Cheaper but delicious alternatives to traditional chardonnay wine | Alistair Gibson

Last week’s column featured chardonnay from Australia’s Margaret River, however chardonnay’s spiritual home is, of course, Burgundy, France.

By Alistair Gibson
Thursday, 27th May 2021, 4:13 pm
Terroir et Talents les enracines chardonnay is one of the bottles Alistair recommends.
Terroir et Talents les enracines chardonnay is one of the bottles Alistair recommends.

I think it would be fair to say that it is there, among the Grand and Premier Cru vineyards, this classic white grape reaches its ultimate expression.

Sadly, white Burgundy is never going to be particularly wallet-friendly, but head a little further south to the Mâcon region and there’s real value to be found.

Not so long ago, this was an area which produced fairly undistinguished white wines, but today it is home to some high-quality and increasingly interesting chardonnay which can offer great value for money.

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Perhaps my favourite label of the year and one which seems to reflect our recent lockdown world is Les Enracinés Mâcon Chardonnay 2019 (thesurreycellar.co.uk £14.99, thesolentcellar.co.uk £14.99). This actually comes from vineyards in the village of Chardonnay itself. It is made in as natural a way as possible, with no added sulphur so it is in many ways as pure an expression of Chardonnay as you could wish for.

It is very fresh with orange blossom, citrus notes and a little nuttiness. This would work really nicely with a spring vegetable risotto or some simply grilled vegetables and pesto.

In a more classic style is Mâcon-Uchizy 2019, Domaine de l`Arfentière (hhandc.co.uk £13.85, £12.25 per dozen) which was a real standout in a recent tasting and I think terrific value.

It is un-oaked and offers galia melon and lemon with a little honey in the background on the nose, followed by some lovely richness on the palate before a very satisfying, long finish. This has enough depth to match chicken or pork or firm textured fish and it was absolutely perfect with a lemon-roasted chicken.

Mâcon-Lugny 2019, Louis Latour (Majestic £14.99 or £11.99 as part of a mixed six) is one of those wines that seems to have been part of my wine career for as long as I can remember. It is, in many ways, bench-mark Mâcon, made by one of the great names in Burgundy.

From the village of Lugny – situated in the south of the Mâcon region – this offers green apple, pear and honeydew melon on the nose. The palate is very fresh with more apple and pear, bright acidity and a clean, crisp finish.

It has long represented great value for money and would be perfect with a seaside lunch of crab or lobster.