91

2012 Cullerot, Celler del Roure, Valencia

( £12.99, 13%, Davis Bell McCraith, Tivoli Wines )

A highly unusual (possibly unique?) blend of Macabeo, Verdil, Pedro Ximénez and Chardonnay from Valencia of all places, this stylishly packaged, leesy white was made with very little suplhur, but it’s cleaner and fresher than many “natural” wines. Ageing takes place in clay amphorae, rather than oak and the result is all about fruit: apple, pear and a hint of stone fruit with subtle spices.

Drinking window: 2014-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Spain, White, Chardonnay, Macabeo
94

2013 Richard Kershaw Wines Chardonnay, Elgin

( N/A, 13.5%, Contact the winery for details )

Englishman Richard Kershaw has followed up his 2012 release with a wine that’s every bit as good. This is a smoky, minerally,  citrus-tinged, stylishly constructed Chardonnay that whispers of its cool climate origins in Elgin. Discreet and subtle, it’s a wine with texture, harmony and palate length. One of the Cape’s best examples of the grape.

BuyDrinking window: 2014-18Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, South Africa, White, Chardonnay
90

2011 McGuigan, No 3659, The Shortlist Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

( £15, 13%, Tesco Wine Online )

One of a series of impressive wines under The Shortlist label, this French oak-fermented cool climate Chardonnay has benefited from a little bottle age and is now showing some developed flavours and aromas. Pear, cinnamon spice and a touch of honey combine well on the palate here. 

Drinking window: 2014-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, White, Chardonnay
90

2010 Bouchard Père & Fils, Beaune du Château, Beaune 1er Cru, Burgundy

( £25.99, 13.5%, BJR Hanby, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Le Vieux Comptoir, Waitrose )

Beaune whites are not as well known as its reds, although both tend to be under-rated. Leesy, soft and gently oaked, this is a comparatively forward style with subtle oak framing and notes of lemon butter and honey. The acidity of the 2010 vintage lifts the wine on the finish.

Drinking window: undefinedSimilar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, France, White, Chardonnay
93

2011 Domaine Laroche, Chablis 1er Cru Les Vaudevey, Burgundy

( £19.69, 12.5%, www.thefinewinecompany.co.uk )

I’ve been very critical of the 2011 vintage in Chablis (because of a root vegetable-like taint called geosmin that I find on too many of the wines) but this is a welcome exception to the rule, a clean, appealingly developed Chardonnay from an excellent Premier Cru. There’s a touch of oak on this wine, but it’s steered by fruit. Honey, pear and aniseed spice are nicely combined on the palate. 

Drinking window: 2014-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, White, Chardonnay