The best Australian chardonnay to try at home | Alistair Gibson

As lockdown slowly starts to ease, one of the questions that I hear often is ‘what have you missed most?’ usually followed by ‘what will you do first?’

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:54 pm
One of the wines Alistair recommends.

There are so many things that sadly we have all been denied. For me a simple pleasure will just be able to sit around a table with friends and share some food and wine.

On a grander scale what I am perhaps most looking forward to is visiting some vineyards and near the top of my list would be the Margaret River in Western Australia.

It is one of the most isolated wine regions in the world and given Australia’s current border policy it is doubtful I will be able to travel there any time soon. The Margaret River is without question one of the world’s greatest vineyard regions. Chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon can produce world-class wines.

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In celebration of International Chardonnay Day this week (May 21), here are three Margaret River chardonnays to try.

Robert Oatley Signature Series Chardonnay 2018, Margaret River (Co-op £12, Ocado £11.99) is from one of the great names of Australian wine making and this is a great introduction to this region. It did spend some time in oak barrels but this is really well balanced.

There is some ripe nectarine, lime and vanilla on the nose followed by more nectarine and lime on the palate with a well-judged background note of oak spice. This is really very good value, try it with a lemon roasted chicken.

Tesco Finest Brooks Road Chardonnay 2019, Margaret River (Tesco £15) is made for Tesco by Howard Park Wines and this is a very welcome addition to the Finest Range. Fermented in French oak this offers notes of baked apple, white peaches and roasted cashew on the nose. There is real complexity here and it went perfectly with a fish pie.

If I could visit one vineyard in Margaret River it would be Vasse Felix. They were one of the pioneers of the region and have left a deep impression on me since a visit a few years ago.

In my cellar I have several vintages of Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay but Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay 2019, Margaret River (Waitrose £9.99, Majestic £14.99) is a great introduction to the wines of Vasse Felix. Again aged in French oak but mainly older barrels, this has lemon, stone fruits and some spring blossom on the nose.

Try with some fresh seafood and an alfresco summer lunch in the garden.