Top 10 Chardonnays over £208th January, 2014 by Gabriel Savage
Following our selection of the top 10 Chardonnays under £20 and the top blanc de blancs Champagnes, the drinks business has picked out the highest performing medallists priced above £20 in the Global Chardonnay Masters 2013.
You might expect Burgundy to dominate this price bracket, but in fact the balance swings very much in favour of the New World, in particular Australia and California. Indeed, where Burgundian expertise does feature, it is through the growing number of international collaborations from producers in this region who have been inspired to look beyond the hallowed Côte D’Or.
However, the versatility and popularity of the Chardonnay grape was impressively demonstrated by successful entries from number of other countries which are less commonly associated with this variety.
Spain, Italy and Canada all make an appearance over the pages that follow, while a pair of gold medals for New Zealand confirms the growing excitement about the quality of Chardonnay that is now emerging from this corner of the globe.
This ability to uncover gems in unlikely places is encouraged by the distinctive format of the drinks business Chardonnay Masters, which stands out for its assessment of wines purely by grape variety rather than region.
Divided only by price bracket and, for ease of judging, whether the style was oaked or unoaked, the blind tasting format allowed wines to be assessed without prejudice about their country of origin.
Wines were scored out of 100, with those gaining over 95 points being awarded the top title of Master. Those earning over 90 points were given a Gold, those over 85 points a Silver and those over 80 points a Bronze.
The wines were judged by Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers over two days on 23 and 24 September 2013 at private members club Broadway House in London.
The judges were: Sarah Abbott MW, wine educator & consultant; Jo Ahearne MW, winemaking consultant; Richard Bampfield MW, consultant; Anthony Barne MW, head of wine, Bonhams UK; Beverley Blanning MW, author & journalist; Alex Hunt MW, purchasing director, Berkmann Wine Cellars; Keith Isaac MW, general manager, Castelnau Wine Agencies; Justin Knock MW, winemaking consultant; Rupert Millar, the drinks business; Sebastian Payne MW, buyer, The Wine Society; Hugo Rose MW, consultant; Gabriel Savage, the drinks business; Ronan Sayburn MS, head of wine, Dorchester Collection UK; Patrick Schmitt, the drinks business
The full list of Master, Gold and Silver medal winners appeared in November 2013’s issue of the drinks business, but turn the page to see the competition’s top performing Chardonnays above £20.