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Wednesday 16 April 2014

Chardonnay Masters 2013: The medalists

7th February, 2014 by db_staff - This article is over multiple pages: 1 2 3

A select group of judges put aside preconceived ideas about this global grape variety as wines were appraised on style not region. Here we list all the Chardonnays that received a medal.

Chardonnay MastersOF ALL the world’s grape varieties, no other can match Chardonnay for its geographical reach and stylistic virtuosity. From the great grands crus of the Côtes de Beaune to the “sunshine in a bottle” that represents many people’s introduction to wine, Chardonnay mingles seamlessly with aristocracy and proletariat alike. The flip side of this virtuosity means that, more than any other variety, Chardonnay is particularly susceptible to fashion, making itself loved, derided and misunderstood in equal measures.

What better candidate therefore with which to expand The Drinks Business Masters series? Unsurprisingly for a variety which so often reflects winemaking technique as much, if not more, than any strong sense of place, the results offer an intriguing picture of which regions and producers are getting this balance right. Of course, deciding where that balance lies can prove highly subjective and provoked some lively discussion among judges.

The interplay of factors such as fruit ripeness, oak, alcohol, acidity, residual sugar, malolactic fermentation, battonage and oxygen management requires deft decision making by winemakers.

Crucially, however, the end result should not distract the drinker by displaying its vinification too overtly, but rise above the sum of its parts to create a harmonious whole. The hundreds of wines entered into this inaugural Global Chardonnay Masters representing no fewer than 18 different countries demonstrated that winemakers today, from all parts of the world, are rising admirably to this challenge.

“The tasting reminded me why Chardonnay is such a hugely successful grape,” summed up Sebastian Payne MW, buyer for The Wine Society. “Its bouquet relatively small proportion of the wines judged. Of these, many acquitted themselves with distinction; however, Payne used the quality of the competition to warn: “Burgundy, particularly the Côte d’Or, needs to look to its laurels and
cannot go on relying on its traditional reputation as the centre of great Chardonnay without more effort. South America, particularly, and increasingly Australasia and South Africa often make better, cleaner, more reliable wines at less fancy prices.”

FRENCH STYLE
Of course, Burgundy is not the only corner of France that understands how to make excellent Chardonnay, a fact reflected in the impressive medal haul from Champagne, whose blanc de blancs continues to set an ambitious benchmark for the growing number of styles emerging in the ever more dynamic sparkling wine sector. In short, the inaugural Global Chardonnay Masters presented a compelling snapshot of this extraordinarily versatile variety, which is capable of offering enormous pleasure in just about every price point and country you care to imagine.

What’s more, Chardonnay producers are not ones to stagnate: this is not only a commercially crucial category, but one that rewards regular reassessment.

Sparkling Chardonnay
Company Product Name Medal Country Vintage Price(£)
Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Master France 2005 30+
Centre Vinicole-Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Chardonnay Gold France 2005 20-30
Champagne Cattier Cattier Brut Blanc de Blancs Signature Gold France NV 30+
Champagne Cattier Cattier Brut Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Gold France NV 30+
Champagne Gosset Champagne Gosset Blanc de Blancs NV Gold France NV 30+
Centre Vinicole-Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Nicolas Feuillatte Grand Cru Chardonnay Gold France 2005 30+
Edoardo Miroglio Edoardo Miroglio Blanc de Blancs, Brut NV Silver Bulgaria NV 10-20
Nosio Rotari Cuvee 28 100% Chardonnay NV Silver Italy NV 10-20
Champagne Charles Heidsieck Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires Millesime Silver France 1995 30+
Barokes Wines Barokes Bubbly Chardonnay NV Bronze Australia NV 0-10

One Response to “Chardonnay Masters 2013: The medalists”

  1. Typo says:

    Going quickly through that list, there are some typos in the list:
    1) Bonterra is a brand from California, not from Chile
    2) TH Chardonnay West Limari from Chile is produced by Undurraga, not by Gonzalez Byass from Spain

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