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Top scoring Chardonnay: 97+ points from DWWA 2019

The award-winning wines that received a Platinum or Best in Show medal from our expert judges at the Decanter World Wine Awards…

This 21 May marks the 10th annual International Chardonnay Day. In celebration of one of the world’s most popular grape varieties, we take a look at top-scoring Chardonnay wines from the most recent Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA).

Below are the wines tasted that received a Platinum or Best in Show medal (97+ points), representing just 2.3% of all Chardonnay-dominant wines entered in the 2019 competition.

Of the more than 16,500 wines tasted at DWWA 2019, only 50 (0.3%) received the esteemed Best in Show medal, including nine wines produced with Chardonnay from France, Australia and the UK.

Exemplary of Chardonnay’s ability to grow well in a range of climates, Platinum medals, making up just 1.6% of all Chardonnay-dominant wines tasted, were awarded to 26 wines produced with Chardonnay from the above countries as well as Italy, New Zealand, the USA, South Africa and even Moldova.

The list of Gold medal winners ranges even further with the above countries represented as well as 95+ point Chardonnays from Canada, Greece, Hungary, and China. See here for the full list.


See more: the latest Chardonnay wine reviews


Top scoring Chardonnay (97+ points):

DWWA 2019 Best in Show

France

Domaine de la Vougeraie, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru, Burgundy, France 2016

98 points, 100% Chardonnay

Wines like this rarely appear surrounded by a gaggle of peers, so judging them fairly can sometimes be difficult, but our judges weren’t in any doubt that this is an outstanding example of wine from this relatively small, 3.68-ha vineyard in the Puligny side of the Montrachets.  It’s still relatively pale in colour with inspiringly complex, layered aromas of fleshy stone fruits, of baked bread, of freshly picked, grass-flecked wild mushrooms, cream and even a little  of the nourishing sweetness of chicken stock.  On the palate, this is structured and relatively broad in architecture but graceful, fresh and lively in its flavours.  All the elements are in place for even more enchantment down the line, but this is not a forbidding young Grand Cru and it would make a great treat in the next year or two, too.  Drink 2019-2030

Charles Heidsieck, Blanc des Millénaires Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne, Champagne, France 2004

98 points, 100% Chardonnay

This Blanc de Blancs Champagne is a bright morning gold in colour, with fine-seamed bubbles and rich, expressive and expansive aromas. Beaten cream, pounded hazels, a hint of baking apples, brioche fresh from the oven. But all these notes are drawn with great subtlety, underscoring the fruit quality of the Chardonnay vineyards used in this blend. On the palate, the wine retains all that aromatic grace and amplitude, marrying it to a shapely fruit presence, vibrant though now well-rounded acidity and textural charm, too. A head-turner. Drink 2019-2028

De Saint-Gall, Orpale Blanc de Blancs Brut Grand Cru, Champagne, Champagne, France 2004

97 points, 100% Chardonnay

Our judges loved the way that the 2004 Champagne vintage is looking at present, especially in Blanc de Blanc form, hence this second Best in Show pick from the category. This is the slightly paler of the two wines, with very fine bubbles and a tenacious snowy crown. The scents take you back to its vineyard origins and the fine limestones of the region, with scents of rain on chalky clay, sap and crushed winter holly and ivy leaves, just backed by a little teasing warmth from its cellar years spent on yeast lees. On the palate, it’s incisive, pure, long and grainy with a fine chalk drift to it: restrained, pure and elegant Champagne of great class. Drink 2019-2024

Château de Meursault, Les Charmes Dessus, Meursault 1er Cru, Burgundy, France 2017

97 points, 100% Chardonnay

Generosity is intrinsic to the promise of Meursault, but the village’s best wines always manage to express this with subtlety, freshness and an overall sappiness and vitality which means that great examples are never overweight or obvious.  This Best In Show Charmes is a copybook example of just how engaging a combination that can be, with its fragrant drift of sweet lime subtly amplified by restrained oak, it offers poised and restrained palate wealth.  It’s teasingly gratifying now, but may well be even better with a few cellar years under its belt.  Drink 2019-2028

Christian Moreau Pére et Fils, Les Clos, Chablis Grand Cru, Burgundy, France 2017

97 points, 100% Chardonnay

Pale gold in colour, this commanding Chablis Grand Cru from the great site of Les Clos is everything Chablis-lovers could want.  The site is so good, indeed, that its wines often take some time to evolve both aromatically and on the palate, but the supple, summer-meadow warmth of the aromas of this wine and its width and amplitude in the mouth suggest it has already set out satisfyingly down the evolutionary track. The balance with the wine’s inherently stony tension, though, is impressively achieved, too: a complete yet approachable Les Clos.  Drink 2019-2028

United Kingdom

Wiston Estate, Blanc de Blancs Brut, West Sussex, United Kingdom 2011

98 points, 100% Chardonnay

Time spent on lees after secondary fermentation pays huge dividends for English sparkling wine, endowed as it always is with high natural levels of acidity. That’s a lesson triumphantly proved by this 2011 Blanc de Blancs, with its soft mousse, lifted, almost floral aromas and deft weave of apple, tangerine and pear fruits rippled through with yeasty, bready richness. Its concentration, poise and length are impressive and position the wine well against the stiffest competition.  It’s vibrant and giving now, but will hold well if stored correctly and given still more time over the next decade. Drink 2019-2028

Chapel Down, Kit’s Coty Coeur De Cuvée, Kent, United Kingdom 2014

97 points, 100% Chardonnay

You can’t afford errors in the Extra Brut style; everything must be impeccable, from vineyard fruit quality right the way through to disgorgement and seal. Not only are there no errors in this pale, fine-beaded, taut and restrained sparkling wine, but our judges found its graceful, svelte profile, ultra-subtle creaminess of scent and taut, pared-back orchard-fruit and powdered stone notes compelling, bracing and deeply satisfying. After four years, it is just beginning to open up and reveal a more articulate side which further cellar years will amplify. This daringly stylish sparkling wine underscores the potential of its Kentish origins, and does so with assurance. Drink 2019-2026

Chapel Down, Kit’s Coty Chardonnay, Kent, United Kingdom 2016

97 points, 100% Chardonnay

If the 2019 edition of DWWA proves anything, it is that we can now say without any doubt that Chardonnay can ripen satisfactorily in the UK.  This still Chardonnay joins our two Chardonnay-based sparkling wines in the Best in Show line up with a wine which would surely show well against the Coteaux Champenois competition.  Very pale in colour, with creamy, linden-fresh scents and a bright, incisive, fresh and vivid palate, this is of course a far call from the generously ripe Chardonnays which often dominate the varietal market, but as a graceful, finely sculpted fine-dining white from a high-latitude, ultra-cool-climate site, it’s almost shockingly successful.  Drink 2019-2025

Australia

Dawson James, Chardonnay, Derwent Valley, Tasmania, Australia 2015

97 points, 100% Chardonnay

In a great year in general for Chardonnay wines in our Best In Show selection, this Tasmanian example impressed our judges with its assurance, its grain and its darting yet ripe and resonant cool-climate style. It’s a bright green-gold in colour. A little reduction when first poured soon clears to reveal a tempting spectrum of lemon, dessert apple and early-season nectarine fruits with understated creamy wealth from its barrel-fermentation.  On the palate, it is ample and round yet fresh and vivid, the purity of its Derwent Valley origins singing out without any winery forcing. A Tasmanian thoroughbred which underscores the potential of its site.  Drink 2019-2024

DWWA 2019 Platinum

France

Nicolas Feuillatte, Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, Champagne, Champagne, France 2012

98 points, 100% Chardonnay

Jaffelin, Ladoix, Burgundy, France 2017

98 points, 100% Chardonnay

Domaine de la Vougeraie, Charlemagne Grand Cru, Burgundy, France 2016

98 points, 100% Chardonnay

Albert Bichot, Domaine Long-Depaquit, Les Blanchots, Chablis Grand Cru, Burgundy, France 2017

97 points, 100% Chardonnay

Château de Meursault, Perrières, Meursault 1er Cru, Burgundy, France 2017

97 points, 100% Chardonnay

Château-Fuissé, Le Clos Monopole, Pouilly-Fuissé, Burgundy, France 2017

97 points, 100% Chardonnay

Domaine du Chardonnay, Vaillons, Chablis 1er Cru, Burgundy, France 2017

97 points, 100% Chardonnay

Australia

Domaine Naturaliste, Artus Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia 2017

98 points, 100% Chardonnay

Mount Mary Vineyard, Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia 2016

98 points, 100% Chardonnay

Vasse Felix, Heytesbury Chardonnay, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia 2017

98 points, 100% Chardonnay

Arras, Grand Vintage, Tasmania, Australia 2008

97 points, 66% Chardonnay, 34% Pinot Noir

Bird in Hand, Nest Egg Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia 2017

97 points, 100% Chardonnay

Tertini, Chardonnay, Tasmania, Australia 2017

97 points, 100% Chardonnay

New Zealand

Brancott Estate, Letter Series O Chardonnay, Omaka, Marlborough, New Zealand 2017

98 points, 100% Chardonnay

Esk Valley, Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand 2017

97 points, 100% Chardonnay

South Africa

Le Lude, Vintage Cuvée Brut, Western Cape, South Africa 2012

97 points, 83% Chardonnay, 17% Pinot Noir

Italy

Monte Rossa, Cabochon Brut, Franciacorta, Lombardy, Italy 2013

97 points, 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Nero


See more: DWWA 2019 Gold

DWWA 2019 judges


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