THERE was a time in the 1990s when ABC was the in-thing, and I'm not talking about learning the alphabet, folks. ABC was a yuppie shorthand for ‘anything but chardonnay’ which was coined in response to the growing volume of same old-same old chardonnays coming out of the New World.

In fairness, the tight buggers using the term should just have opened their wallets a bit because it was also linked heavily to the three for a tenner promotions that were popular in many national chains at the time. When volume is your main measure of value, take what's being offered and what was being offered was fruity, boring chardonnay.

I rarely hear complaints about chardonnay these days, and it's no surprise because winemakers the world over have really mastered the grape – the talking point these days is oaked or unoaked. It’s the wine world equivalent of the whisky lovers who ponder whether to peat or not to peat.

For me, and let's face it, I'm the one who has to drink all the stuff to write this drivel for you, chablis aside the unoaked ones are fine for a barbecue, but the real quality and complexity of the grape is brought about in the oaked versions. Chardonnay takes to oak in much the same way as tempranillo and it totally transforms the style, colour and depth.

Yeah, you want a bit of fruit but there's no white wine experience to beat the buttered toast of a decent Burgundy and thankfully that's the way many of the top end chardonnays in the New World are rolling these days.

Arboleda Chardonnay, Chile

I had to re-check the label because I could have sworn this was a really decent Burgundy and the winemaker should take that as a compliment indeed. It's got a gentle but enticing floral nose and a soft, almost creamy palate with hints of refreshing acidity on the finish. Top notch.

Corney & Barrow £16.95

Honeycomb Chardonnay, Journeys End, South Africa

One of the freshest tasting chardonnays I've tasted in years, with tropical fruits and lemons adding to a lovely toasty oak finish.

Marks & Spencer £8.50