Home Winners > Winners 2019 > NEW WORLD: Chardonnay - USA

Winner Details

New World: Chardonnay, USA

2019  Gold 2        Silver 3             Bronze 1              Commended 10 
2018  Gold 2        Silver 5             Bronze 4              Commended 6

Your opinion on American (particularly Californian) Chardonnay probably depends on your attitude to sweetness. If you don’t mind a lot of fruit ripeness and slick, sweet oak then you probably think it’s great. Most of our (predominantly European) tasters were more in the ‘sceptical’ camp, hence a somewhat muted display this year.

That said, most of our tasters can still see a use for wines like this – there are still plenty of customers who go looking for this style – and provided you have deep pockets they’re a useful addition to most wine lists.


‘Flabby, over-oaked, oak chips, a lot of creamed corn flavours coming through. It’s a shame.’ James Fryer, Woodhead 17

‘They still haven’t recalibrated themselves, still too much of everything. Australia has made the adjustments – you get balanced wines and really exciting Chardonnays. But California… they’re so, so sweet.’ Martin Lam, team leader

‘A lot of sophisticated, oaky, modern, acidified wines. There’s better value in Australia and New Zealand than in the US.’ Tanguy Martin, New Street Warehouse

‘There was some good value at the £19 mark.’ Joshua Castle, Noble Rot

‘A lot of oak, a lot of richness, a lot of lees… and expensive. But good if you like that sweetness and oak.’ Ross Antonelli, Hawksmoor Borough

Award winners

Found 16 wines

New World: Chardonnay, USA

Massican, Hyde Vineyards, Chardonnay 2017, Napa Valley, California, USA

Gold medal winner

A great sense of overall balance was a recurring theme in tasters’ notes for this worthy Gold Lister, with New Street Warehouse’s Tanguy Martin saying that it stood out as particularly ‘vibrant and refreshing, among its peers from California’, and adding: ‘Its lovely nervosity on the palate makes the wine spicy and savoury.’ Meanwhile Joshua Castle of Noble Rot noted: ‘It has nice restraint, it’s full bodied without being too oaky.’ Team leader Martin Lam agreed, saying: ‘It’s nicely balanced; there are bold flavours but they’re not overdone.’

£35.00 Wine Source UK

Joseph Phelps, Freestone Vineyards, Chardonnay 2016, Sonoma Coast, California, USA

Gold medal winner

‘This has a delicate marzipan note with white flower blossom,’ said ETM Group’s Guillaume Mahaut of this aromatic Gold Lister, while Ieva Markaityte of Portuguese Concepts picked up ‘elegant ripe melon’ with ‘a touch of fresh thyme flowers’. For team leader Lionel Periner the wine was both ‘elegant’ and ‘full bodied, with a long ripe fruit finish and good acidity’, and fellow team leader Tom Forrest noted ‘pineapple and peach fruit, with a fresh apple, mineral finish’.

£34.25 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Buena Vista, Carneros, Chardonnay 2015, California, USA

Silver medal winner

This was a hit with Dave Cushley of Prestonfield House, who described it as ‘powerful yet balanced, with a nice touch of toasted oak’, and enjoyed the ‘rich yet light touch on the palate’.

£19.80 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Boutinot, Helter Skelter, Chardonnay 2017, California, USA

Silver medal winner

Team leader Tom Forrest was amazed by the price of this Silver medal-winning wine (which narrowly missed out on Gold). He described ‘creamy, buttery oak and toasty melon and pineapple’ balanced with a lovely ‘gingery prickle’.

£6.70 Boutinot

Three Sticks, Durell, Chardonnay 2016, California, USA

Silver medal winner

Guillaume Mahaut of the ETM Group loved the ‘balanced oak’ and thought it had ‘good fruits, lemony, apples and flowers’. ‘The wine finished well with creamy notes, almonds, freshness and a defined texture,’ he added.

£36.42 The Wine Treasury

Kautz Winery, Drifting, Chardonnay 2016, Lodi, California, USA

Bronze medal winner

‘Citrus, exotic fruits and a hint of oak; yet the palate is full with a light lingering note of nuts,’ said team leader Lionel Periner.

£9.12 Matthew Clark

Jordan, Chardonnay 2015, Russian River Valley, California, USA

Commended medal winner

Jordan, Chardonnay 2016, Russian River Valley, California, USA

Commended medal winner

Kingsland Drinks, Chain Reaction Chardonnay 2017, California, USA

Commended medal winner

Chateau Ste Michelle, Canoe Ridge, Chardonnay 2015, Washington State, USA

Commended medal winner

£21.82 Enotria&Coe

Bonterra, Chardonnay 2017, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£11.72 Enotria&Coe

Morgan, Double L Vineyard, Chardonnay 2016, Santa Lucia Highlands, California , USA

Commended medal winner

£33.14 Bibendum

Calera, Chardonnay 2016, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£19.55 Top Selection

Precision Wines, Octopoda, Chardonnay 2017, Russian River Valley, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£16.22 Top Selection

Black Stallion, Chardonnay 2016, Napa Valley, California, USA

Commended medal winner

£17.52 Bancroft Wines

Trefethen, Chardonnay 2017, California, USA

Commended medal winner


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