Home Winners > Winners 2018 > NEW WORLD: Chardonnay Rest of the New World, including Argentina

Winner Details

 Chardonnay, Rest of the New World, including Argentina, Chile & New Zealand

2018 Gold 4       Silver 6                 Bronze 3              Commended 7
2017 Gold 2       Silver 2                 Bronze 5              Commended 10

There are very good Chardonnays in New Zealand and Argentina – even the odd one in Chile. We know this. But none of these countries is getting much momentum behind the variety, and that was the case again this year. Considering there are three large producing countries here, the medal count was low – the reason we’ve lumped them all together in one section.

In fact, they seem to be going backwards. New Zealand, Chile and Argentina all got half the Chardonnay medals this year that they did in 2015.

It could, perhaps, be that they’re just in the early stages of reinventing themselves with the grape, or that (perhaps worse) they’re not changing at all and still trying to produce the same kind of wines that they did 20 years ago. It won’t work – they’ll just keep losing listings to Australia, South Africa and California.

On the plus side, well done to Saint Clair, which clearly does know exactly what it’s about. This was the third year on the trot (and the third consecutive vintage) that its Omaka Reserve Chardonnay has made it on to the Gold List.


‘My issue [with the Chileans] is that they camouflage the Chardonnay, and almost seem to try to sell it as a Sauvignon Blanc with a bit more weight. These were really grassy, with sugar snap pea notes. You had to get to the £11 to £15 price point, and then they delivered.’ Mattia Mazzi, Lutyens Bar & Restaurants

‘Over the last couple of years Argentina has shone in this overall category, but New Zealand showed very well this year.’ Michael Fiducia, Coworth Park Ascot

‘A quarter had matchstick reduction, a couple worked really well. But if you haven’t got the complexity to go with it, it’s not that interesting. The more you paid the more you got fermentation in barrel, matchstick reduction, more interesting styles.’ Sam Caporn MW, team leader

‘Fantastic, loved them. The reduction in concentration of fruit was quite stark – the freshness, the liveliness, the zippiness. Sweet vanilla fruit, baked apple compote styles that were really pleasing.’ James Franklin, Fenwick

‘If you have a customer who likes Chardonnay from Argentina or New Zealand, they don’t expect matchstick reduction. It’s more of a sommelier wine than a supermarket wine.’ Christoph Hons, Park Chinois

Award winners

Found 20 wines

New World: Chardonnay, Rest of the New World

Saint Clair, Omaka Reserve, Chardonnay 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

Echoing the praise that other judges had for this Gold medal-winning Chardonnay, team leader Sam Caporn MW found ‘sappy oak on the nose and palate, some interesting back notes and wood phenols on the finish’, while Fenwick’s James Franklin indulged in its ‘beautifully maturing nose, hints of warm butter, white spice and vanilla sweetness, with additional layers of apple and pear fruit and even mango acidity’. ‘A gastronomic wine,’ summarised Grape Times UK’s Harry Crowther.

£16.64 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Vidal, Reserve, Chardonnay 2016, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Gold medal winner

This Gold Lister’s generous nose of ‘vanilla and butter’ stood out for Fenwick’s James Franklin, along with ‘green apple, crisp pears and leafy notes, all balanced by great acidity’, while Christoph Hons of Park Chinois found it ‘on the fresher side, with a hint of oak and lots of yellow fruit’. ‘Of the Burgundy school,’ mused Winexponent’s Simon Cassina, who found it to have ‘good harmony, balance and freshness’.

£9.41 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

Lapostolle, Cuvée Alexandré, Chardonnay 2015, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

An intriguing Chardonnay that was ‘slightly perlant on the palate’, began team leader Laurent Richet MS, who admired this Gold medallist’s ‘great concentration’ and correctly identified its use of organic fruit, going on to describe ‘flavours of oak and golden apple, almost sour apple or tarte tatin’. ‘Succulent and approachable, with great balance and clear, nutty, dried pineapple flake aromas and mouth-coating fruit on the palate,’ added Mattia Mazzi of Lutyens Bar & Restaurants.

£11.97 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Luis Felipe Edwards, Marea, Chardonnay 2016, Leyda Valley, Chile

Gold medal winner

With its ‘intense style, showing finesse on a very well-integrated nose’ it’s no wonder this took home the Gold, with an impressed Mattia Mazzi of Lutyens Bar & Restaurants going on to enjoy its ‘mineral with almond milk notes, tropical and substantial fruit and nut aromas, and concentration of oak delivered with elegance and persistence’. ‘Very well crafted, with good levels of golden apple, caramel, lemon juice, pink grapefruit, vanilla and orange marmalade,’ added team leader Laurent Richet MS.

£13.60 Matthew Clark

Quails' Gate, Chardonnay 2015, Okanagan Valley, Canada

Silver medal winner

‘A more ambitious, considered wine with some alcohol, but layered and long,’ began team leader Sam Caporn MW, with Christoph Hons of Park Chinois enjoying its ‘well-balanced character, good oak, floral notes and good length’.

£17.50 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Salentein, Single Vineyard, Plot No2, Chardonnay 2015, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

Silver medal winner

A ‘warm, cooked and spiced fruit nose’ led to a ‘long, complex palate and layered finish, with lower acidity yet still crisp’, began Fenwick’s James Franklin, while Michael Fiducia of Coworth Park Ascot described ‘lifted shortcrust pastry and stone fruit pie with a well-integrated, subtle palate’.

£26.00 Matthew Clark

Giesen, The Fuder, Clayvin, Chardonnay 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

While finding some ‘light matchstick reduction’ initially, team leader Sam Caporn MW went on to highlight its ‘tight character with grapefruit acidity, and pithy, linear texture’, summing the whole thing up as ‘an experience!’

£28.50 H2Vin

Tiki, Koro, Chardonnay 2014, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

An interesting style showing ‘some development, with some intriguing cracked honeycomb notes’, began team leader Sam Caporn MW, while for Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia it was characterised by ‘roasted caramel peaches with vanilla clotted cream and a slightly peach skin finish’.

£16.07 Castelnau Wine Agencies

Trinity Hill, Gimblett Gravels, Chardonnay 2016, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

Its ‘delicately fragranced, perfumed nose, heaps of warmed fruit, warming spiced palate and excellent acidity’ would make it an ‘awesome food wine’, said an impressed James Franklin of Fenwick.

£15.94 Liberty Wines

Lake Chalice, The Raptor, Chardonnay 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand

Silver medal winner

Leading with a ‘light lactic, peaches-and-cream nose’, according to team leader Sam Caporn MW, this went on to reveal a ‘decent weight and balance, creamy and textured palate, citrus acidity and good length’. Christoph Hons of Park Chinois enjoyed its ‘wild flowery flavours, terroir, light and aromatic style’.

£15.57 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Chocalan, Origen, Gran Reserva, Chardonnay 2016, San Antonio Valley, Chile

Bronze medal winner

There were ‘lemon-orange-grapefruit’ aromas here, said Cristian Sánchez of Hotel du Vin Cambridge, along with ‘a green character like fresh-cut grass, bright acidity and a long, warm finish’, while Elisa Soggia of Kai Mayfair found it ‘light and fresh with green apple and citrus notes’.

£7.93 D&V Wines

Cadus, Appellation Vista Flora, Chardonnay 2015, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

Bronze medal winner

Coworth Park Ascot’s judge Michael Fiducia found ‘warm, fresh peach cobbler with a silky mouthfeel, opening up to a big toasty finish’, and team leader Sam Caporn MW highlighted ‘lots of tropical fruit, mango and pineapple, on the palate, and quite a broad style’.

£10.70 Boutinot

Errazuriz, Chardonnay 2017, Aconcagua Costa, Chile

Bronze medal winner

Mattia Mazzi of Lutyens Bar & Restaurants found plenty of ‘creamy brioche, nuts, mascarpone and nutmeg aromas, then good palate concentration of fruit, mostly pineapple and guava with creaminess and good texture, fairly mineral and lingering, too’.

£9.93 Hatch Mansfield, Matthew Clark

La Playa, Block Selection, Reserve, Chardonnay 2016, Colchagua Costa, Chile

Commended medal winner

Undurraga, Terroir Hunter, Chardonnay 2014, Limarí Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£12.95 Eurowines

Emiliana, Novas, Gran Reserva, Chardonnay 2016, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£7.39 Boutinot

Huia, Chardonnay 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Commended medal winner

£8.58 Bibendum

Miolo, Family Vineyards, Chardonnay 2015, Campanha, Brazil

Commended medal winner

£10.86 Bibendum

Miolo, Cuvée Giuseppe, Chardonnay 2013, Vale dos Vinhedos, Serra Gaúcha, Brazil

Commended medal winner

£13.93 Bibendum

Santa Rita, 120, Chardonnay 2016, Central Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£7.33 Matthew Clark


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