No butter and no sharp lemon: Top Ten tasty no-extreme Chardonnays - WineUncorked: Wine Reviews and Tips

The phrase 'anything but Chardonnay' is still occasionally uttered out loud but more often than not it's just 'I don't like Chardonnay'. But it doesn't have to be this way. If you've tried a white wine made with the Chardonnay grape in the past and it tasted either sickly buttery, or the extreme opposite, a drink that was so sharp and lemony that it almost took your teeth enamel with it, then rest assured not all Chardonnays taste like this - the Chardonnay grape is so versatile that it can taste pleasantly fruity too.

f931afdc bfe7 4da0 8c95 566987e810d7But let's get the opinion of a professional. Iain Young, a customer wine advisor for Virgin Wines says, "Lots of people think they don’t like Chardonnay, which is crazy because it’s so versatile and comes in so many shapes and forms."

He explains "It is pretty much down to oak. Customers will say 'I don’t want (white) wines with any oak in them’". 

"Wine producers [in the past] would use huge “tea bags” full of oak shavings (which were dunked in and out of the wine just like we might do with an actual tea bag!) and these resulted in quite coarse and brutal wines with very little finesse that were overly oaky. People drank these thinking they were representative of the grape, which they are not."

Too much use of oak when making Chardonnay can result in wines tasting buttery - so much so that the wine can be to rich and sickly. But many wine producers now prefer a subtler approach and choose to make their wines taste lightly fruity - often resulting in melon and apple flavours that are a match to many foods.

Chardonnay wines can also taste very sharp and acidic. This too can be unpleasant and is a result of using unripe grapes to make the wine. The rainy, cool summers that can be found in Europe are not friendly to ripening grapes, leaving the flavours only partially developed and giving the grapes a sharpness that comes through in the wine. Chardonnay wines made in the French region of Burgundy, particularly the most northery region called Chablis, are known for this flavour and are expected by wine connoiseurs. So avoid buying wines from this region if you don't like sharp lemon flavours in your wine.

img 0852 01Emily Revell, PR and Outreach Manager for Virgin Wines, who describes herself as a 26 year-old Millenial, gives another view on why wines made with the Chardonnay grape aren't being chosen: "I think there’s also an element of Chardonnay just not being in vogue. I can’t remember the last time I saw a Chardonnay listed on a bar/pub menu unless it was a big, fancier restaurant."

But it doesn't have to be that way. If you want to discover top tasty no-extreme Chardonnays then try the wines below. They've all been tasted and reviewed by the WineUncorked tastebuds and so you can be sure they'll be no sickly butter or sharp lemon - just nice fruity flavours.

Chardonnay wine recommendations by

Oxford Landing The River Crossing Chardonnay 2017

£5.50 Morrisons, Waitrose

four stars


A reliable Chardonnay that keeps delivering fruity well-balanced flavours year after year. Peach, melon and pear drop aromas are a match to the light flavours.


Caves Road Chardonnay 2018

£9.99 Aldi

four stars


The creamy pear, melon and peach flavours are a match to curry and quiches making this a great stand-by wine for many occasions.


Estevez Chardonnay

£4.99 Aldi

four stars


A fruity and creamy wine with lots going on in the aroma with melon, pear and peach. 


Co-op Irresistible Chardonnay 2018

£7 Co-op

four stars


A refreshing and effective Chardonnay that hits the spot. Aromas of creamy peach and melon are enhanced with the appeal of freshly-made lemonade. Add to this flavours of lightly toasted crusty white bread and you have a really nice wine.


Corney and Barrow White Burgundy 2017

£14.50 Corney and Barrow

four stars


Corney and Barrow’s own-label Macon-Villages bottling is a delicately creamy Chardonnay. Flavours of creamy apple, cheese and a dash of lemon. A nice wine.


Budburst Chardonnay 2019

£9.49 Averys of Bristol

four stars


This pale green wine from the  country of Moldova is all about pear drops - on the aroma along with apples, and on the taste with the addition of apple crispness and a creamy pineapple finish.


Tesco White Burgundy 2017

£8 Tesco

three stars


This simple yellow-coloured wine has aromas and flavours of almond, apple, honey and lemon.


Banrock Station Chardonnay 2020

£7.50 Co-op (in flat plastic bottle)

three stars


Apricot, peach, lemon and baked apple make this a pleasant wine.


Black Flag Chardonnay 2018

£11.99 Virgin Wines

three stars


Expect a medley of fruity flavours as you sip this Aussie Chardonnay next to the the hot coals of the barbie. It starts off all pineapple upside down pudding then moves into peach, pear and lemon. Fresh and creamy.


Lindeman's The Discoverer Chardonnay 2018

£7 Co-op

three stars


Subtle aromas of apple, banana and peach with flavours of banana and melon.

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