With the first hints of summer, I thought we could take a look at oaked chardonnay, arguably the greatest of the white grapes. Although it’s now grown all over the world, its spiritual home is Burgundy in France where it makes everything from the dry, steely Chablis, to the rich buttery and eye-wateringly expensive wines of Montrachet.

Fly to the other side of the world and the Australians have arguably taken the grape to a new level altogether with bucket-loads of fruit added to the list of basic chardonnay flavours. The best thing about Australia, however, is that they have added this oomph to the wine without compromising the price and you can get world-class rich vanilla-driven wines for less than £15 or so.

My favourites, however, are those of California, despite the often ridiculous prices. The chardonnays of Sonoma and Napa have a creaminess to the finish that is just luxurious, but then again, so is the price.


Honey Drop Chardonnay, South Africa

This is as lovely as it sounds. A complex, inviting nose leading into a palate of butterscotch and warm buttered toast. Sublime for the price.

Majestic £9.99 mix six or £13.99 per bottle


Corryton Burge, South Australia 2021

Anything Burge is good, folks, but this is a delight. Floral on the nose with white peaches and vanilla on the palate and a soft creamy finish.

Oddbins £14