Top 10 Chardonnay Producers

The most impressive wines and where they come from

 


In honor of GTiChardonnay, I have put together my top 10 list of Chardonnay producers around the world. While this is a pretty comprehensive list, I do want to remind you that my top 10 lists always take pricing into account. I limit my purchases of wine to a rather extravagant $100 bottle, so don’t be surprised to not see the greatest white Burgundies here.

This is my list of best Chardonnays, as in those that are most impressive to me. There may be some wines that I’ve scored more highly than these, but that simply makes it a great wine, not necessarily one I love. There is a difference. I’m sure you’ll agree with my principles and disagree with my choices which, my friends, is awesome!

I would love to know YOUR favorite Chardonnay producers. Let’s see where there is overlap, where the great wines that we all like come from, and what the defining traits of our favorite Chardonnays are. Let me know your thoughts by leaving them in the comments here! I can’t wait to hear from you all!

Photo courtesy katielmasters via Flickr/CC

Domaine Leflaive

Domaine Leflaive is one of the big Burgundian négociants and as such they maintain access to some of the greatest vineyards of the region. They also tend to offer a rather complete selection of wines from lowly satellite villages wines right up through the Grand crus.

Ramey

David Ramey has been a top California winemaker for decades. You’ve probably drunk some of his wines without even realizing it, whether they came from SimiChalk Hill, or Dominus. Of course with David’s eponymous Ramey label, you’ll know what you’re getting. That is rich, elegant and classic California Chardonnay that shows a fine combination of power and restraint.

Neudorf

I first tasted Neudorf’s Chardonnay several years ago at a large tasting, but have recently re-tasted the wines. Along with Kumeu River, Neudorf has emerged as one of the finest producers of Chardonnay in New Zealand. They are leading the way towards quality and typicity as New Zealand transitions from a successful wine producing country to a wine producing country with distinctive regional expressions. The Neudorf wines are very finely textured, possess exceptional balance and length, and have real tension in the mouth. I am looking forward to watching them develop.

Domaine Louis Carillon

Some times winemakers are overlooked simply because they build their wines differently than others do. Their wines, built around texture rather than immediate aromatic appeal, tend to  get lost in a crowd. Of course, that delicacy is an asset to many. The wines of Louis Carillon are one of these wines. They get lost in a crowd, they need some bottle age, but when they hit, it's a remarkable event. They have textural depth that is like layers of the finest silk all wrapped up in rich yet remarkably pure fruit flavors. A real benchmark for me.

Kumeu River

A Chardonnay specialist. It’s not often that you see that, but New Zealand’s Kumeu River really does specialize in Chardonnay, putting out several bottlings. These are wonderfully transparent wines with real finesse. I love them for their precision and depth of flavors even though they tend to have a rather airy texture. And if you want to talk terroir, two of their top Chardonnays come from vineyards separated by a few tens of yards. The Hunting Hill is lean, focused and tense, while the Mate’s is one of the most balanced, richly flavored yet elegant Chardonnays you can find!

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  • The Hamilton Russel Vineyards has become a hallmark of fine South African Pinot Noir and Chardonnay over the last few decades. “We want to produce wines as Burgundian as possible here in South Africa - Wines from South African soil with a Burgundian soul” says Anthony Hamilton Russell http://schiller-wine.blogspot.com/2... schiller-wine

    Feb 02, 2012 at 11:37 AM


  • Snooth User: rsalvaria
    366482 1

    My "price no object" favorites are Newton "Unfiltered" and various offerings from Patz & Hall, particularly Hyde Vineyards and Dutton Ranch. Rombauer offers a great medium priced chardonnay which complex and is consistently good. However, as a house wine for everyday use, we like the Acacia "Carneros". It's usually available for around $12, and has layers of great flavor and is wonderful with food. It's typically better than some of the $20+ varieties that we have tried.

    Feb 02, 2012 at 5:35 PM


  • Snooth User: brujazz
    532433 11

    In Oregon, the Ponzi Reserve is wonderful. Burgundian in style and at thirty dollars a bottle, it presents incredible value. At the same price, but stylistically different, Sonoma's Simoneau Vinyards, Brenda Lee Chardonnay is purely lucious. At a higher price, but well worth the bucks are the Chardonnays from Kistler and Williams Selyem. All wines mentioned can be enjoyed at release but really benefit from one to three years of aging.

    Feb 03, 2012 at 2:33 PM


  • Snooth User: brujazz
    532433 11

    In Oregon, the Ponzi Reserve is wonderful. Burgundian in style and at thirty dollars a bottle, it presents incredible value. At the same price, but stylistically different, Sonoma's Simoneau Vinyards, Brenda Lee Chardonnay is purely lucious. At a higher price, but well worth the bucks are the Chardonnays from Kistler and Williams Selyem. All wines mentioned can be enjoyed at release but really benefit from one to three years of aging.

    Feb 03, 2012 at 2:33 PM


  • Snooth User: SAWI
    373015 9

    Well done for acknowleding Hamilton Russel, but as I have said before, where is Bouchard Finlayson? Both from Hemel & Aarde Valley, Western Cape, South Africa. Izak

    Feb 03, 2012 at 2:57 PM


  • Ah, you have to add Rombauer Chardonnay , St. Helena, California.
    "The Crack Cocaine of Chardonnay"

    Feb 03, 2012 at 7:08 PM


  • Have you tried Pierro Chardonnay from Australia. It got great finesse

    Feb 03, 2012 at 11:19 PM


  • Snooth User: Buckyboy
    888314 17

    Two American Chardonnays that I believe are absolutely outstanding, and that are usually passed over, are Newton "Unfiltered" and Pride Mountain, both from the Spring Mountain district of the Napa Valley. These should be on everybody's top list of domestic Chardonnays.

    Buckyboy

    Feb 05, 2012 at 11:06 AM


  • Snooth User: JOANF
    83389 65

    Talbot:
    Cuvee Audrey, Diamond T, Sleepy Hollow
    Best for my buck!

    Feb 05, 2012 at 3:16 PM


  • Vincent Arroyo's Chardonnay!!

    Feb 05, 2012 at 5:09 PM


  • Snooth User: D9sus4
    163476 307

    Dutton-Goldfield Chardonnay is definitely one of my all around favorites. Not sure why Chateau Montelena and Grgich Hills Chardonnays didn't make the cut.

    Feb 06, 2012 at 8:07 AM


  • Snooth User: Jeoff2
    1042953 0

    The Hemel en Aarde valley has some amazing chardonnays but I feel that Sumaridge Estate has produced some fantastic chardonnays over the past few years and defiantly is on the top of my list.

    Feb 21, 2012 at 6:12 AM


  • Rombauer is a favorite.

    Mar 03, 2012 at 6:49 AM


  • I agree with the Dutton Ranch and Patz and Hall Lovers. I also love Rombauer chardonnay. In general I love Russian River Valley Wines (Iron Horse Chardonnay) also.

    Apr 20, 2014 at 2:07 AM


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