Introduction of Chardonnay Wine
Chardonnay represents one of the most popular white wines in the world. Offering a variety of tastes due to its susceptibility to regional influences and aging method, it is hard for wine drinkers to say there are no Chardonnay wines they like.
Like many other wines, Chardonnay hails from the famous wine producing region of Burgundy, France. Surprisingly, the Chardonnay grape has been scientifically linked to well-beloved red, Pinot Noir.
Speaking of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay owes a surge in popularity to popular culture as the 1990s saw a spike of interest alongside its presence in the Bridget Jones sagas. It is well known that Pinot Noir owes a bit of its rise to the film Sideways, which depicted the wine as the only one fit for a true connoisseur (Merlot, on the other hand, took a bit of a hit after the film’s debut).
Chardonnay is considered the sixth most popular grape to grow with over half a million acres covered by the grape. The grape has spread around the globe rapidly and finds itself in many different countries, likely because of its flexibility when it comes to climate and other growing conditions.
With such an array of growing places, it is important for Chardonnay drinkers to understand the impacts of climate on the grape and resulting wines. One Chardonnay selection can taste drastically different than another, even if produced in the same general region.
Chardonnay is known for its variety within the varietal but almost always carries a fruit-centric flavor. Taste is directly influenced by the climate the grape was grown in and determining this will allow Chardonnay drinkers to have an idea of the profile of the wine before opening the bottle.
As a rule of thumb, Chardonnay grown in a cooler climate will taste of citrus with floral notes and a mild flavor. Those grown in warmer areas tend to exhibit more tropical fruits and are known to have a more robust flavor profile.
Chardonnay Wine Prices
There are many factors that influence the price of a bottle of wine. As you can say in our Chardonnay Wine Prices List below, there is quite a spectrum of wine prices. Here are some things that impact the final price of a bottle of Chardonnay.
Oaked Versus Unoaked
Chardonnay fans tend to have a preference when it comes to how it is aged. This results from the drastic difference in taste from an oaked versus an unoaked bottle of chardonnay.
Chardonnay picks up the flavor of oak and it makes a significant impact on the taste of the wine. What was once a light, floral wine is suddenly a woody, robust flavor that can stand up to heavier meals.
Other winemakers prefer to age the Chardonnay in steel (or concrete) tanks before bottling. This keeps the flavor crisp and fruit-forward, resulting in a “cleaner” tasting wine.
The choice primarily comes down to personal preference. Some do not enjoy the powerful wood notes of oaked Chardonnay. The impact on price does not come from the quality of an oaked Chardonnay versus one aged in steel but from the cost of the oak itself.
A Lack of Growing Challenges
Generally speaking, Chardonnay is an easy grape to grow and maintain. This allows the wines to be moderately priced, even for the best bottles.
Chardonnay is known for its adaptability to climate and low-maintenance needs. It also yields a high number of grapes per acre, meaning more wine can be produced for a smaller overall cost.
This relative ease leads to a lower price point than a more challenging grape like Pinot Noir.
Very Few Expensive Options
The term expensive is relative but if you look at the list of some of the most expensive bottles of wine ever to be made or sold, there would be little Chardonnay represented. In fact, some of the most expensive Chardonnay bottles are only in the $200 - $300 range.
There are some exceptions, however. The most expensive bottle of Chardonnay sold for a whopping $11,325. It is likely a collector’s item, as it is a 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that was sold at auction.
From there, the excessive prices drop drastically as some of the more expensive options are in the $5,000 range. Fortunately for the average wine drinker, there are high-quality options that go in the $15 price range, as well.
If you are purchasing Chardonnay that is on the lower end of the pricing spectrum, it is less likely to be aging-friendly. As a general rule, Chardonnay is not a wine that typically likes to be aged. However, there are some things to look for if you truly want to age a bottle.
It may be beneficial to seek out assistance from a reputable source when deciding on a Chardonnay to put in your cellar for more than a few years. They may have insight into a particular winery or winemaker that produces ageable Chardonnay.
Look for a bottle that is lower in ABV. Oxidation, which makes wine less desirable, occurs more slowly in a lower alcohol content wine. A Chardonnay that is considered highly acidic is also more likely to age well than one that is not.
Age-worthiness is not always indicated by a higher price tag but you may be hard pressed to find a cheap bottle worthy of extensive storage.
Some wines are just “known” for their quality and thus are able to price themselves accordingly. Chardonnay is especially susceptible to this phenomenon, as it a less costly wine overall.
Smaller, boutique vineyards often produce Chardonnay that costs more due to their limited resources and supplies. Many of these places would argue that their wines present more intricacies than some of the mass-production vineyards like [yellow tail] or Barefoot Cellars.
Other larger, prestigious wineries base their higher prices on their history of producing great tasting, award-winning wines.
Chardonnay is so easy to grow and has so many different offerings, it is certainly possible to find a surprisingly good option for a relatively inexpensive cost.
Common Chardonnay Wine Prices List
Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay
Chateau Montelena Chardonnay
Napa Valley, USA
La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Barefoot Cellars Chardonnay
Rombauer Vineyards Chardonnay
Yellow Tail Chardonnay
South Eastern Australia
Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay
Sutter Home Chardonnay
Clos du Bois Chardonnay
North Coast, USA
Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay
Napa Valley, USA
R.H. Phillips Toasted Head Chardonnay
Far Niente Winery Estate Chardonnay
Napa Valley, USA
Black Box Monterey County Chardonnay
The Original Dark Horse Chardonnay
Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay
Bogle Vineyards Chardonnay
Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay
Monterey County, USA
Gallo Family Vineyards Chardonnay
Trinity Oaks Chardonnay
Story Point Chard United