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Blind Tasting Reveals Trends in Global Chardonnay

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London, 13 December 2022 – The grape is often simplified to a battle of Burgundy versus California, but a recent blind tasting demonstrated that the world of Chardonnay is increasingly open. With Masters of Wine awarding top medals to ten countries, wine lovers have a wealth of options for world-beating Chardonnay.

The Global Chardonnay Masters 2022, organised by industry-leading publication the drinks business, was open to any wine made with 100% Chardonnay made in any region in the world. Two panels of expert, independent judges – including five Masters of Wine – judged 127 wines from 13 countries. 21 wines won Gold medals recognising brilliant, benchmark wines, while nine won the top ranking of a Master medal, reserved for outstanding examples that show impeccable winemaking.

One of the most impressive national performances came from New Zealand, gaining five Master and four Gold medals from 20 entries. In a standout performance, Church Road secured two Master medals and a Gold medal for the Hawke’s Bay region. Their Master rated Grand Reserve was praised for its orange zest and struck match character, with MWs comparing it to premier cru Burgundy.

Perhaps more surprising was the showing from South Africa, branded ‘revelatory’ by Patrick Schmitt MW. Their wines succeeded at all price points, converting 10 entries into four Gold medals and one Master medal win.

The competition was notable for a lack of Burgundy, with producers perhaps finding that consistent demand and high prices lessen the need to enter international competitions. Instead, the French baton was carried by Blanc de Blancs Champagne, with three Gold Medal wins from six entries.

As for style, judges found a split between premium and mass-market offerings. The top-end tended towards leanness, lees and zesty fruit, while it was the lower-priced offerings that showed richness, ripeness and the hallmarks of oak. While one judge proposed ‘The Triumph of Austerity’ as the tasting’s subtitle, the day’s story is of several styles finding success in the global market.

Schmitt described the variety as a ‘barometer of taste’ of the wine world. On this basis, there may no longer be a single answer to the question, What style of Chardonnay is in fashion?

The Master medal winning wines of the competition are listed below:

Price

Wine

Vintage

Winery

Country

Region

£15-£20

Church Road McDonald Series Chardonnay

2021

Church Road

New Zealand

Hawke’s Bay

£20-£30

te Pa Reserve Collection St Leonard’s Chardonnay

2019

te Pa Family Vineyards

New Zealand

Marlborough

£20-£30

Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay

2020

Church Road

New Zealand

Hawke’s Bay

£20-£30

ENATE Barrel – Fermented Chardonnay

2021

Bodega ENATE

Spain

D.O. Somontano

£30-£50

The Pioneer Chardonnay

2021

Marisco Vineyards Limited

New Zealand

Marlborough

£30-£50

Convento SS Annunciata

2017

Società Agricola Bellavista SS

Italy

Lombardy

£30-£50

Stoneleigh Icon Chardonnay

2021

Stoneleigh

New Zealand

Marlborough

£30-£50

Maria Carmen Chardonnay

2021

Bodegas Bianchi

Argentina

San Rafael

£70-£100

Capensis

2018

Capensis

South Africa

Western Cape

About The Global Wine Masters Competitions

The Global Wine Masters have rewarded excellence in winemaking since 2013, helping quality brands to stand out and consumers to drink with confidence. Through its unique structure – defining categories by grape variety or style rather than region – the competition series lets the finest wines in the world compete against each other. Every competition is judged by the very best palates in the world: Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and senior buyers.

The Global Wine Masters award wines with Bronze, Silver and Gold medals, and Master medals for the very best entries:

  • Bronze (85-88): A well-made wine that qualifies for our seal of approval. This wine is enjoyable and meets customer expectations.
  • Silver (89-92): A high-quality wine that clearly demonstrates good winemaking while serving as a strong example of its style, source or dominant grape.
  • Gold (93-96): A brilliant wine that is a benchmark for its type. This wine has lasting appeal and shows great balance, complexity and intensity.
  • Master (97-100): An outstanding example of its type, showing impeccable winemaking. This wine delights for its wonderful texture, perfect balance and broad range of delicious, persistent flavours.

The results of each competition are published in the drinks business magazine and website (circulation of 13,000 print copies and 1.9 million webpage visits per month). This large reach guarantees that entrants’ medal wins are visible to a truly international and industry-focused audience. 

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