Kitchen Tips

The best Chardonnay from Food's Top Wine Awards 2019

The expressive, elegant crowd-pleaser, a glass of Chardonnay is always a winner. Master of Wine Paul Tudor shares his top Chardonnay picks from Food magazine's Top Wine Awards.

Look out for the Food Top Wine Award stickers on these bottles at supermarkets and selected liquor retailers.
Sacred Hill Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2018 ($17)
A complex aroma of lemon curd, fresh nutmeg, baked peach and yellow nectarine. The palate is rich and generous with ripe stone fruit characters and nutty oak complexity; a fine finish with a citrus zest aftertaste.
Mission Estate Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2018 ($16)
Mission's wines are very true expressions of Hawke's Bay. Here the fruit character is more restrained; stonefruit's the most obvious comparison. A creamy richness without being cloying. A good everyday wine.
Leveret Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2016 ($17)
A lovely example of a Chardonnay with a bit of age, developing some toasty, caramel characters, and a supple mouthfeel.
Mount Riley Marlborough Chardonnay 2017 ($18)
Juicy, punchy fruit characters, combining citrus and pineapple, matched with a dash of toasty oak. A creamy texture nicely balanced with crisp acidity. An easy drinking style at a sharp price.
Crossroads Milestone Series Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2017 ($20)
A well-made drop and sensibly priced. Peach or nectarine characters, some fresh acidity and sappy oak in the mouth. Nicely balanced.
De Bortoli Yarra Valley Villages Chardonnay 2014 ($23)
Nutty, bready, yeasty on the nose, with some caramel and spice as well. A creamy mouthfeel, with the fruit more to the background, and quite different in style.
Mission Estate Reserve Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2017 ($24)
Mission's reserve wines show greater depth of flavour and intensity; in this case spicy, sappy oak is layered over intense, punchy fruit. A bigger oak-style of Chardonnay.
Church Road McDonald Series Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2017 ($25)
Cashew and peach aromas, integrated oak, spicy, a touch of vanilla, but also some salty yeast characters. Solid feel in the mouth, balanced acidity and nice long finish
Spy Valley Single Estate Marlborough Chardonnay 2016 ($25)
Bold grapefruit and stonefruit flavours; youthful and bright, underpinned by savoury oak. Excellent cellaring potential, but would be enjoyable now with seafood or chicken.
Kumeu River Kumeu Estate Chardonnay 2017 ($32)
For many vintages this label has been New Zealand's finest Chardonnay, and 2017 is another impressive vintage: citrus and honey aromatics, a hint of spice, textured and mouth-filling. A finely crafted, sophisticated Chardonnay.
Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay 2017 ($33)
This wine takes some time to reveal its hidden depths; there is an exotic, spicy character to the fruit. Think caramelised peaches, or nectarine brulée, but in the mouth it is warm and rounded, with a savoury, complex aftertaste. Classy.
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2017 ($35)
A real 'wow' wine, featuring a flinty, savoury, complex nose, toffee apple and candied peel fruit, allied with toasty oak. A powerful, characterful Chardonnay that will appeal to wine buffs.
Greystone Waipara Chardonnay 2016 ($35)
Growing on the limestone rich soils of Waipara, in North Canterbury, lends this wine a unique flavour profile. There are rich, almost spicy fruit notes, but also a restrained, relatively tight palate. An intense, fruity wine, with great finesse in the mouth.
Seifried Winemakers Collection Barrique Fermented Nelson Chardonnay 2016 ($35)
Bold fruit, toasty oak and a rich mouthfeel. If you like your dry white wine with lots of character and intensity, this wine delivers all the goodies.
La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2017
Californian Chardonnay is generally softer and richer than ours – and this wine is no exception. Ripe fig and apricot fruit, a rounded palate and rich finish. A warm, cuddly wine that will be popular with Chard fans.