Chardonnay is grown in most wine-producing countries, to a greater or lesser extent, but the wines are still compared to the grape’s original home of Burgundy. Even within Burgundy there are huge differences, from the lean wines of Chablis in the north to the more tropical styles of the Maconnais.
Here we have a classic Chablis and a new world Chardonnay from Chile, both from single vineyard plots:
Brocard Chablis Domaine Sainte Claire 2014 (12.5%, €24.95 at O’Briens)
Jean-Marc Brocard is an admired, well-established producer in Chablis. Founded by Jean-Marc and now run by his son Julien, the firm produces over a dozen cuvées from Petit Chablis up to Chablis Grand Cru Le Clos. The grapes come from a plot of 35 – 40 year old vines called Sainte Claire which surround the winery. Although it is a good representative of the company’s philosophy “strength, precision and freshness” it also has a little more body and texture than is common in AOC Chablis. Racy lemon is joined by orange peel on the palate and a tangy yeastiness from ten months on the lees. A superior Chablis!
Leyda Single Vineyard Falaris Hill Chardonnay 2013 (14.0%, €17.95 at O’Briens)
From northern France we now travel to the Pacific coast of Chile. Leyda is both the name of the winery and the area in which it is based, benefiting from cool coastal breezes which are chilled by the Humboldt Current. It is possibly the best part of Chile in which to grow Sauvignon Blanc as the long, cool growing season allows the aromatics to develop fully before sugar ripeness is achieved.
But it’s also great for Chardonnay!
Tasted immediately after the Chablis the oak was very apparent – quite old school in a way – but this wine actually has far more acidity and cool climate character than the old Aussie oak-bomb Chardonnays. There’s lemon and satsuma from the grapes, creaminess from the lees and toastiness from the oak – an excellent effort which shows (again) that Chile has far more to offer than entry level wines.
Disclosure: both wines kindly provided for review