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Oh Susanna! (My Favorite Chardonnay)

9 Nov

Finding your favorite table wine can sometimes be a chore. My high school chum Susanna is not only a wine lover, she is also a specific chardonnay snob!  I’m teasing,  she simply prefers chardonnays that are buttery and oaky. But, she is constantly in search of “the perfect” every day chardonnay – which for her is a deliciously rich & buttery chardonnay featuring lots of oak, at under $20 per bottle.

Susanna recently sent me a note reminding me of her quest, so this blog post is a series of chardonnays for her to try in her price range.  (I hope she’ll comment on what she tries and how she likes them!) It’s important to remember that the massive oak of Californian whites has receded significantly over the last ten years , so this request is not as easy as one might expect.

What follows are some suggested chardonnays, mostly on the rich & creamy side, for all my readers (especially Susanna ) to try!

From the Good Ol’ USA:

Clos Du Bois Chardonnay 2010 (North Coast, California) –apple, pear, lemon with toasted oak and butter. $12.99/bottle

Chateau St. Jean, Alexander Valley, Sonoma 2010 –pineapple, lemon, melon, with a creamy finish.  $14/bottle.

Kendall Jackson Chardonnay Vintner’s Reserve 2010. If you haven’t tasted America’s #1 selling chardonnay, you should. It’s entirely fermented in 100% oak, and at $14/bottle is a bargain compared to many popular California  wines. The “classic” oaked chardonnay in the USA.

Also  from Kendall Jackson is the Chardonnay Grand Reserve 2010. Robert Parker has been scoring this rich & creamy Chardonnay  consistently in the 90-91 range for the last decade. At $19.99, it’s the top of the price range here, but in general, a great price on a delicious, luscious wine.

Glen Ellen Chardonnay 2010. A buttery Sonoma wine at $6/bottle? You have to try it!

La Crema Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, from $11/bottle. Top rated butterscotchy chardonnay, might be too crisp but delicious and worth tasting!

Columbia Crest Grand Estates 2010, Columbia Valley, Washington. Received an 89 from Wine Spectator, known for a creamy, buttery  & refined finish, at $14/bottle.

Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay, 2011, Central California –considered one of the biggest, richest white wines on the market, decadent amounts of butter finishing in oak at $12-14/bottle.

Cambria Katherines Vineyard Chardonnay 2010, Santa Maria Valley, CA $18/bottle, big, rich, creamy with good acidity and a minerality on the finish that leaves your mouth wanting more!

Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut, Russian River Valley 2010– noted to be creamy and oaky but not ‘weighted down’ by either. Perhaps a best of both world’s at 19.99/bottle.

From the rest of the world:

Louis Jadot Puilly-Fuisse (2010) I’m a French wine snob, a little peeved that she didn’t try my decandent bargain  Montrachet, even if it’s out of her price range.   But in spite of that, I want her to look for a brilliant chardonnay, and this is one, with lots of melon and minerals and gentle amounts of oak. What can it hurt @ $19/bottle?


Alamos Chardonnay 2011, consistently good, notes of butterscotch and oak. Might be too smooth and fruity as opposed to rich and creamy for Susanna, but it might be a good choice to know!  12/bottle.

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay 2010, $14/bottle. Great fan reviews online, worth checking out for ‘best value’.

What’s your favorite Chardonnay? What suggestions do YOU have for Susanna? Please share your thoughts, comments, and experiences!

à votre santé!

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