Chardonnay’s roots can be traced back to the Old World region of Burgundy, France. Here, the cool climate allows winemakers to produce bottles that have more acidity, citrus flavors and mineral character. The bottlings also tend to be lighter in body and in alcohol.
While this green-skinned grape’s adaptable nature allows it to thrive in all sorts of climates, Burgundy produces some of the most sought after—and therefore, some of the most expensive—bottles in the world.
Now we have plenty of exceptional Chardonnays for $25 or less and bargain Burgundies.
But maybe you finally landed your dream job this week. Perhaps there’s a get-together that requires a special bottle. Or maybe you just want to treat yourself with wine for making it to the weekend in one piece.
Whatever the reason, we can all use a splurge every now and then.
Burgundy Chardonnay to look for
Albert Bichot 2016 Domaine du Pavillon (Corton-Charlemagne); $238, 94 points. Always impressive and powerful in its richness, this Grand Cru has produced a full-bodied, rich and generously fruity wine. Wood aging has added some spice as well, giving a fuller, richer character. The wine needs to age and should not be drunk before 2022. Albert Bichot USA. Cellar Selection. —R.V.
Château de Fuissé 2016 Les Brûlés (Pouilly-Fuissé); $148, 93 points. With its full southern exposure, this vineyard has enough summer heat to merit its nickname of “the burning vineyard.” Of course, the wine that comes from here is impressively rich, full of ripe yellow fruits with a textured character. It is dense and will certainly age. Drink from 2021. Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd. Cellar Selection. —R.V.
Domaine Julie Belland 2016 Morgeot Premier Cru (Chassagne-Montrachet); $80, 93 points. This softly textured wine has the potential for great richness. Toast from wood aging is still present although apple and citrus flavors come through as well. Reticent now, this wine will age well into a densely textured, ripe wine. Drink from 2021. Total Wine & More. Cellar Selection. —R.V.
Jean-Marc Brocard 2017 Butteaux Premier Cru (Chablis); $50, 93 points. This rich wine comes from a vineyard with more clay soil than many in Chablis. Its weight and density are balanced by the perfumed yellow fruits and acidity. It’s a fine wine already, but will be richer as it matures. Drink from 2021. Verity Wine Partners. —R.V.
Domaine des Valanges 2017 Les Cras (Saint-Véran); $93, 92 points. This rich wine comes from a three-acre vineyard owned by the Paquet family. It has hints of tropicality as well as fresh green-stone fruits. Minerality and a tight structure suggest this wine is still young, so drink from 2020. DNS Wines. —R.V.
Maison Roche de Bellene 2015 Charmes Premier Cru (Meursault); $136, 93 points. This attractively named vineyard has produced an equally attractive wine. With its good mix of ripe fruits, acidity, nutmeg and spice from wood aging and a generous texture, it is an opulent wine although it still needs aging. Drink from 2021. Loosen Bros. USA. —R.V.
Joseph Drouhin 2016 Puligny-Montrachet; $70, 92 points. A classic, ripe wood-aged wine, this is balanced between the toastiness and rich yellow fruits. A touch of minerality will enhance the texture as the wine matures. Packed with fruit, it will be ready from 2021. Dreyfus, Ashby & Co. —R.V.
Louis Latour 2017 Château de Blagny Premier Cru (Meursault-Blagny); $89, 92 points. This wine has opulence as well as a fresher side. Its fruitiness displays an exotic character as well as fresher, citrus aspects. With its structure and minerality, the wine needs time. Drink from 2022. Louis Latour Inc. —R.V.
Domaine Jessiaume 2017 Les Gravières Premier Cru (Santenay); $45, 91 points. One of a group of premier crus at the north end of the village, this vineyard is planted in both color grapes. This Chardonnay is full, with some of the fatness of the vintage but more of the tense acidity that comes from a young wine. Wait to drink this wine with baked-apple flavors from 2021. MS Walker. —R.V.
Domaine Berthelemot 2016 Les Tillets (Meursault); $64, 90 points. Named after the lime trees that grew around this vineyard, this wine is structured with great minerality as well as tight citrus fruit. It has potential with its tense acidity and hints of apricot flavors. Don’t drink before 2021. Fine Terroirs LLC. —R.V.