Chardonnay alternatives: drinking outside the box

Mix it up with our alternatives to Chardonnay.

We’ve already ticked off some fantastic Sauvignon Blanc substitutes in the first part of our ‘alternatives’ series, here. But, we thought, why stop there?

For wine lovers that favour a less aromatic white, there are heaps of options on offer. And, they don’t have to be limited to Chardonnay. Even if it is the world’s favourite white wine!

Long, zesty, lush and vibrant – the Patelin de Tablas Blanc is a beautiful wine

Chardonnay Alternatives #1: Grenache Blanc

Grenache Blanc has a plush, citrus-forward style that make it an automatic win for Chardonnay lovers. It has heaps of green fruit flavours: pear, green apple, lime… the list goes on. We’d recommend the Patelin de Tablas Blanc. It’s lush and vibrant, with just a bit of sea-spray minerality to spice things up!

Or, for an interesting blend, the Bonny Doon Le Cigare Blanc is always a winner. There’s Vermentino and Clairette in here too, all contributing to pear, melon and peach flavours, as well as steely lines of minerality. Delicate, but with a real kick.

The Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant is a wonderful blend of Grenache Blanc, Vermentino and Clairette

Chardonnay Alternatives #2: Malvasia

One for the ‘bigger and bolder’ Chardonnay lovers here! Malvasia wines pack a bit more punch than a lot of white wines. Malvasia grapes are high in sugar, meaning wines are more alcoholic, and have a lot of body. Common flavours are peach, apricot, tropical fruits and a touch of honey. A familiar palate to many Chardonnay lovers! But, they can show quite unusual notes, too. Test out the Birichino Malvasia Bianca! It’s also got flavours of jasmine, lime, and elderflower, alongside spiced apple and razor-sharp acidity.

Malvasia Bianca is an unusual grape – but produces fab wines when done correctly, as shown by Birichino

Chardonnay Alternatives #3: Fiano

Fiano’s been around for a long, LONG time. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans were making wine from it. Unfortunately, Fiano grapes don’t produce a whole load of wine, so it’s fallen by the wayside a bit – very unfairly. Its wines are textured, nutty, and have lots of floral, honey and ripe fruit notes – just like Chardonnay! It’s rich in flavours of white peach, white flowers, pineapple, and sometimes even pear. Grab a glass of the Grosset Fiano to try it! Zesty, intense and full of dried herb aromas, it’s a fab introduction to the grape.

Chardonnay Alternatives #4: Orange Wine

OK, so calling this a white wine is a bit of a stretch – even though it is made with white grapes! Orange wines are created when the skins from white grapes are left to ferment with the juice, instead of being removed. It’s the same way red wines are made – with white grapes instead of red. The extra tannins, flavours, and colours make for a really interesting drinking experience, as well as wines that have a little more ‘oomph’. Give the Pyramid Valley Orange a go! Made from Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Muscat, it’s an absolute belter. Expect cherry blossoms, ripe crab apple, cherry fruit – dry, acidic, and oh-so-delicious.

White grape skins are left to ferment with the juice to create orange wine

Missed part one of our blog? Catch our alternatives to Sauvignon Blanc here.


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