Find your new favourite... Chardonnay Alternatives
A selection of white wines from around the world that are the perfect way to broaden your horizons without taking a blind punt. We've put together this case using wines that work well as alternatives to Chardonnay with the aim of helping you to find your new favourite whilst covering some of the key styles of Chardonnay ranging from lean, crisp mineral Chablis-esque whites to rich, vuluptuous barrel aged whites. We hope you enjoy, let us know!
One for the fans of unoaked, young, fresh Chardonnays from cooler climates such as Western Australia or Chablis. Lots of fresh peach and apricot but not overly ripe with a clean, mouth watering streak of citrus acidity. It doesn't have the minerality of a Chablis but that refreshing, dry finish hits the spot. A classic pairing with simple grilled seafood, the locals in Galicia would enjoy a glass over a plate of Pulpo Gallego, simple grilled Octopus with paprika and often eaten with cocktail sticks.
Waterkloof's False Bay range aims to make 'real', affordable, sustainably certified wines bottled in South Africa. A soft, creamy texture attributed to the slow, wild yeast fermentation in the winery and a smooth lemon tart flavour. A great alternative to a Macon-Villages and a real treat to pair with a herb roasted chicken and roast potatoes.
Here we start to explore alternatives to the riper more honeyed flavour profiles, Viognier is always a delightfully aromatic variety, creating wines which jump out of the glass with rich orange peel and apricot verging on candied fruit. The chalky soils of Limari where Tabali grow their Viognier brings this back together with a streak of minerality and balances those rich, round fruit flavours. A really nice match with Asian foods because of the lower acidity level, think seabass fried with ginger, soy and a touch of chilli.
Pieropan are the original Soave producers and this is a great alternative for those who like their Chardonnay's to have some fresh pastry, nutty characteristics. There's a glut of white floral aromas in the glass, with rounded, toasted almonds and marzipan flavours with a touch of fresh citrus. You have to go classic Italian with the pairing and those richer, nutty flavours can stand up to dishes with more weight, something like scallop risotto or gnocchi with clams would be perfect.
These last two wines are perfect for anyone who enjoys their Chardonnay with a good lick of new oak or want's to try a wine which is richer and creamier.
This Verdejo was part of our Rueda campaign earlier in the year and really shows the potential for a variety which is often overlooked as being one dimensional. Here they ferment in open wooden vats before ageing in French oak barrels on the lees (dead yeast cells) which helps to impart a richer, creamier texture and also more toasty, yeasty flavours. The fruit is ripe and works well with the toasted hazlenuts and vuluptuous, full bodied texture. A great white to try with pork loin, I recently came across a recipe which was fried with garlic and honey before being finished in the oven which would work a treat.
This South African blend of Grenache Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Viognier mimicks the style of some of the fantastic white wines from southern Rhone villages such as Chateau-neuf-du-pape, whilst being renowned for their red wines the white wines can be equally as powerful and well structured. Here the fermentation takes place with wild yeasts in large oak barrels, a mixture of new and old to allow the fruit, acidity and texture to marry together whilst also imparting a toasty character to the wine. Then the wine is aged for 9 months on the lees helping to add that rich,creamy texture. Packed with ripe peaches and apricots, fresh citrus, almonds, freshly baked brioche and sweet spices. This is a complex, full bodied white which can stand up to a little spice with it's food pairing. A Biryani would be absolutely perfect with this.