ABC - Anything But Chardonnay. ABCD - Anything But Chardonnay Darling. "Actually we don't like Chardonnay..."
What's happened to Chardonnay? One of the world's highest quality grape varieties is out of fashion. In some places it's actually uncool. As Mick Jagger sang about Marianne Faithful: "You're out of touch my baby, my poor old fashioned baby..." But why the fall from grace? Perhaps because Chardonnay was so in fashion a few years ago and a whole generation virtually grew up on it. And where did most of it come from? Australia. Cheap Aussie Chardy - you couldn't beat it so everyone joined it - big time. So big in fact that some people have had enough and now Pinot Grigio is the new Chardonnay.
In the wine trade we watch these trends come and go. Perhaps the trade got bored with bottom end Aussie Chardonnay before the public did, but as any wine merchant knows there's Chardonnay - and then there's Chardonnay. And it's not just the grape that some people have got bored with, it's also the heavy oaking that went with a lot of the cheaper end wines - hence the increasing numbers of unoaked Chardonnay that are appearing on the shelves.
Yet Chardonnay produces some of the very best wines produced on the planet as any Burgundy freak will tell you. And when grown in cool locations and not too heavily oaked this grape can produce some sublime wines. Just try this selection I have put together - it might just change your mind about Chardonnay...