10 cheap chardonnays

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Taste Food and Wine 2009 by Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer

Taste Food and Wine 2009 by Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer

Entertaining over long periods, such as Christmas and New Years, often means keeping the cellar and fridge well stocked for unexpected visitors and extended entertaining. This selection of ten cheap and very cheerful chardonnays will keep your guests happy and your bank account healthy.

Hardys Nottage Hill Chardonnay     2007    $10.00
Notty has done it again and takes the honour of leading the way in our Chardonnay list for the third year running. It has honeyed, crème brûlée flavours and a surprising amount of sexy oak for this little money making it one of the best value wines on the market.  

Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay     2007    $10.00       
It's always a hotly contested competition and we're only seconds away from round one. The first match in the white wine section this year and the two wines are Notty an Lindy. In the blue corner is Notty and in the red is Lindy. Matthew with his spit bucket and white towel is championing Lindy. Tyson in his close-fitting kimono is backing Notty. Go boys. Fosters and Hardys are Australia’s two biggest wine companies and they go head to head with these two wines. We do, too, and so should you. Put them both on the table and you be the referee. Will the honesty of this creamy, lush, pineapple-chunk flavoured wine bring it up trumps?

McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate Chardonnay     2008    $10.00
What’s remarkable about this wine is its lightness. Made from twenty percent cool climate fruit, it is perfect for those of you who drink elegant wines. For the more sensitive souls out there, this wine isn’t going to bring you to tears. With fresh baby mandarin segments and an ethereal air to the palate, it’s totally opposite in style to the two Chardonnays before of it.   

Possums The Springs Unwooded Chardonnay    2008    $13.50   
A brand new name to the book, and it’s nice to see an original Aussie name on a bottle of wine. However, it is not made from what it says on the label. We can assure you it is made from grapes. Although, having said that, there is an unmistakable tang to this unoaked Chardonnay that certainly snaps you to attention. A perfect food and wine match would be stunning goat’s cheese salad or really push the boat out and make some gougères  – then wash these snazzy cheese puffs down with a glass of the possum.

De Bortoli Windy Peak Chardonnay     2007    $13.50
As you progress through Taste 2009 notes, as it did last year, the name Windy Peak appears a hell of a lot. In fact, there are so many wines here from this extraordinary producer that you could buy a mixed case, which makes Windy Pants the only true all-rounder in Taste 2009. This Chardy is bloody lovely - 'nuf said.

Bleasdale Langhorne Creek Chardonnay     2008    $14.00
Langhorne Creek is hardly famous for its Chardonnay, so it’s a massive credit to Bleasdale that, despite having their eye on their more famous red grapes, they can make a white as fresh and tight as this. Its fresh citrus blossom bouquet is like an icy breeze through an open window.   

Alkoomi Wines Unwooded Chardonnay     2008    $16.00   
While most of Australia's best cheapie Chardys tend to hail from South Australia and Victoria, Western Australia deserves your attention when it comes up with wines as fresh and zesty as this. It's a contrasting style, made from cool Frankland fruit giving it Asian pear and fresh ginger purity and it performs exactly as should - unwooded and uncomplicated.

De Bortoli Yarra Valley Gulf Station Chardonnay
    2007    $17.00
The only problem with this wine, as you will see when you reach the Pinot Noir as well, is that it will take six more months to reach its ideal drinking period. Far from a problem, you'll just have to drink something else in the meantime. That’s why we’re here! You have much to look forward to in this very restrained, textured style, made to a much more serious specification than any Gulf Station that has gone before it.

Ad Hoc “Hen and Chicken” Chardonnay   
  2007    $18.00
When we set out to tackle the three-and-a-half thousand wines that we short-list for this book, there is no need for us to fulfil the duty of ticking every regional box in Australia but no sooner did we find a beautiful Frankland Chardonnay that a Pemberton one turned up as well. Well done WA for making great Chardonnay outside of the stronghold of Margaret River. The flavour profiles that we enjoy from these diverse regions allow so many more recipes to come into play, rather than the same old style of wines being made everywhere. Keep ‘em coming – we’ll never get thirsty when we have these wines to hand. Thanks Larry!   

Kumeu River Village Chardonnay
    2007    $22.00   
This is a serious "Grand Vin," but it has the word "Village" on its label! Kumeu alludes to the classic French Burgundies in the name of this wine and in the bottle it has loads of high tensile Puligny-Montrachet-like fruit. It's too young now, thank goodness, and perhaps a little too serious for some, so only drink this wine if you think you're remotely competent with this grape variety. If you're not, you're not allowed. So there!



Reproduced with permission. © Copyright Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer 2008

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December 02nd, 2008
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