An international group of women winelovers recently got together in two separate sessions in Santiago and Concón, Chile, to check out a range of Chardonnays and see how Chilean Chardonnays compare to those from other countries. These were the findings from our Chardonnay tasting:
1) Two wines from Chablis in Burgundy, which is famed for producing unoaked, austere and mineral Chardonnays.
Samuel Billaud, Les Grands Terroirs, 2014
A pale lemon in colour, this wine has aromas of green apples, peaches, nectarines and a touch of citrus and a marked minerality. This is a dry, refreshing wine with zesty acidity and that enticing blend of minerals and fruit are apparent again in the mouth.
Jean Paul Droin, Premier Cru Vaillons, 2012
As with the other Chablis, this wine was a pale lemon colour and had that intriguing mix of minerality (almost chalky notes) combined with aromas of stone fruit (peaches and nectarines) and melon. There was also a floral note on the nose. This too was a dry, refreshing wine, a little less austere and with more intense flavours than the Samuel Billaud. The stone fruit and melon came through and the minerality was even more apparent.
Chateau de Puligny Montrachet, Les Sous Roches, 2010, Saint Romain, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy
Much more golden in colour than the unoaked wines, this wine had a pronounced and complex nose with notes of malolactic fermentation (butter, butterscotch, hazelnut) and ageing (hazelnut, honey, syrup). This was a lovely, well-balanced and complex dry wine with medium acidity and medium body.
Don Miguel Vineyard, Marimar Chardonnay, 2010, Russian River Valley, California
Also a beautiful golden colour, this wine had pronounced and complex notes from the oak (vanilla), the malolactic fermentation (toffee, hazelnuts, caramel) and the ageing (biscuit, tar, petrol, hazelnuts, honey). This was a dry wine with medium acidity and full body. Flavourful, like a liquid pudding – think banana split with vanilla-infused caramel sauce and hazelnuts! A delicious, very full-on wine for enjoying with food.
3) Three Chilean wines with varying levels of oak
Quintay Clava, Casablanca Valley – no oak
This was the exact same shade of pale lemon as the Chablis. This wine was much fruitier than the Chablis, with some citrus (lemon) and a more tropical fruit profile (pineapple, melon) but without the minerality. A nice, dry, fruity wine, simple in style with the tropical fruit (pineapple, melon) again apparent in the mouth.
William Fevre Espino, 2014, Maipo Valley – lightly oaked
This wine was slightly more golden in colour and featured clear aromas of green apple. In the mouth, it was dry, with medium acidity and medium body. The wine had a nice texture – the oak influence showed in a smoother, more rounded mouthfeel compared to the unoaked varieties. The green apple came through again in the mouth. Very pleasant.
Domaine Raab Ramsay Chardonnay, Marga Marga Valley – lees, MLF and oak
Much more golden in colour, this wine had a pronounced and complex nose with tropical fruit aromas (bananas, pineapple), a creamy, yogurt influence from lees stirring, hints of caramel and nuts from the malolactic fermentation and some savoury notes from the ageing process. A very interesting wine from this small, organic producer.
Want to find out about some of the Chilean wineries producing Chardonnay? Click these links for visit reports: