Wines To Watch: Oh-So-Versatile Chardonnays For EVERY Budget – By Expat Sommelier Daan Suijlen

Behold, Chardonnay – the world's most planted grape!
07 February 2019

It is almost impossible to state that you “like” or “dislike” Chardonnay wine, as there are so many versions.

Chardonnay – the most planted grape in the world – originated in Burgundy, France, and is currently grown from England to South America to all the way to New Zealand. The grape itself is quite natural, which is why the surroundings are so important. The difference between a cold climate Chardonnay and a hot climate one is massive.

I love to pair Chardonnay with lighter dishes: The classic is grilled veggies or chicken. Beyond that, heavier, more oaked Chardonnays (like the first two, below) go well with stronger and smoky flavours, while lighter versions (like the third Chardonnay) is perfect with fresh salads and other vegetables.

Singapore offers a lot of different Chardonnay options, which can make it extremely difficult to find a good one. I have tried to select three wines that are different in style, good for various budgets and delicious. They use the same grape but are so different – I invite you to try them all and see what I mean!

Tip: Don’t worry if you can’t find these exact bottles. The most important factor is the location and climate.

Under $35: Otello Premium Chardonnay 2014

From: Mendoza, Argentina
Price: $33 (available at 75cl)

For our first Chardonnay, we travel all the way to Argentina, where Mendoza is known for its high-altitude wines. This producer was one of the first to start making premium wines in Mendoza. I like this Chardonnay, because it shows the outspoken style of Mendoza wine: fruity with right acidity, heavy oak flavours (smoky) and some vanilla.

Under $50: Louis Max Macon-Villages 2016

From: Burgundy, France
Price: $45 (available at 75cl)

Arguably, the best white wines in the world are from Burgundy – that’s where it all started! Some of the most expensive Chardonnays are from there, which can make it difficult to find an affordable, delicious one in Singapore. Compared to our Argentinian Chardonnay, this version is less outspoken and achieves a perfect blend between the oak treatment and fruits. You almost don’t recognize the oak, as it blends in harmoniously.

Under $40: Marreron Chardonnay Les Grains 2017

From: Southern Rhone, France
Price: $39 (available at 75cl)

Our last Chardonnay is from the hot climate of the south of France: Rhone – normally known for its red wines. Compared to the two other Chardonnays, this one is quite different. I selected it because it does not have any oak treatment, purely fruits. And, because of the hot climate, you get a lot of cooked and even tropical fruits here. It shows why Chardonnay is the most versatile grape in the world!


About Daan Suijlen

Dutch expat Daan is a passionate home chef and certified sommelier. At the age of 5, he preferred to be in the kitchen watching his grandma cook – and that passion has never left him! Having studied wine following WSET, he now loves to combine the best of both worlds: amazing food with great wines. Follow him at Instagram under @wineandcooking.

By Daan Suijlen, 7 February, 2019

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