By February 26, 2020 Read More →


Planet Grape Wine Review panelist and Chardonnay expert Fred Swan has reviewed quite a few New World Chardonnays recently. Here are his top ten.

2017 Chalk Hill Felta Chardonnay Chalk Hill Sonoma $75
A fabulous Chardonnay, made from an assortment of clones all grown in gravel, then barrel-fermented with native yeast. Creamy and vivid in the mouth, its richness framed by acidity and very fine texture. Tart yellow apple, lemon, creme brûlée and gentle oak.

2016 Gary Farrell Chardonnay Olivet Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley Sonoma $45
Aromas of pear, golden apple, and baking spice immediately burst from the glass. A gentle swirl reveals lemon zest, apple leaf, and creamy custard. Crisp, juicy, and medium-bodied with a taut palate that will thrive with delicate foods.

2017 Anaba Westlands Chardonnay Sonoma Coast $58
A barrel selection from vineyards far west in the Sonoma Coast AVA, hence “Westlands,” this wine spends just six months in barrel, only a quarter of which is new. Excellent intensity on nose and palate, with notes of golden apple, toast, baking spice, cream, oak, and tangy stone fruit. Body is medium-plus and acidity frames the fruit.

2016 Pellet Estate Chardonnay Sunchase Vineyard Petaluma Gap Sonoma $68
Richly aromatic, showing poached yellow apple, toast, nutmeg, custard, and oak. Medium-plus body with fine, grippy texture and flavors of poached apple and pear, baking spice, créme brûlée, orange marmalade, and accents of oak.

2016 Smith-Madrone Chardonnay Spring Mountain District Napa Valley $40
The nose is complex and beautiful. Bold out of the bottle, it mellows nicely in the glass. Aromas include just-ripe yellow apple and pear, baking spice, a chiffonade of mint, lightly toasted almond, and sweet cream. The palate is mouthwatering with tangier fruit and fine, silky texture.

2017 00 Wines Chardonnay VGW Willamette Valley $75
The nose is elegant and intriguing with notes of toast, poached yellow apple, flint, and baking spice. The supple, extremely mouthwatering palate is medium-bodied with nuanced flavors of hazelnut, cream, lemon, and just-ripe yellow apple.

2018 Domaine Divio Chardonnay Willamette Valley $50
Pretty aromas of poached yellow apple, pear, baking spice, and vanilla precede a mouthwatering palate that brings savory mineral, tangy apple, and lemon to the foreground. The lengthy finish is textured and appetizing.

2017 Marshall Davis Chardonnay Marshall Davis Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley $39
Chardonnay with a pleasingly light touch. The nose is subtle—mostly apple and pretty white flowers. Flavors are bolder, a juicy procession of yellow apple, pear, vanilla, cardamom, and lemon. Good palate presence.


2016 Adelsheim Chardonnay Ribbon Springs Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley $50
Stellar! Energetic Chardonnay, but also generously flavorful and satisfying. Yellow apple and pear, creme brûlée, tangy stone fruit, and Meyer lemon.

2016 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay Margaret River Australia $80
Phenomenal! Outgoing, precise, and complex on both nose and palate. Dried citrus and citrus pith (lemon, lime, and grapefruit), mineral, baking spice, white flowers and much more. Long, juicy, and impeccably balanced. Will age.


Check out more of Fred’s reviews here:


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