Wine Lists

Wines to drink on International Chardonnay Day

By Halliday Promotion

13 May, 2024

May 23 is International Chardonnay Day. Pour a glass and say cheers to the world's most popular white wine. Start with these three expressions from Brothers at War, Forester Estate and In Dreams.

Chardonnay is planted in almost every wine region in Australia, and holds the title as the world's most popular white wine grape. There are two primary styles of chardonnay – the rich, buttery, oaky wines, and then the leaner, fresher expressions with more citrus notes – but naturally these two styles have morphed into more of a spectrum.

When it comes to pairing food with the white wine, the options are as vast as the chardonnay produced. Cool-climate chardonnay can match fish and chicken, take note of Anthony Fikkers from In Dreams matching the 2022 Chardonnay to a roast chook. For the cheese lovers, look to comté, and if your chardonnay preference is oaked, meet the wine with something rich, like pork belly and a generous amount of crackling.

Below are three chardonnay wines, they hail from In Dreams in the Yarra Valley, Brothers at War in the Barossa Valley and Forester Estate in Margaret River.

We asked the makers why chardonnay is safely one of Australia's most popular wines and how best to enjoy their flagship style.

2022 Forester Estate Yelverton Reserve Chardonnay

2022 Forester Estate Yelverton Reserve Chardonnay

Intense and complex aromas with struck match, gun flint, lanolin, nutty oak and fresh lime. There are hints of butter, fennel and nougat. It has a light and delicate palate that’s long, fine and firm. The creamy texture also has a mineral edge to it. There are fresh citrus characters together with nougat, butter, lanolin and toasty oak. A complex and delicate chardonnay that will reward cellaring. Will start drinking best from 2025 through to 2030.

Winemaker Todd Payne says: Chardonnay has a very wide appeal, regardless of whether it’s a fruit-driven, richer style or a more complex and leaner style. In general, chardonnay wines have great fruit character, restrained use of oak or no oak and varying degrees of complexities. Its versatility means there’s a style to suit most people’s tastes.

H. Tell us about this chardonnay.
TP. The 2022 has all the hallmarks of great chardonnay – fruit intensity, complexity, subtle richness and texture, fine, nutty oak, super-fine acidity, and a modest alcohol (12.7 per cent). The winemaking process is a low intervention approach. We whole-bunch press cold fruit straight from the press to new and used puncheons, with all the fine grape solids. The juice is left until fermentation starts naturally. The wine is then left to sit on lees for nine months with minimum stirring.

H. How is this chardonnay best enjoyed?
TP. Having appropriate glassware is essential for getting the most out of great chardonnay. Using a Burgundy glass or a similar shaped glass will allow you to capture all the complexity and fruit the wine has to offer. Also, make sure the wine temperature isn’t too cold. A wine temperature of 10–12 degrees is ideal for this wine.

RRP $85 | Drink to 2030 | | Shop this wine

2022 In Dreams Chardonnay

2022 In Dreams Chardonnay

Pale straw in colour, showing crunchy green apple, lime sorbet, and a hint of honeysuckle and just-ripe nectarine. The aromas carry through to the palate, with more freshly squeezed lime, pithy lemon, and key lime pie. Restrained use of oak frames the wine, and it finishes with vibrant acidity and a saline minerality.

Winemaker Anthony Fikkers says: Chardonnay is so popular in Australia for two reasons – it’s grown all over the country, and produces different styles of wine, so I believe there's a chardonnay for everyone’s taste. And chardonnay has everything – aromatics, texture, weight and acid drive – it’s not a one trick pony.

H. Tell us about this chardonnay.
AF. It’s from the Yarra Valley! The greatest chardonnay producing region in the southern hemisphere. The balance we can achieve for chardonnay in the Yarra is second to none. The most important thing is to find good vineyards and then pick at the right time. I generally pick this chardonnay a touch earlier than some of my other wines to give the acid a touch more electricity.

H. How is this chardonnay best enjoyed?
AF. I always drink this chardonnay out of a Plumm Three No. 3 glass. You can’t go past pairing this with roast chook.

RRP $32 | Drink to 2028 | | Shop this wine

2022 ‘The Other Half’ Eden Valley Chardonnay

2022 Brothers at War The Other Half Eden Valley Chardonnay 

Fermented in 100 per cent brand new French oak puncheons, this chardonnay shows characters of peach and nectarine with a hint of citrus. A creamy well-rounded wine finishing with alluring natural acidity.

Winemaker Angus Wardlaw says: The popularity of chardonnay in Australia stems from its adaptability, long history and consumer recognition. Chardonnay is a versatile grape, thriving in a wide range of climates, from the cool regions like the Yarra Valley to high elevations of our very own Eden Valley. Allowing winemakers across the country to cultivate chardonnay and create a spectrum of styles to suit different preferences.

H. Tell us about this chardonnay.
BW. Eden Valley chardonnay is back! After several years in the wilderness, as Eden Valley winemakers, we are really starting to hit our straps in terms of the quality of chardonnay being produced. For us, it goes back to how delicate we can be on the variety to give it the best opportunity to shine brightly. It’s also clear that oak selection is an integral part of getting the best result. This wine is hand-picked and whole bunch pressed using only the best free run juice, fermented in new French oak puncheons. Post fermentation, the wine remained in oak for six months with lees stirred weekly. 

H. How is this chardonnay best enjoyed?
BW. Chill your Other Half Chardonnay to 10–12 degrees for bright flavours. Use a stemmed white wine glass. Pair with seafood, roast chicken, salads, or cheese! This chardonnay can be enjoyed young, so savour the fresh fruit characters by swirling it gently before each sip.

RRP $38 | Drink to 2029 | | Shop this wine

Image credit: Wine Australia.