Value to be had among the lower-shelf Chardonnays

Sourcing the wines for today’s tasting gave me the chance to "get down", minus the "and boogie".I decided to take a look at a range of the cheapest wines at my local supermarket and set myself a budget of $10 a bottle.

It was a chance to "get down" pricewise and physically get on down as these wines were all tucked away on the very lowest shelf.

Two were from Australia, two supposedly Kiwi wines had Australian juice, while there was one Kiwi and one South African. Some were creditable, but I was reminded of the old adage: "you get what you pay for".


2020 Montana Winemaker’s Chardonnay


Price Promo $9.99
Rating Good

Attractive hints of
scotch, toast, citrus
and melon. The
palate is similar,
though more in the
stonefruit spectrum
with a supple
mouthfeel, a touch of
kernel and easy
drinking appeal.   The
stonefruit notes
could make this a
good crossover wine
for pinot gris
drinkers. Clean, fresh
and precisely what
you’d expect.


2021 Little Harvest South African Chardonnay


Price Promo $8.99
Rating Fair to Good

A sweeter note leads,
smoke, lanolin and
clotted cream. A
chalky, grainy feel to
the texture, a cooler
feel with a tanginess
alluding to citrus. Not
bounding out of the
glass with flavour, but
works as a lighter
style. Given that firm
chewiness, this might
be a good option with
food. Indicative of its


2021 Shingle Peak Chardonnay


Price Promo $8.99
Rating Very Good

A little melon  and
citrus, cream,
caramel, shy but
appealing. Surprising
fatness to the texture,
creamy, ripe fruit (a
little peach and
stonefruit), spice and
dry honey with a
touch of warmth and
even some length. All
credit to what they
have  got into the bottle
for the price; lots of
all-round appeal here. /shingle-peak


2020 Mill Road Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay


Price Promo $9.99
Rating Fair to Good

Aromas akin to
golden syrup/barley
sugar, cream cheese,
nectarine and apple.
Stonefruit & spice on
the light to medium-
weight palate, some
viscosity, a character
akin to licking iron and
wet stones with
chewiness more
evident on the close.
Firmness to this
suggesting it would
be better paired with
food rather than as an


2021 Jacob’s Creek Classic Chardonnay


Price Promo $8.99
Rating Very Good

Tiny hint of funk, butter
on burnt toast, tropical
fruit nuances,
appealing. At first, a
sweet ‘n’ sour feel, the
sweet fruit paired with
tangy citrus akin to
sour worms. This
opens up nicely with
aeration, building extra
body and flavour,
freshness here, which
is rather appealing.
Perhaps an oyster
shell-like saline note
too. A little chewiness
and performs well at
the price.


2020 Wolf Blass Eaglehawk Chardonnay


Price Promo $9.99
Rating Good to Very Good

The nose somewhat
nondescript, perhaps
melon, cream and
spice. The palate is
bolder with
butterscotch, ripe
banana, peach,
tropically fruited,
vanillan oak characters
to the fore. Some
creamy texture,  with
sweet butterscotch and
golden syrup becoming
more dominant. A
game of two halves, the
innocuous nose giving
way to a crowd-
pleasing palate.