Chardonnay is the most widespread white grape variety in the world. It’s also most commonly associated with white oak wine because it’s good for the oak, whether it’s been in the barrel for a year or just a few months. Chardonnays fermented or aged in oak barrels are produced in different climates around the world. So if you like creamy, buttered, nutty Chardonnays, these wines are for you.

Family Clendenen 2016 Le Bon Climat Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley); $50, 94 points. For this family brand, Jim Clendennenen carefully preserves his rich Chardonnay style, and he remains a master of style, maintaining balance while playing with the woody opulence. Aromas of toasted walnut, toasted oak and butter mingle with a fresh nose of citrus, while the syrupy palate combines toasted apple, pecan and apple blossom aromas with lively acidity. Editor’s Choice. -Matt Kettmann

J. Moreau & Fils 2018 Valmour Grand Cru (Chablish); 108, 94 points. The richness of the oak is expressed in the nose of this wine in the aroma of toasted hazelnut. Soft and round, the taste can support the woody finish that sets the tone. The spiciness of the honey is balanced by the brightness of the lemon. Concentration and freshness indicate that this wine has aged well. Drinking 2025-2040. Boisset Collection. -Ann Krebil MW

Vasse Felix 2018 Chardonnay (Margaret River); 39, 94 points. This Margaret River classic is an excellent introduction to both the region and the style of this famous chardonnay producer. The nose is fruity but delicate, combining notes of melon and peach with cashews, wet bones and a hint of shellfish. In the mouth, the acidic tingling sensation bounces off the tongue and is accompanied by a creamy texture. Oak is present but plays a supporting role, and the finish is long and briny. Drinks deliciously now, but can mature until 2028. U.S.-Winebow Nonprofits. -Cristina Picard

Anaba 2017 WestLands Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast); $58, 92 points. This white wine from the cool-climate vineyards west of Sevastopol is jasmine and earthy, with fresh and concentrated acidity. The combination of apple, citrus and wet stone gives a bright, shiny and impressive effect with a sumptuous oak finish. -Virginie Boone

Bryn Mawr Vineyards 2017 Estate Chardonnay (Eola Amity Hills); $40, 92 points. Aromas of flint, toast and cream open the door to a beautiful wine focused on ripe fruit and pretty nectarine. Nicely concentrated and deep, the flavors show accents of spicy wood and a lingering finish that resolves into notes of toasted hazelnuts. Aged for 18 months in 30% new French oak. -Paul Greggutt.


Paritua 2018 Chardonnay (Hawk Bay); $45, 92 points. The color is bright yellow and contains quite a bit of sulfur on first opening, but it remains energetic and bright. Lemon peel, freshly sliced peaches, flowers and notes of toast and yeast make up the nose. The palate has a silky and supple texture, refreshed by the action of acidity and oak. It is a charming, mature wine designed for the dining table. Whanau Imports. -S.P.

Alquimista Cellars 2017 Manchester Ridge Chardonnay (Mendocino Ridge); $57, 91 points. This flamboyant and complex wine begins with intense aromas of butter and toasted nuts and offers aromas of earth, cooking spices and almonds that blossom deeply. He is focused, nervous and forgiving. -Jim Gordon

Bogle 2018 Chardonnay Reserve (Clarksburg); $20, 91 points. This wine pairs well with a grilled, buttered and bold style. The wine was fermented in new American oak barrels and offers tremendous aromas of toasted oak and melted butter that combine with ripe pear and peach on the palate, accented with almond and vanilla. -J.G.G.

Levantine Hill 2016 Paddock Chardonnay Catherine (Yarra Valley); $85, 91 points. This top notch Chardonnay is an elegant bottle that mimics a top notch Burgundy. At first, the aromas of flint, salt and onions predominate. Finally the stone fruit struggles and with air and warmth other layers emerge. Polished oak and vanilla are present on the full palate, which offers great texture and concentration of fruit. Drinking 2021-2035. MHW, Ltd. Basement selection. -S.P.

Tasca d’Almerita 2018 Vigna San Francesco Chardonnay (Sicily); $70, 91 points. Fermented and aged in wood, it opens with aromas of toasty oak, hazelnut, ripe stone fruit and eucalyptus. The soft, polished palate echoes the nose, with ripe yellow apples, caramel and candied lemon, plus a hint of fennel seed. The freshness of the acidity illuminates the rich flavors. Wind. -Kerin O’Keefe

We recommend:

Riedel Vinum Chardonnay Wine Glasses (Set of 2)

Evolution Series 48 Bottle Refrigerator with Black Stainless Steel Door

Luca 2019 G Lot Chardonnay (Tupungato); $35, 90 points. A sweet blend of melon, tropical fruit, vanilla and woody aromas opens this sublime Chardonnay, largely barrel-fermented, which is balanced yet creamy on the sensory level on the palate. The slightly woody and buttery white bread toast and delicate aromas of white fruit are short-lived on the plump finish. Drink till 2022. Vine connections. -Michael Schachner

Robert Eden’s 2018 Robert Eden Collection of Organic Chardonnay Grapes (Vin de France); $25, 90 points. The nose is dominated by coconut, vanilla and lemon aromas. The rich, creamy flavor is full of biscuit and vanilla flavors, with lemony acidity and a lingering finish. Vintners Alliance. -Fiona Adams

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