Jane Clare chardonnay wines

Raise a Glass: Delicious chardonnay wines and a zesty French white

The Raise a Glass feature is published every week. Here’s one from June in lockdown when white wines took my fancy. Chardonnay wines mainly, plus a zesty white number which made friends with my home-made sweetcorn fritters.


As the days have been getting longer and warmer, I’ve been sitting in the sunshine and rekindling my relationship with chardonnay wines.

ABC! That’s the wine-mantra – Anything But Chardonnay. But I’ve been giving these wines another look.

Mainly because by coincidence there was a gathering of them in my fridge.

Chardonnay is such a chameleon. It can be cajoled and teased and encouraged into a plethora of flavours. Winemakers love it.

I began my journey with two wonderful wines from California
Nielson Santa Barbara Chardonnay wines
Nielson Santa Barbara Chardonnay

Nielson Santa Barbara Chardonnay (£16.99, online at allaboutwine.co.uk) is a rich delight to savour, with buttery honeyed notes, citrus, a tease of grilled pineapple and caramel-edged apples.

I was sad to see the last of it trickle out of the bottle.

Last year I poured the amazing Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay in a wine tasting.

It was proud, this wine, to receive lovely compliments and oohs and aahs of chardonnay-driven happiness.

Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay
Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay

And so it was lovely to sip it again at the end of a lazy afternoon in lockdown; and to savour the tropical flavours of mango and vanilla which are hugged in turn by vanilla and honey.

Kendall-Jackson Vintner‘s Reserve is one of America’s most popular chardonnay wines and you can find it over here online at winedirect.co.uk (£19.50 a bottle).

I’ll head to the other side of the world with Tempus Two Copper Wilde Chardonnay (RRP £15, Sainsbury).

This Australian wine is a blend of grapes from the Hunter Valley and up-and-coming cool climate wine region, Tumbarumba.

It has been fermented in French oak which delivers a rich mouthfeel and creamy notes of ripe apple and stone fruits. There’s a freshness and a zest of acidity which leaves your mouth watering.

The one we sipped on the new bench

The weather turned much cooler last night, so we made creamy chicken in a tarragon sauce with dumplings (yes! dumplings in June!) and this wine was a perfect partner.

A purse-friendly Australian unoaked chardonnay choice, which delivers easy-going moreish flavours, is Aldi’s Exquisite Padthaway Chardonnay (£5.99).

The aromas and flavours have stone fruit signatures – we talked ourselves into discovering lots of white peach as we sat on the new garden bench and sipped.

The wine has had a little lees aging after the fermentation finished. This adds texture and some creamy complexity into this otherwise fruit-forward happy glass of summer drinking.

My final thoughts  are another white wine, but it’s not chardonnay

Tesco Finest Cotes de Gascogne 2019 (£6.50) is vegan friendly and a blend of two grape varieties; colombard and gros manseng.

Ah, these grapes deliver a tangy burst of wine for the price. It stands up to be counted with its tastebud tease!

Colombard can be used in the Gascony region’s famous brandy Armagnac, but in this instance is happy to forgo such a grand destiny.

I love this wine and its zingy notes of lime and citrus. The label suggested it would be a good match to crab cakes.

Well, it so happened by coincidence, I had plans to rustle up some sweetcorn and crab cakes, flecked with chilli and shreds of coriander leaves.

Yes  – you guessed it  – I poured this wine alongside the warm crunchy morsels and was a very happy lockdown bunny.


First published in over 30 regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales –  Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle  – Teesside Gazette – Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express 

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