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Home Winners > Winners 2015 > NEW WORLD: Chardonnay The Americas

Winner Details

New World: Chardonnay The Americas


2015: Gold 2 Silver 12 Bronze 6 Commended 11
2014: Gold 2 Silver 2 Bronze 8 Commended 7


On this evidence, the Americas is experiencing very different fortunes with its most historically important white grape. Our tasters genuinely loved much of what they tried from the US – yes it was expensive, for the most part, and yes the wines were fairly big for the most part, but, crucially, they were also in balance.

Down in South America, it’s a more diffuse story. There are signs that Chile is finally prepared to try and make wines above £12 (which is heartening), but yet again there were no Gold-Listed wines (which is less so). One Gold in the past four years is a dismal return for the country and suggests that the winemakers really need to learn from what their peers elsewhere are doing with the grape.

Argentina fared slightly better (and the feedback, certainly, was more positive) – while the appearance of a Silver medal-winning Brazilian Chardonnay at under a tenner could be a useful way of adding a bit of interest to your wine list.

From The Tasting Teams


‘Tasting the Californians was like sitting down with an old episode of Friends. It reminded you why you loved Chardonnay in the first place. They weren’t restrained, but they were balanced, and it didn’t feel like they were overworking them.’ Donald Edwards, consultant

‘The Californians are not moving away from the style they’ve got but they are managing it better. Some people like that richer style, and the Aussies aren’t making it any more.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

‘There was a big range of prices, style and quality in the Chilean wines – and the three weren’t always interlinked. We found wines at £6 that were better than ones twice the price.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader

‘As you moved up through the price-points the Californians became more refined and balanced. This was my favourite flight so far.’ Sam Caporn MW, consultant

‘Stylistically, I’d say Argentina is halfway between Chablis and Burgundy, with fresh fruit and brightness. It’s an interesting combination, and means there’s a reason to put it on a list, which Casablanca, for instance, hasn’t managed to achieve.’ Neil Bruce, Studio Alto

Award winners

Found 31 wines

New World: Chardonnay, The Americas

Grgich Hills Estate, Chardonnay 2012, Napa Valley, California, USA

Gold medal winner

Almost Chablis-like in its purity. Consultant sommelier Courtney Stebbings summed up the appeal: 'Spring blossom, almond and kernel. The palate is delicious, with an elegant vibrancy.' ‘Classy, reductive nose, lovely fruit flavour, and much lighter and cooler than normal for the US. Bright, vivid and impressive,’ said team leader Richard Bampfield MW, with Charles Pashby-Taylor of Dabbous adding: ‘Nice grapefruit and lemon notes, fresh acidity and chalky minerality.’ Pair with cod cheeks or monkfish.

£28.50 Grgich Hills Estate

Bachelder, Chardonnay 2012, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA

Gold medal winner

Barrel fermentation and lengthy ageing gives Bachelder the 'restrained, mineral, elegant style' that led this wine to the top. ‘Lemon rind and lemon posset on the nose, this is lovely with a clean, fresh bite,’ said team leader Angela Reddin, continuing: ‘Excellent oak handling, bright acidity and a long, mineral finish. Very classic style.’ 'Super-impressive,' said consultant sommelier Courtney Stebbings, adding: 'Beautifully balanced, with pure fruit.' Match with fleshy white fish with lemon.

£20.00 Liberty Wines

Concha y Toro, Frontera, Chardonnay 2014, Central Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘Zesty, with fresh tropical fruits. Very fruity and great value,’ said team leader Laura Rhys MS. ‘Stone fruits combined with tropical notes and fresh acidity, in an easy Chardonnay style,’ agreed Charles Van Wyk of FJB Hotels.

£5.53 Viña Concha y Toro

Santa Rita, Gran Hacienda, Reserva, Chardonnay 2012, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

'Mineral and chalky, with well-integrated oak and citrus notes. Elegant and good length on the finish,' said Matteo Malquori of Hakkasan Hanway Place. 'Passion fruit character with good acid/fruit balance,' added Neil Bruce of Studio Alto.

£7.33 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Cambria Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay 2013, Santa Maria Valley, California, USA

Silver medal winner

‘Vanilla, butter and cream, with apricot fruit, rich and ripe with a full finish,’ said consultant Sam Caporn MW of this big wine with its well-integrated oak with just a hint of saline. Guillaume Mahaut of The Jugged Hare noted: ‘Nutty wood, citrus and meringue notes with a lemon hint.’

£13.38 Fells

Hess, Select, Chardonnay 2013, Monterey County, California, USA

Silver medal winner

‘Good nose with delicate almond and marzipan, lovely spicy oak and balance,’ began Guillaume Mahaut of The Jugged Hare. ‘Smoky bacon nose, soft peach melba flavours and oak,’ added team leader Angela Reddin.

£11.50 Liberty Wines

Truchard, Carneros Chardonnay 2012, Napa Valley, California, USA

Silver medal winner

'The palate is bright and pleasant, with apple and lime the focus of the acidity,' said consultant sommelier Courtney Stebbings. ‘Savoury apricot on the nose, with big, vibrant fruit and quite prominent oak,’ said consultant Donald Edwards, adding: ‘Makes me want a veranda and a shawl and an agent.’

£17.23 Bibendum

Argento, Selección, Chardonnay 2014, Mendoza, Argentina

Silver medal winner

‘Green apples with yellow melon and subtle oak on the nose, with a clean, crisp fruit salad style on a palate with lovely balance,’ said Neil Bruce of Studio Alto. ‘Vanilla and ripe tropical fruits with some hints of spice and stone fruits,’ added team leader Tom Forrest.

£7.63 Bibendum

Catena, Chardonnay 2013, Mendoza, Argentina

Silver medal winner

‘Citrus and white fruit flavours, mineral and oaky, with good balance and drinkability,’ began Matteo Malquori of Hakkasan Hanway Place. ‘Mouthwateringly zesty and fresh. Lovely,’ added Neil Bruce of Studio Alto.

£10.88 Bibendum

Delicato, Black Stallion, Chardonnay 2013, Napa Valley, California, USA

Silver medal winner

‘Soft floury apples and roasted lemon aromas, followed by toasty flavours, with good intensity, balance and a long fresh finish,’ said team leader Angela Reddin of Delicato's more restrained, elegant style. ‘Light stone fruit, buttery and rich in style,’ added consultant Sam Caporn MW.

£14.02 Bibendum

Matias Riccitelli, Vineyard Selection, Chardonnay 2014, Mendoza, Argentina

Silver medal winner

‘Pale gold, with toasty new oak and spice, sawdust notes on the nose, toasty fruit and tropical character on the palate, with good length,’ said team leader Tom Forrest, with Neil Bruce of Studio Alto adding: ‘Big, intense, rich and ripe.’

£16.25 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Ventisquero, Tara, Chardonnay 2012, Atacama, Chile

Silver medal winner

‘Bold fruit with good structure, nice complexity and elegance,’ said team leader Laura Rhys MS, with Oscar Miller of Vinoteca King's Cross noting its ‘apple custard and perfume’ characters. 'Generous, this is crisp, vibrant, long and juicy, with amazing length. A class of its own!' said Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison.

£23.50 The Wine Treasury

Bachelder, Johnson Vineyard, Chardonnay 2012, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA

Silver medal winner

‘Mineral and fruity, with plum and sweet grape notes, creamy and nutty on the palate with marzipan and cinnamon,’ said Guillaume Mahaut of The Jugged Hare, with consultant Sam Caporn MW adding: ‘Lightly fragrant oak and spice, lovely freshness and balance.’

£29.60 Liberty Wines

Miolo, Family Vineyards, Chardonnay 2013, Campanha, Brazil, Other

Silver medal winner

‘Clean, fruit-driven nose, flinty and ripe apple on the palate, with good acid and a clean finish,’ said Mya Brown of Vinoteca Marylebone, with consultant sommelier Christophe Richelet adding: ‘Fresh, zingy nose with ripe fruit and slight honeyed notes.’

£9.25 Bibendum

Cartlidge & Browne, Chardonnay 2013, North Coast, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

‘Lean style, with a hint of apricot. Very pretty, with good length,’ said consultant Donald Edwards, with team leader Angela Reddin noting: ‘Greengage, sweet apple and papaya, with wet straw notes and well-handled oak.’

£10.63 Alliance Wine

Tabalí, Talinay, Chardonnay 2013, Limarí Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Lean and elegant, with freshness and good texture,’ began team leader Laura Rhys MS, continuing: ‘A little oaky, but well integrated in a cooler-climate style.’

£10.00 Boutinot

Tabalí, Reserva Especial, Chardonnay 2013, Limarí Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Aromas of tropical fruit, melon and pear, with secondary notes of almond and vanilla from the subtle use of oak,’ said Charles Van Wyk of FJB Hotels, adding: ‘Finish is refreshing, with limey acidity.’

£7.75 Boutinot

Luis Felipe Edwards, Marea, Chardonnay 2014, Leyda Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Good depth and ripeness, with rounded fruit, poached apples with soft acidity and good balance,’ said Oscar Miller of Vinoteca King's Cross. ‘Vibrant, fruit-driven and elegant,’ added team leader Laura Rhys MS.

£14.00 North South Wines

Valdivieso, Single Valley Lot, Chardonnay 2012, Aconcagua Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

‘Showing some good complexity and elegance, with toasty oak, nice acidity and good balance,’ said team leader Laura Rhys MS. ‘Pleasantly perfumed tropical fruits and banana skin,’ added Oscar Miller of Vinoteca King's Cross.

£9.32 Bibendum

Catena, Alta, Chardonnay 2012, Mendoza, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

Neil Bruce of Studio Alto declared this example ‘very classy’, saying: ‘Elegant and inviting, clean and ripe, with lovely balance and lingering, fine fruit.’ ‘Elegant palate with soft stone fruit and elegant spice,’ added team leader Tom Forrest.

£17.40 Bibendum

Robert Mondavi, Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2013, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£7.82 Matthew Clark

Finca Flichman, Misterio, Chardonnay 2013, Mendoza , Argentina

Commended medal winner

£5.70 Sogrape UK

Quintay, Q, Grand Reserve, Chardonnay 2012, Casablanca Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

£6.87 Kingsland

Undurraga, TH, Terroir Hunter, Chardonnay 2012, Limarí Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

£14.00 González Byass

Undurraga, Sibaris, Chardonnay 2013, Maipo Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

£10.00 González Byass

Alto de Casablanca, Veramonte, Chardonnay 2014, Casablanca Valley , Chile

Commended medal winner

£7.70 Matthew Clark

Pascual Toso, Chardonnay 2014, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

£5.50 Kingsland

Argento, Chardonnay/Viognier 2014, Mendoza, Argentina

Commended medal winner

£6.74 Bibendum

Trefethen, Chardonnay 2013, Napa Valley, California, USA

Commended medal winner

Rutini, Chardonnay 2013, Mendoza , Argentina

Commended medal winner

Miolo, Cuvée Giuseppe, Chardonnay 2012, Vale dos Vinhedos, Brazil, Other

Commended medal winner

£11.61 Bibendum

 

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