Thought chardonnay had gone the way of the chicken, cranberry and brie panini? Think again. Chardonnay is back, baby, and it's better than ever
Question: what do chardonnay, mom jeans and Winona Ryder have in common? Answer: All three were big in the 90s, and they're big again today.
Far from the over-oaked, butterscotch bombs that dominated the 80s and 90s, today's chardonnays are lighter and more refined. Oak is used more subtly, and some chardonnays even forgo the wood altogether, allowing the multi-dimensional flavours of the variety to shine.
Elegant, creamy, toasty and complex, chardonnay is fabulous with food and equally lovely on its own.
Five chardonnays to try:
1. Church Road McDonald Series Chardonnay
Fragrant and fruit-forward, this elegant wine is complemented by notes of gunflint, hazelnut and nougat. The oak is subtle, helping to round out the palate and add complexity.
2. Matawhero Chardonnay
This Mendoza clone of chardonnay is grown at the Tietjen vineyard in the famous Golden Slopes region of Gisborne. It has aromas of stonefruit and butterscotch with a lovely rich palate.
3. Peter Yealands Chardonnay
Pineapple, citrus and stone fruit flavours combine seamlessly with subtle toasty oak. The palate combines ripe fruit, lees complexity and subtle oak with a fresh elegant finish.
4. Gunn Estate Chardonnay
A delicious aroma of peaches and apricots with a hint of melon and creamy, nutty undertones. A fresh and lively chardonnay with intense fruit flavours – luscious and lasting from beginning to end.
5. Cloudy Bay Chardonnay
This regional benchmark has rich plum and berry fruit flavours lifted by fragrant spice, violet and liquorice aromas.