Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to our big Chardonnay test 2021. Here we present all the Chardonnays we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best Chardonnay for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying a Chardonnay.




The most important Facts

  • Chardonnay is one of the most popular white wine varieties. Due to its high adaptability, the grape is now cultivated worldwide.
  • Chardonnay is characterised by a great variety of flavours and aromas. Depending on the region, climate and ageing, Chardonnays can develop a range of flavours from fruity to nutty, through creamy to woody.
  • Chardonnay comes in different varieties. In addition to white wine, there is sparkling wine, champagne and grappa. Chardonnay is also available as a non-alcoholic variant.

The Best Chardonnay: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying Chardonnay

What is Chardonnay and where does it come from?

Chardonnay is one of the most important white wine varieties today. It originated in the Burgundy region of France and has since spread all over the world. It owes its name to the small commune of Chardonnay, which gave the variety its name in 1872.

Chardonnay is one of the most popular wine varieties worldwide. Its variety of flavours makes Chardonnay an ideal accompaniment to a wide range of dishes. (Image source: pixabay.com / Steve Buissinne)

The grape variety originated as a cross between Gouais Blanc and Pinot and is characterised by greenish-yellow to amber-coloured grapes.

As a finished wine, Chardonnay usually has a light to golden yellow hue.

In some cases, however, a darker colour is possible if the wine has been stored in oak barrels (so-called barrique) and thus had intensive contact with wood.

There are various mutations of the Chardonnay wine variety, such as Chardonnay Blanc Musque, Chardonnay Rose or Chardonnay Blanc Seedless.

Where is Chardonnay grown?

Originally from France, Chardonnay was first spread throughout Europe by the Benedictine Order, among others. In the meantime, Chardonnay is cultivated worldwide on a total area of about 175,000 hectares.

The largest cultivation area is now in the USA, more precisely in California. In Germany, Chardonnay is cultivated especially in Rhineland-Palatinate and in Hesse along the Rhine.

Other important cultivation areas are:

Origin Vineyard area
France 45'243 ha
USA 40'846 ha
Australia 27'773 ha
Italy 19'709 ha
Chile 13'082 ha
South Africa 8'278 ha
Spain 6'958 ha

Which grape is Chardonnay?

The grapes are yellow-green and thin-skinned with soft berry flesh. The young leaves have a yellow-greenish colour and are evenly toothed.

The vine ripens medium early and does not tolerate late frost, but at the same time has proven resistant to winter frost. Its flowers are very sensitive and susceptible to grey mould rot.

The Chardonnay grape has a thin skin and a yellow-greenish skin. (Image source: pixabay.com / wpaczocha)

What does Chardonnay taste like?

Chardonnay is considered to be a very extract-rich wine whose taste can vary greatly depending on the growing and production conditions. Thus, a Chardonnay can taste meagre, dry as well as very strong and fruity.

The range of flavours can vary from walnut, apple or citrus notes to peach and exotic fruits. Particularly when matured in barriques, full-bodied aromas such as vanilla, caramel, cream, butter or coconut also emerge, accompanied by a light wood aroma.

Chardonnay is characterised by a rather high alcohol content of about 13% by volume and gains in quality with increasing maturity. Unlike the taste, the aroma of a Chardonnay is less pronounced.

How the different factors affect the taste of Chardonnay is also nicely explained in the following video.

What dishes does Chardonnay go with?

Chardonnay is an ideal drink for various dishes due to its varied flavours. We have summarised which Chardonnay goes best with which dishes in the following table:

Flavour Food
Light and young Chardonnay Goes well with seafood and fish (especially roasted and grilled salmon, tuna and redfish), white meat such as poultry and cream sauces.
Heavy and spicy Chardonnay Goes well with dark, roasted meats of pork, game, beef, strong cheeses, goulash, desserts, sweet and starchy vegetables (such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin) and mushrooms.

If you drink Chardonnay with a meal, you should make sure that the food is not too strongly spiced, as the wine will make it more noticeable.

How much does Chardonnay cost?

Chardonnay prices vary greatly depending on the region of origin, age and quality of the wine. The price of Chardonnay ranges from around 10 euros to over 100 euros. In the following table, we show you the approximate prices you can expect when you want to buy Chardonnay.

Type Price
Chardonnay wine from about 15 Euro
Chardonnay sparkling wine from about 10 Euro
Chardonnay Champagne from circa 40 Euro
Grappa di Chardonnay from circa 15 Euro

What are the alternatives to Chardonnay?

In addition to Chardonnay, other white wines are also available as alternatives. The most popular white grape varieties besides Chardonnay include the following grape varieties:

  • Riesling: With its dry to fruity-sweet taste, Riesling is the ideal summer wine. Dry to semi-dry Rieslings go particularly well with: sea and freshwater fish and boiled meat with light sauces.
  • Sauvignon Blanc: Sauvignon Blanc is excellent with fish dishes and seafood or with pasta with cream sauces.
  • Elbling: Elbling is also an ideal thirst quencher on nice summer days. It is distinguished by its lightness, tartness and freshness. Elbling is recommended with hearty snacks or with fish and seafood.
  • Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio / Grauburgunder: Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same grape variety, whereby "Gris" comes from the French growing regions and "Grigio" from Italian vines. The wine product of German winegrowers is called "Grauburgunder". The grape is extremely well known for its pronounced fruitiness and can be characterised as "tangy, fruity".
  • Torrontés: The grape variety from Galicia, Madrid, Andalusia, Argentina, Bulgaria or Portugal is considered a typical alternative to Chardonnay. The grape is sweetly soft and mostly reminiscent of ripe stone fruits such as apricot. Definitely a good companion for a warm summer evening!
  • Roussane:This is a rather rare grape variety, which is usually blended with other grapes as an "assemblage". However, it is definitely worth tasting the Roussane grape pure to enjoy unique and full-bodied aromas with a hint of a floral bouquet. Compared to the wines mentioned above, however, it is most likely to be one of the more acidic white wines.

What Types of Chardonnay are there and which is the right one for you?

What distinguishes a dry Chardonnay wine and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Dry Chardonnay wine has less sugar content and the wine is almost to fully fermented. Through-fermented wines have little or no residual sugar content. According to European legislation, 4 g of residual sugar per litre is permitted in dry wine.

Advantages
  • Less sugar content
  • Healthier
Disadvantages
  • Bitter taste

What characterises a sweet Chardonnay wine and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

A sweet Chardonnay can have a residual sugar content of 16 g/l. You can also enjoy a sweet Chardonnay with a light dessert. According to the EU directive, 18 to 46 g of residual sugar is permissible for the flavour designation "sweet".

Advantages
  • Sweet taste
  • also goes well with dessert
Disadvantages
  • High sugar content

Buying Criteria: These are the Factors you can use to compare and evaluate Chardonnay

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate Chardonnay wines. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular Chardonnay is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

Growing region

With Chardonnay, the region or climate in which the wine is grown plays an important role. The Chardonnay grape thrives best on calcareous soils, although the type of soil does not play a major role otherwise.

The Chardonnay vine enjoys worldwide popularity thanks to its robust and undemanding nature. It thrives in both warm and cool regions and does not make high demands on the soil. (Image source: pixabay.com / Didgeman)

The warmer the region, the lower the acidity of the wine, as it allows for a longer ripening period. In terms of taste, Chardonnays from warm regions tend to resemble tropical fruits such as pineapple or mango. Chardonnays from cooler regions have more of an acidic note of apples and citrus fruits.

Particularly high-quality young and light Chardonnay wines come from the French Chablis, among others.

But winemakers from Chile and New Zealand also tend to specialise in maturing in stainless steel tanks.

In California and Australia, on the other hand, barrique ageing dominates, so that full-bodied wines with a tasty woody aroma come from there in particular. These are also called "oaked" Chardonnays.

Vintage

Unlike red wines, white wines rarely benefit in taste from a long storage period. Nevertheless, Chardonnay is somewhat of an exception here.

For the light wines, a short storage period is sufficient, but in barrique ageing, it gains in body through several years of storage and thus develops a more powerful, creamy and woody aroma.

The age of a wine is often less decisive for the quality compared to the vintage. The regional climate in a specific growing region is decisive for a successful grape harvest.

On the one hand, the climatic conditions have a great influence on the ripening period and thus also on the taste. On the other hand, Chardonnay is considered to be a rather uncomplicated grape variety, which is very productive.

Production

In addition to the growing region, the type of vinification determines how the Chardonnay develops in terms of taste. The method of vinification varies depending on the region and the winemaker's preference. A distinction is made between the following vinification variants:

  • Maturation in oak barrels (so-called "barrique") for a full-bodied, wood- and butter-like aroma.
  • Maturation in stainless steel tanks for light, acidic wines.
  • Maturation on yeast (so-called "sur lie") for a bread-like aroma.
  • Sparkling wines such as sparkling wine and champagne.

Depending on the aroma you prefer, you should also consider the type of production or ageing when choosing your Chardonnay.

The taste of Chardonnay is strongly influenced by the maturation process. Depending on the ageing process, different nuances unfold in the aroma, which make every Chardonnay something special. (Image source: pixabay.com / RemiBoussico)

Processing and end product

The Chardonnay grape is more versatile than any other. In addition to white wine, it can also be used to make sparkling wine, champagne and grappa. If you want to buy a Chardonnay, you should first think about what exactly you want.

Chardonnay white wine

The classic among the Chardonnays. It is one of the most popular white wine varieties worldwide due to its variety of flavours.

Chardonnay Champagne

Only the best grapes are used to make Champagne and the whole process is subject to high quality standards. Officially, a total of only three grape varieties are permitted for the production of champagne - one of which is Chardonnay.

The Chardonnay used for Champagne production grows mainly on poor soils with a high lime content. The cool climate of the Champagne region ensures that the grapes cannot fully ripen and are therefore still very acidic at harvest time.

Champagne usually contains about 30 percent Chardonnay, with the exception of Blanc de Blancs, which is made entirely from Chardonnay.

Chardonnay sparkling wine

Fresh, fruity wines are primarily used for the production of sparkling wine. Here, too, Chardonnay impresses with its numerous fruity flavours, which allow it to be made into a delicious sparkling wine. There are pure Chardonnay sparkling wines as well as blends with other grape varieties.

A delicious sparkling wine that is made like a Champagne, but does not come from Champagne and thus may not bear the name, is the hermaphrodite Crémant.

As a sparkling wine, Chardonnay has also proven itself in the non-alcoholic version, as the enjoyment is not affected as much as with non-alcoholic white wine, despite the withdrawal of alcohol. This is primarily due to the addition of carbonic acid, which serves as an aroma substitute for the sparkling wine.

Grappa di Chardonnay

During wine production, residues were always left behind when the grapes were pressed. This so-called pomace was used to distil high-proof grappa brandy. If this spirit comes from Chardonnay grapes, the result is called Grappa di Chardonnay.

This digestif is gaining more and more recognition among gourmets, and the marcs are now carefully selected and processed for the production of grappa. Thus, in addition to the simple Grappa di Chardonnay, there is also the high-priced Grappa di Chardonnay Barrique, whose marc comes from oak barrel ageing.

Grappa di Chardonnay is best enjoyed from a special grappa glass at room temperature of 16 to 22 degrees.

Facts worth knowing about Chardonnay

How do I store Chardonnay correctly and how long can it be kept?

The shelf life of wines varies greatly and depends above all on the quality of the wine and the storage conditions. Basically, the more acidic or sugary a wine is, the longer it will keep. A high alcohol content of 12% to 13% also ensures a longer shelf life.

It is best to store your Chardonnay in a cool, slightly damp, dark cellar with natural soil.

Since only a few of us have such an old cellar, we recommend storing it in a wine-temperature control cabinet.

A wine temperature control cabinet ensures the right temperature and humidity of approx. 60% to 80% and protects the wine bottles from shocks, which can have a negative effect on the quality of the Chardonnay.

Most Chardonnays do not have too much storage potential and should therefore not be kept for longer than approx. two to three years.

Higher quality Chardonnays - mostly those from the barrique - can benefit from good storage and, given the right conditions, can still develop their flavour. Nevertheless, even this variety should not be stored at home for longer than two years.

If you have already opened the wine bottle, you should drink the wine as soon as possible. The bottle should be emptied within a maximum of 7 days.

Many wine drinkers make the mistake of letting a wine sit for too long and it begins to spoil relatively quickly. The spoilage of the wine is due to the oxygen in the bottle, which causes other chemical processes in addition to the normal oxidation. This can be counteracted with various tips:

  • Storing in the refrigerator
  • Protect the wine from oxygen by closing it airtight
  • The more that is left in the bottle, the longer the wine will keep.
  • Using a gas pump, which forces the oxygen out of the bottle and replaces it with gas.

According to the contents of the bottle, the following shelf life can be determined when stored in the refrigerator:

bottle contents shelf life
3/4 contents 1 week
1/2 contents 4-5 days
1/4 contents 2 days

How do I drink Chardonnay correctly?

Whether with a meal or just for fun, you can rarely go wrong with a glass of Chardonnay. However, it is important to know how you should serve Chardonnay so that it can unfold its exquisite taste in an ideal way.

As a white wine, Chardonnay is one of the wines that tastes best when chilled. This is the only way to ensure that they taste refreshing and not sour.

But chilled is not just chilled. Even with chilled white wines there are fine gradations.

To enjoy Chardonnay to the full, you should not serve it too cold. If the Chardonnay is too cold, it cannot develop its aroma properly and you will not be able to enjoy it as much.

The ideal drinking temperature for Chardonnay is therefore around 12 to 14 degrees. You can achieve this by putting the bottle in the fridge two to three hours before drinking.

Chardonnay should always be drunk chilled. (Image source: pixabay.com / 5519128)

In addition to the correct temperature, the development of the taste is also influenced by the glass from which the wine is drunk. You can find different types of wine glasses in shops, which are characterised by different volumes and heights. A voluminous Burgundy glass is best suited for a Chardonnay.

Image source: pixabay.com / Ben_Kerckx

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