The 13 Best Chardonnay Wines in 2023

By Dirk Smits

Top Chardonnay Wines from Around the World

Chardonnay is the most famous white grape varietal in the planet. It is cultivated in many countries around the world and found its origin in Burgundy. DNA shows that it is a direct descendant of Pinot Noir, coupled with another old grape: Gouais Blanc. This means that we can reject the theory that the grape originates from the Middle East.

Chardonnay does not make high demands on the soil and the climate. Yields can range widely but high quality Chardonnays will be produced when yields are kept low. The soil and the microclimate will also determine the suitability for barrel fermentation and aging.

In France, Chardonnay is mainly found in Burgundy, particularly in the Côte d’Or where it produces great wines (Meursault, Montrachet), in the Côte de Beaune and Chablis where this grape varietal appreciates the clay-limestone soil. Chardonnay is also grown in Champagne, mainly in the Côtes des Blancs (a Blanc de Blancs Champagne is made only from Chardonnay). It is also found in the Jura, Languedoc and Alsace.

Besides France, Chardonnay is produced in all the major wine regions of the world: Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, California, Canada, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Israel and many other countries.

The grape has a huge potential and allows full expression of the winemaker and the climate where it is grown.;
in colder climates, Chardonnay will tend to give dry and fresh wines with notes of citrus and apples;
in warmer climates, the wines will be richer with a more exotic aroma and flavor palette;
– finally, in temperate climates, Chardonnay will express itself in a bouquet of flowers (acacias) and a range of white fruit.

A passage in oak barrels can bring toasted notes and spices such as vanilla to the wine. It will also have the virtue of giving depth to the wine and allowing it a better balance with the acidity of the wine and therefore greater aging potential.

> The below selection of Chardonnay wines are listed in alphabetical order.

1. Ram’s Gate, Estate Chardonnay 2019 | Carneros, California, USA

Origin: Carneros, California, USA
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay (mostly Wente selection)
Price: $76.00
ABV: 13.8%

With its cool climate, Carneros produces wines of great depth and distinction. Situated upon a rolling hillside, where the San Francisco Bay meets the edges of Napa and Sonoma counties, Ram’s Gate Winery patiently awaits. Winemaker Joe Nielsen is parlaying the estate vineyard into a model of thoughtful precision farming and sustainability, while also elevating each wine in the portfolio to its highest vineyard expression.

Fermented in barrel with no malolactic fermentation, the wine shows a straw yellow color with a nose of orange blossom, citrus and a hint of spice. The palate reveals lychee, honeycomb, juicy acidity and a hint of wet stone all culminating in a delicate, long finish.

> For more information, visit the Ram’s Gate Winery official website.

2. Ron Rubin, Chardonnay 2018 | Russian River Valley, California

Origin: Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California, USA
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Price: $20.00
ABV: 13.7%

Ron Rubin chooses to make his Chardonnay from grapes grown in the Russian River Valley in Sonoma where the cool morning fog sweeps from the Pacific Ocean nearly every day. This unique climate produces diurnal swings (the difference between the highest and lowest temperature in one day) from 35 to 40 degrees F, allowing the delicate Chardonnay grapes to ripen longer on the vine. As a result, Russian River Valley Chardonnay typically sees an increase in flavor and complexity.

This Chardonnay has a straw yellow color and reveals a basket full of freshly picked apples, with the addition of pears and Asian spices and a touch of well-proportioned oak. The palate has a creamy texture with fruity flavors and a hint of butter and oak. Refreshing acidity stretches out the palate and the wine finishes with subtle minerality.

> For more information, visit the Ron Rubin Winery official website.

3. Hahn, Chardonnay 2019 | Arroyo Seco, California, USA

Origin: Arroyo Seco, California, U.S.A.
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Price: $20.00
ABV: 14.5%

Hahn Family Wines’ founders Nicky and Gaby Hahn first came to the Santa Lucia Highlands in the late ’70s, and the Swiss-born couple quickly recognized the region’s potential to produce exceptional wines. The winery owns and farms 650 acres of estate vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands. The family also owns an additional 750 acres of prime vineyards in Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco AVA.

The Hahns released their first wine from SLH in 1980 and today, now run by second-generation vintner Philip Hahn, they own about 10% of the total acreage planted in the appellation. Hahn’s estate vineyards offer a diverse selection of terroir for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and other cool climate grape varietals.

This Hahn Chardonnay has a straw yellow color with aromas of pineapple, honey, white blossom, lemon zest and a touch of vanilla. The palate delivers lemon, tropical fruit and spices, all wrapped up in juicy acidity and ending in a well-balanced finish.

> For more information, visit Hahn Wines official website.

4. Stonestreet, Chardonnay 2018 | Alexander Valley, California, USA

Origin: Sonoma County, California
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Price: $36.00
ABV: 14.3%

Stonestreet Estate Vineyards is the story of a family’s vision to defy the limits of California winegrowing. Jess Stonestreet Jackson and Barbara Banke established the estate in 1995, and their son Christopher Jackson and his wife Ariel continue the legacy — and the middle name “Stonestreet” has now been passed from father to son for three generations. Stonestreet is one of the most expansive and multi-faceted mountain vineyards in the world and produces a distinctive collection of single vineyard wines — powerful Cabernet Sauvignon, soulful Chardonnay and eclectic Sauvignon Blanc.

The Jackson family acts as stewards of the land, caring for this 5,500 acre mountain estate that towers high above the Alexander Valley in the Mayacamas Mountain Range. Ranging 400ft to 2,400ft in elevation, the estate showcases a dramatic array of mesoclimates on peaks, valleys and ledges. The geological diversity of the mountain, which contains more soil types than all of France, confers a strong mineral characteristic in the fruit, while the challenges of farming at elevation produce smaller, more concentrated berry clusters.

As a blend of their best Chardonnay vineyard sites, the Estate bottling is one of the most compelling illustrations of their mountain estate.

The wine shows shades of a green-gold color. The nose reveals butterscotch, white flowers, apples, stone fruits and shaved almond. It is medium-bodied with ample ripe apple and tropical flavors ending in a clean, intense and refreshing finish.

> For more information, visit Stonestreet official website.

5. Famille Vincent, Bourgogne Blanc 2019 | Burgundy, France

Origin: Burgundy, France
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Price: $20.00
ABV: 13%

Famille Vincent Bourgogne Blanc is a tribute to Jean-Jacques Vincent who managed the family domaine of Château Fuissé for over past 40 years. It is a distinctive wine exclusively from the southern part of Burgundy near Mâcon and Pouilly-Fuissé. The Mâconnais area offers naturally rich soils with a high proportion of clay which leads to a wine rich in mineral character. Summer temperatures are generally higher in the Macônnais area than in northern Burgundy, affording the wines rich and ripe fruit character and soft acidity.

This Burgundy has a pale-yellow color. The nose is fruity with a discrete touch of vanilla. The palate is dense with flavors of ripe apples, melon and mineral ending in a long and elegant finish.

> For more information, visit Château de Fuissé official website.

6. 2016 William Fèvre Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru | Burgundy, France

2016 William Fèvre Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru

Origin: Chablis, Burgundy, France
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Price: $110
ABV: 13%

Burgundy is the clear king of Chardonnay-producing regions, and this Chablis would easily make anyone’s list of the most opulent and unforgettable wines from this land of Chardonnay royalty. Best of all, 2016 was an excellent year for this Clos and the resulting wine offers remarkable intensity and complexity.

On the nose it offers orange blossom and orchid with candied citrus and a hint of spice. A beautifully balanced wine, it offers faint salinity with sweet-tart citrus acidity, hints of stone fruit and good length.

> For more information, visit the William Fèvre official website.

7. 2015 Catena Alta Chardonnay | Mendoza, Argentina

2015 Catena Alta Chardonnay, Argentina

Origin: Mendoza, Argentina
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Price: $35
ABV: 13%

When thinking about New World Chardonnay, Argentina is not the first country that jumps to mind. However, this wine will make you think it should! A full-bodied wine, its flavors unfold in layers. There’s crisp apple, apricot and tingling citrus acidity to give it freshness. Best of all, it finishes with an austere minerality that will make you think of Burgundy, not South America. It’s truly a remarkable wine for the price.

> For more information, visit the Catena official website.

8. 2012 Domaine de Montbourgeau L’Étoile Cuvée Spéciale | Jura, France

2012 Domaine de Montbourgeau L'Etoile Cuvée Spéciale

Origin: Jura, France
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Price: $39
ABV: 13%

If you’re looking for a new tasting experience, this wine may be just what your palate craves. What makes this wine unique is the technique by which it is made. The wine ages for five years in barrel without ever being topped off.

The result is a wine that slowly concentrates, offering intense flavors and great complexity. Slightly chalky on the palate, it is a voluptuous wine with floral and fruit as well as savory, slightly earthy flavors. If you’re ready for a new taste experience, try this wine.

> For more information, visit the Domaine de Montbourgeau official website.

Fruity and easy to drink, Chardonnays can be paired with just about any dish involving eggs, fish or fowl. This popular white wine generally comes in two styles: showing either a steely, fruitlike and crisp character or barrel-fermented, rounder and buttery flavors.

9. Ponzi Reserve Chardonnay2014 | Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA

2014 Ponzi Reserve Chardonnay

Origin: Willamette Valley, Oregon, U.S.A.
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Price: $40
ABV: 13.9%

Lovers of Oregon wine are probably familiar with the Ponzi name, but as a Pinot Noir producer. Although the winery is best known for classic Willamette reds, they also make noteworthy Chardonnays.

This Reserve Chardonnay is a wine to remember with its notes of citrus zest and tropical flowers on the nose. Its flavors don’t disappoint, offering a lush, oily mouthfeel and layers of Meyer lemon, apple and hints of spice and vanilla.

> For more information, visit the Ponzi Vineyards official website.

10. Gehricke Chardonnay 2016 | Russian River Valley, California, USA

2016 Gehricke Chardonnay

Origin: Russian River Valley, California, U.S.A.
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Price: $28
ABV: 14.1%

This wine makes our list of the best Chardonnay wines not only for its flavor, but also for its remarkable price. This is one of the most affordable American Chardonnays you could hope to find.

Its aromas are a gorgeous blend of tropical pineapple and banana with a whiff of toasted marshmallow. Tropical notes carry through to the flavor along with a slightly biting note of citrus peel.

> For more information, visit the Gehricke Wines official website.

11. Alois Lageder Löwengang Chardonnay 2015 | Alto-Adige, Italy

2015 Alois Lageder Löwengang Chardonnay

Origin: Alto-Adige, Italy
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Price: $45
ABV: 13.5%

This wine from cool-climate northern Italy makes our list of the best Chardonnay wines for its subtlety and sophistication. Its intensely floral aromas make your mouth long to taste the wine.

The palate is rich with pear flavor and bright lemon acidity, rounded out by minerality. A medium-bodied wine, its finish lingers for a satisfying length. If you’re looking for a white wine experience that is elegant and food-friendly, this wine is always a solid choice.

> For more information, visit the Alois Lageder official website.

12. Fall Creek Vineyards Terroir Reflections Series Chardonnay 2015, Certenberg Vineyards | Texas, USA

2015 Fall Creek Vineyards Terroir Reflections Series Chardonnay, Certenberg Vineyards

Origin: Texas Hill Country, Texas U.S.A.
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Price: $50
ABV: 13.5%

As you might expect from Texas, this is one big Chardonnay. If you like your wines with lush tropical fruit and the influence of malolactic fermentation, this bottling is for you.

Aromas of pineapple, banana and butterscotch are voluptuous. The tropical theme continues on the palate with bright pineapple and Meyer lemon, a touch of vanilla and a pleasant minerality. The malolactic fermentation gives the wine an undeniably soft, almost plush texture.

> For more information, visit the Fall Creek Vineyards official website.

13. Xanadu Estate Chardonnay 2015 | Margaret River, Australia

2015 Xanadu Estate Chardonnay, Margaret River

Origin: Margaret River, Western Australia
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Price: $25
ABV: 13%

A lesser-known Chardonnay from Australia’s popular Margaret River region, this is one you’re going to want to discover. It’s a surprisingly elegant wine. A medium-bodied Chardonnay, it has faintly floral aromas with stone fruits coming through.

The palate is a balance of peaches and minerality with a jolt of grapefruit acidity. It’s a lovely choice for a party or brunch. You really can’t beat it for the price.

> For more information, visit the Xanadu Wines official website.