You might not be familiar with the term ‘ABC’ when it comes to wine.
‘Anything But Chardonnay’ was the movement away from what is Chardonnay is one of the most widely grown grapes in all of the popular wine regions in the world towards anything other else – maybe in search of something a bit more ‘sophisticated’ or maybe thanks to a bad experience.
But it seems it could be all change in the world of wine. According to the wine guys at Waitrose Cellar, Google Trends is suggesting that interest in Bridget Jones’ favourite tipple reached an all-time high at the end of December, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
Anne Jones, Waitrose Wine Expert, says: “If you want to adjust, Chardonnay is the most versatile of all grape varieties. While people may not like one specific style, for example the buttery heavily oaked examples, there are many more to choose from.
“Chablis can be flinty and refreshing without a hint of oak, and many new world producers are now also making Chardonnay that is light, fruity and bright.
“However, it’s the oaked styles that have captured the fine wine market’s attention, with top notch Burgundies that can be simply sublime. Many new world producers are also making wine in these elegant styles now, especially from cooler climates in New Zealand and Australia.”
To mark the possible return to glory of Chardonnay, the Waitrose wine experts have found a few bottles that might just change your mind and tempt you back – without you even realising what they are…
Mâcon-Lugny, Cave de Lugny Les Charmes – £8.59 until the 21/02
An un-oaked white Burgundy, this wine is made entirely from Chardonnay but is a deceptive choice. Being un-oaked and with citrus fruit notes, it doesn’t have the flavour that puts some people off. Apparently if you want to give Chardonnay a second chance, an un-oaked wine is a good place to start, as it’s brighter and crisper.
2. Limoux, Domaine de Costebelle – £11.99
This one’s described as having ‘complex aromas of ripe fruit’, with even a ‘touch of grilled brioche on the finish’ – probably not what you think of when you think of Chardonnay. With flavours of peach, melon and a touch of spice, it’s ideal with richer chicken dishes.
3. Chablis, Domaine Louis Moreau – £16.99
Another deceptive one when it comes to taste – apparently many people are fond of Chablis without knowing it’s actually a Chardonnay. The grape literally ‘hides’ behind the label, says Waitrose’s experts. And again, this is un-oaked, making it taste a bit different to your stereotypical Chardonnay.
4. Pouilly-Fuissé, Auvigue, Le Clos – £24.99 – Waitrose Cellar Exclusive
The grapes used for this wine comes from 45-year-old vinesand while it is an oaked Chardonnay, apparently even the most hardened ‘non-believer’ could be converted by its elegance and intensity – a bit different from the Chardonnays many people will be familiar with.
5. Burgundy, Cave de Lugny Sparkling Blanc de Blancs NV – £13.99
It may be made from Chardonnay grapes, but you might not know it from this rich and lightly creamy sparkling wine, complete with its notes of citrus and apple and a fresh and crisp finish.
6. Champagne, Waitrose Blanc de Blancs Brut NV – £22.99
Another one made entirely from Chardonnay grapes, this is describes as “impressively fresh, ripe and elegant” and “A great choice for celebrations”. In that case, who cares what it is?
7. England, Hoffmann & Rathbone Blanc de Blancs – £40
If you’re expecting a Chardonnay to be one-dimensional and overpowering, this one will probably keep you guessing. Its many layers of red apple, mango, citrus and even ‘warm, buttered bread fresh from the oven’ will deceive most people, and you probably won’t realise this it’s made from the grape you’ve been trying to avoid until you’re already hooked.