This is not my first Chardonnay-Off rodeo; far from it, in fact.
There has been the Southern Hemisphere one, the International one, the Southern French Oaky one and the Adelaide Hills one.
Chardonnay is The Beatles of wine grapes; among both the most accomplished and most popular performers, it is the one that inspired so many others and remains the standard against which many are judged.
This Chardonnay-Off highlights the variety that this grape can show - different countries, different price points and different ages.
It is also a great food wine; match with starters, white meats, meaty white fish and creamy mushroom pasta.
Entry-level Chardonnay is a great picnic wine; with more age and complexity, match with lighter game.
All three wines here drink nicely on first pouring, but open up and improve with some aeration.
Australian Limestone Coast Chardonnay, 2021 (£5.99 / £4.49 on offer, Lidl)
Australia's Limestone Coast is a catch-all appellation for several regions within South Australia; it was once underwater and as a result, the soil is fossil-rich, hence the name.
Lidl wines are generally priced extremely keenly, so special offers like this are a good excuse to stock up, not just for immediate drinking, but also for laying down, provided you have space and can wait.
restrained citrus and stone fruit aromas with some florality; ripe yellow stone fruits, melon and zippy lime with sweet spices and creamy brazil nut
Thoroughly enjoyable and Good Value.
Can be aged for a few years.
Petaluma Chardonnay, 2020 (£16.00, Tesco)
Based in the cool-climate region of Adelaide Hills, Petaluma is one of the great names of Australian wine, producing Burgundian-style Chardonnays.
citrus, white flowers, stone fruits and complex oaky spice; fresh, elegant and poised with preserved lemons, melon fruit, pineapple pieces, sweet spices and zippy lime marmalade; broad complex and generous with saline minerality. Poised and precise.
Can be aged for many years.
Pernot-Belicard Bourgogne Chardonnay 2012 (£17, Cambridge Wine Merchants)
Philippe Pernot and his wife (from the Belicard side) launched their own domaine in 2009, with just six hectares of vines in Puligny. They pick quite early, all by hand, with hand sorting at the cellar.
This wine was a fire-sale bargain picked up by Cambridge Wine and sold at a discount to market price.
sandy yellow with roasted spices, stone fruits, florality, and evolved musty leather; savoury-creamy toasted brazil nut, almonds and macadamia with citrus, orchard fruits and stone fruits; complex, oaky, roasted spices; fresh, complex, broad and generous.
Fully mature, but will remain at a peak for several more years.