87

2011 The Society's Australian Chardonnay, McLaren Vale, South Australia

( £6.50, 12.5%, The Wine Society )

It’s a measure of how far Aussie Chardonnay has advanced in recent years, that even a Chardonnay from warmer climate McLaren Vale is light-bodied and unoaked. This is appealingly dry with flavours of stone fruit and a bite of lemon zest-like acidity.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-13Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Australia, White, Chardonnay
92

NV Laithwaite Private Cuvée, Champagne

( £44, 12.5%, Laithwaites )

This is a Chardonnay-dominated blend, but it’s the 33% Pinot Noir that really comes through on the nose and palate, giving the wine a malty, raspberry fruity richness. The Chardonnay really kicks in the finish, lifting the wine and giving it frehsness and zest. Classy stuff.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-16Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, France, Sparkling
87

2007 Concha y Toro, Otorio Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Maule Valley

( £6.99, 12%, Tesco, www.tesco.com )

It’s comparatively rare to find Sauvignon Blanc made as a sweet wine on its own (as opposed to blended with Semillon), but this value-for-money sticky from Chile suggests that the grape is well suited to these styles. Honey and quince with an undertone of pink grapefruit.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-15Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Chile, White, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc
92

2010 Domaines Brocard Sélection, Chablis 1er Cru, Burgundy

( £14.99, 12.5%, Sainsbury's )

One of a series of brilliant Chablis to emerge from this domaine (or domaines) in 2010, this is a textbook example of what Chardonnay can produce in a great year in the Yonne. It’s tangy and fresh with lovely chalky minerality and purity of fruit. Deliciously drinkable.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, White, Chardonnay
90

2011 Pieropan, Veneto, Soave

( £11, 12%, Liberty Wines )

Pieropan makes some of my favourite Soaves. Its single vineyard wines are sublime, but its larger, entry point blend is pretty good, too. This has a white pepper fragrance, with stony minerality on the palate and a fresh, almost saline finish. Good to see it under screwcap, too. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Italy, White, Garganega