Recommend me an old style fat, oaky Chardonnay please...

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Richard Ward, Apr 11, 2020.

  1. That was one of the first wines that came to my mind actually but according to WS it is unavailable in the UK. As you say, a real blast from the past.
  2. A little late to this one, but we face the same issue when looking for samples to teach our WSET classes.

    Catena Alta´s Historic Rows Chardonnay is a great choice and I believe available in the UK for around 20 pounds. Perhaps a little more freshness than the 1990s/000s styles of fruit bombs, but very ripe and slightly tropical, with plenty of butter and sweet spices. Not a subtle wine but very, very well made.

    Argentina is one of the only countries to mostly reject the reductive, leaner style that´s currently in vogue. Lots of big, buttery Chardonnays to be had here and unlike California, at a price mortals can actually afford!
  3. A couple of South American options that might be worth looking into Richard:
    Catena Zapata and (next level up) Catena Alta chardonnays
    Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chard

    Having tried in the past these have shown sweeter tropical fruit notes (pineapple/banana/melon), butterscotch, vanilla and buttery flavours from a more liberal use of oak & malo treatment.

    I used to really like them when first getting into wine but palate since changed and now find that style too much for my liking

    Ive not tried these for a few years however so I don’t know if they’ve changed their approach.
    Fintan Kerr and Richard Ward like this.
  4. Beat me to it Fintan.
    Goes to show how long it took my type/check notes in my reply!:rolleyes:
    Fintan Kerr likes this.
  5. Good shout for a cheaper option for the style. Also maybe the Edna Valley Chardonnay also at Majestic (and often knocked down to £9.99)
    Neil Holland likes this.
  6. So the suggested list so far, of the wines currently available in the UK, in rough price order, is:

    Majestic Bread & Butter
    Montes Alpha
    Saintsbury Carneros
    The Liberator Teeth of the Dog
    Au Bon Climat Wild Boy
    Olivier Merlin La Roche Vineuse Les Cras
    Jordan 9 Yards
    Mac Forbes
    Rustenberg 5 Soldiers
    Catena Alta Historic Rows
    Au Bon Climat Los Alamos
    Au Bon Climat Nuits Blanches au Bouge
    Ramey Hyde Vineyard
    Rombauer (aka Cougar Juice)
    Ridge Monte Bello

    Thanks everyone for suggestions so far, keep them coming!!
  7. Yes my suggestion was the Berringer reserve but about £40 +.
    Majestic surely can give you a few options at reasonable price.
  8. I’ve never seen the ABCs in quite the style your looking for. They certainly can have a lot of oak but never quite as dirty as perhaps your looking at.
    Julian Seers-Martin likes this.
  9. I had a Shaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay a few months ago, it seemed pretty old school to me.
  10. Yep, and in the £10-£20 range too please.
  11. Again, haven’t had it for years, but Petaluma?
  12. A decent wine, but they eased right off on the oak on the most recent vintages I drank.
  13. Are there any reds whose extreme oakiness you miss, Richard?
    I wouldn't say I miss the oak bomb red burgundies of the 90s but it is remarkable how well many have turned out with the passage of time.
  14. Not at all, I've gone completely off that style for a similar reason to why I miss the oaky Chards so much - the ability (or lack thereof) of those wines to match food. As Colin Bradley said earlier, the rich Chards are superb with roast chicken, game, rich salmon or shellfish dishes etc. Gordon Ramsay's lobster and salmon ravioli with bisque sauce is absolutely divine with such a wine, a true match made in heaven, where each component is enhanced by the other. But the big oaky reds are too heavy, too alcoholic and I just don't find they go with anything.
  15. Hard to disagree with that, Richard-though I don't think the alcohol is lower in the wines you seek.
    It strikes me that many of the wines of Zind-Humbrecht will do exactly what you want, though without overt oak.
  16. Is it the oak or the fruit you like Richard? I was musing on this and wondered whether it was the "sunshine in a glass" (really ripe, sweet fruit) which was the crucial bit; the fact this was framed with copious oak and was expressed through the butteriness of chardonnay helped of course!
  17. I genuinely don't know why, but the alcohol and a touch of sweetness never bothers me in whites, but I really really dislike it in reds.

    Never thought of Alsace tbh, though I find a lot of Northern Rhone whites (St Joseph, St Peray etc) give me a similar satisfaction, in their low acidity, weighty mouthfeel. Obviously the flavour profile is entirely different though.
  18. I think it's the whole package tbh!
  19. The missing link I suppose without the oak is vanilla and toast/char, though perhaps it's more Chardonnay's montee au beurre which is enhancing the dishes?
    Which ZH wines are you suggesting Tom? The ones I've had were very alcoholic and I can't imagine Gewurz having enough acid or Riesling the tropical fruit to do the same job as a Roxburgh (not that I've drunk that wine in 20 years...).
  20. Very many, Rob, there is rarely, or even never, a deficiency in acidity. They certainly can be alcoholic, though not usually exaggerated.
  21. So I've jumped in and bought a few - staff discount at Majestic meant Saintsbury came in at £102 for 6 and the basic ABC at £116 (not on the 'fat oak' list I know, but that seemed an extremely good price for a wine I've enjoyed many times in the past). I also picked up a 6 pack of ABC Wild Boy with a little bit of age on from Field & Fawcett in York.

    This bulks out the few bottles I've already got, now I'll probably look at some single bottles of the slightly posher wines, or those I'm unfamiliar with, though this probably won't be possible until things are back to some sort of normality.
  22. Feed back once consumed please Richard - I think your tastes align pretty closely with mine here. I like the ABC and the Catena wines, I had forgotten these until someone else mentioned them. Our guilty pleasure of slutty chardonnays seems to be out of step with modern trends.

    However I am not a great fan of American oak, the coconut element etc isn't for me and doesn't give the same seasoning as French oak, making the wine too 'soft' - if that makes sense. It is noticeable that both of the wines above and the Montes Alpha previously liked all use French oak barrels. It maybe something to look at with those wines that are hits and misses for you.
    Richard Ward likes this.
  23. Strangely, there was someone asking a very similar question on the TWS Community just now. I'm tempted to say "You are Gordon Gecko and I claim my £5". But if you are not you can check for answers, in a place I cannot link to, over there -------->
  24. I could never be Gordon Gecko, I can't cope with skipping breakfast
  25. More Larry Lizard than Gordon Gecko...:)

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