne to rich savoury whites matured in oak barrels, it’s as varied as Elton John’s wardrobe. ‘Unoaked’ on the label should ensure a zingy wine and pair oaked wines with food – rich oaky Chardonnay paired with cheddar cheese is thrilling. For intrigue as well as excellence, from off the beaten track I’ve tasted CheckMate Chardonnay from Canada and a dazzler from England that blows the pants off most Chablis – take a bow, Simpson’s Wine Estate in Barham, Kent. For consistent quality, South Africa is my tip and for top value, unoaked Australian wines are a hit.
OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH
Exquisite Australian Chardonnay 2018 (13.5%) £5.99 Aldi. Unoaked easy Aussie white for just over a fiver? This is a peach of a crowd-pleaser.
Journey’s End Honeycomb Chardonnay 2019 (13.5%) £8.50 M&S. Silky South African Chardonnay that’s perfect to pair with fish pie – or mature Cheddar!
Alain Geoffroy Petit Chablis 2018 (12.5%) £14.99 Oxford Wine Company. All the dazzling brightness and silky splendour without the heavier price tag of Premier Cru.
CheckMate Attack Chardonnay 2015 (13.9%) £65 iwbc.uk. Freshness with fullness, decant this rich iconic Canadian white for the connoisseur in your life.
WINE OF THE WEEK
Simpsons Gravel Castle Chardonnay (12.5%) £17 Robersonwine.com. Alive with vibrancy, this pristine unoaked Chardonnay is a flashlight in a bottle. Move over, Chablis.
For Olly’s previous recommendations and Mail on Sunday EVENT columns, visit here.