News & views | Chardonnay is back - but did it ever go away?

News & views

Chardonnay is back - but did it ever go away?

There’s been a bit of a media frenzy this week about the idea that chardonnay is 'back'. Waitrose has apparently nominated it the wine trend of the year on the strength of a 16% increase in sales. My colleague Victoria Moore devoted a column to the subject in the Daily Telegraph yesterday.

Victoria is of course right that a lot of people (mainly Sauvignon Blanc drinkers) won’t touch chardonnay on the basis - as she nicely puts it - that it went through a period of tasting “like a tropical sunset might taste if you were sticking your nose in a barrel full of pina coladas and barbecued bananas.” But an equal number I suspect have carried on drinking it regardless, well aware that the grape has a great deal to offer especially if you’re prepared to spend over £10 a bottle.

Australian chardonnay in particular has undergone an incredible renaissance as I reported after my last visit at the end of 2011. Sadly many of them don’t make it over here or if they do cost as much as top white burgundy. There are also excellent chardonnays to be found from southern France (Limoux), South Africa and Chile, not to mention Chablis which is still remarkably good value for money.

To say that chardonnay is or was out of fashion is rather like saying chicken is out of fashion or French food is out of fashion. It's always been there. It always will be. It’s simply too classic and too attractive a partner for food* to ever be off the radar.

*Speaking of which I suggest you lay in at least a couple of bottles for Christmas. As I mentioned in my recent post on wines for turkey it’s a surprisingly good match for the festive bird.

Are you are chardonnay fan? And what about your friends? Would you feel self-conscious ordering it in a restaurant?

If you are one of those who does enjoy chardonnay here's a list of my favourite food matches.

picture © KaferPhoto -

Got other ideas? Do email your favourite pairings to us at To subscribe to our free monthly newsletter and be eligible to enter our fabulous prize draws click here or to get notice of posts as soon as they're published click here.

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