In the annual Chardonnay wine tasting review, the National Liquor News tasting panel of judges sipped and swirled their way through more than 100 SKUs to find the most standout wines. 

Chardonnay is one of the most widely distributed white wines in the world, and our local producers have a big piece of that action. Australia is the third biggest producer of Chardonnay behind France and the United States respectively, which meant that Australian winemakers were well represented in the tasting.

Below is just a taste of some of the standout wines from the Chardonnay tasting. You can find the full selection of the highest scoring wines in the March issue of National Liquor News, available online here.

The Standout Wines



2019 Bay of Fires Chardonnay (97 points)

Region: Tasmania

Distributed by: Accolade Wines

“Grapefruit, tropical fruits, pear. Balanced, complex, tight, soft and youthful. Well done.” – Geoff Bollom



2019 Clairault Margaret River Chardonnay (94 points)

Region: Margaret River

Distributed by: The Wine Gang (WA), Clairault Streicker direct (other states)

“The nose is beautiful and cakey. The palate is bright with fruit and spice – white pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg – all while delivering a well rounded balanced wine.” – Emma Fogarty



2019 Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Chardonnay (91 points)

Region: Hunter Valley

Distributed by: Tyrrell’s

“Typical stonefruit characters speaking of a warmer site. Good oak but a little short on finish.” – Michael Mcintosh



2019 St. Hugo Eden Valley Chardonnay (97 points)

Region: Eden Valley

Distributed by: Pernod Ricard

“Serious, oak driven, but not dominated nose. Oatmeal and white peach. Beautifully balanced cashew, stonefruit and vanilla. This is a gorgeous wine now destined for bigger things with time.” – Salvatore Margiotta



2017 Geoff Merrill Reserve Chardonnay (96 points)

Region: McLaren Vale and Coonawarra

Distributed by: Young & Rashleigh (NSW/ACT), The Wine Company (QLD), Options Craft Liquor Merchants (SA), Nelson Wine Co. (VIC), West Coast Wine Cellars (WA), Thomas Chin Pty Ltd (NT), DWS Tasmania (TAS)

“Fruit sweetness from oak. Acid cleans palate. Good structure. Good finish. Balanced, very good.” – Geoff Bollom



2019 Silkwood The Walcott Chardonnay (93 points)

Region: Pemberton WA

Distributed by: Single Vineyard Sellers

“Notes of butter and toast on the nose. Palate is light with nectarine and peach. A really enjoyable wine on its own!” – Emma Fogarty



2020 Bird in Hand Two in the Bush Chardonnay (93 points)

Region: Adelaide

Distributed by: Bird in Hand

“Restrained nose, hints of lemon pith and spicy oak. Lovely line and length on the palate. Well balanced with a bright fruit core of just ripe nectarine. Well made.” – Sharyn Foulis



2019 Stoneleigh Classic Chardonnay (89 points)

Region: Marlborough

Distributed by: Pernod Ricard

“Melon nose, clean, balanced use of acid and oak. Mid length finish.” – Nigel Burton

Editor’s Picks

  • Hardys Eileen Chardonnay 2017, Yarra Valley and Tasmania, LUC $49.39 (Accolade Wines)
  • De Bortoli The Estate Vineyard Chardonnay 2017, Yarra Valley, LUC $19.84 (De Bortoli)
  • Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2019, Hawke’s Bay, LUC $31.75 (Pernod Ricard)
  • Pepper Tree Cool Climates Chardonnay 2020, Orange and Wrattonbully, LUC $13.44 (Déjà Vu Wine Co.

Judges Comments

“Cheaper wines were very lean and short. There was noticeable increased enjoyment in the $25+ wine bracket.”  – Ed Peake, Key Account Manager, Treasury Wine Estates

“As always with Chardonnay, there was a huge variety of styles. I love diversity and can understand why Chardonnay can be daunting to the consumer.”  – Mark Bradstreet, Key Account Manager, Joval Wine Group

“If white Burgundy nets the highest benchmark, I am excited by how so many Australian wines are successfully emulating Burgundy style.” – Nigel Burton, CEO, Burton Premium Wines

Food Pairing

  • “It’s versatile, anything from fresh seafood to fatty pork.” – Michael Mcintosh
  • “It may be predictable but roast chicken accompanied by maple glazes parsnips and duck fat potatoes is hard to beat.” – Salvatore Margiotta
  • “Popcorn! Or pasta, pork, chicken or risotto.” – Emma Fogarty
  • “Pork and creamy pasta dishes.” – Geoff Bollom


The Panel

  • Geoff Bollom, Retailer, Fennell Bay Cellars
  • Michael Mcintosh, Fine Wine Brand Ambassador, Accolade Wines
  • Emma Fogarty, Senior Brand Manager, SouthTrade International
  • Salvatore Margiotta, State Sales Manager NSW & ACT, Delegat Limited
  • Ed Peake, Key Account Manager, Treasury Wine Estates
  • Sharyn Foulis, Wine Consultant
  • Mark Bradstreet, Key Account Manager, Joval Wine Group
  • Nigel Burton, CEO, Burton Premium Wines

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tasting in our digital magazine, available here or below.


Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *