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Wanted: Buttery Chardonnay for everyday drinking

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Need your best inexpensive buttery chard suggestions. TIA

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  1. Buttery chardonnay? Some posters here will cry out and insist on having you publicly flogged for asking for that!

    Anyway, here are some inexpensive ones that I like:

    Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve (about $7 - $8)
    Ch. Ste. Michelle Indian Wells ($8 - $11)

    Sorry about the witholding of particular vintages - but, so far any vintage is OK with me on a QPR scale.

    7 Replies
    1. re: RCC

      Is that so wrong? I don't like "crisp" chardonnays. Should I be drinking another type of grape in order to get buttery?

      1. re: nosey

        Drink what ever YOU like. DOn't worry about people pontificating here. If your style is heavily oaked buttery wines try J. Lohr should be about 10.00

        1. re: nosey

          Nothing wrong with it, afaic. Why else would I suggest some of the QPR buttery chardonnay that I drink?

          1. re: nosey

            No! You should drink what you enjoy. And while it is true that some people prefer "crisp" Chardonnays, there are also many people who prefer "buttery" Chardonnays.

            Generally speaking, look for California Chardonnays from the Central Coast-Edna Valley-Santa Barbara area, and one that has undergone malolactic fermentation.

            In addition to the KJ VR Chardonnay suggested above, keep an eye out for Chardonnays from Meridian, Edna Valley Vineyards, La Crema, and J.Lohr, among others.

          2. re: RCC

            "Some posters here will cry out and insist on having you publicly flogged for asking for that!"

            Yep, hand me a whip, please!

            1. re: collioure

              I like Ramey and Beringer Private Reserve.

          3. I'm with winemark - drink what you want and I think J Lohr Arroyo Seco @ $8 a bottle on sale here in SoCal is the best bargain around & easily compares with Chards in the high teens - $20 price range. I can't think of a single Chard under $15 that I would drink, other than J Lohr - they're all pretty nasty. For even bigger & butterier (?), their Arroyo Vista @ about $16 - 17 is excellent.

            In the low 20's, keep an eye out for Frank Family - made by one of the Rombauer brothers & a Frank partner - you'll love it!

            1 Reply
            1. re: torta basilica

              Is a buttery Chardonnay less acidic? My stomach has begun to rebel when I put ANY white wine in it, including a very good German Spatlese, Auslese, or Riesling! Aargh. Reds, no problem...

            2. I like La Crema (Sonoma County)

              3 Replies
                1. re: Moka

                  This made me want to try La Crema - now so do I! :-)

                2. I hate chardonnay and love the buttery chardonnay from Murphy-Goode.

                  If you google the name and the word buttery together you'll come up with some reviews attesting to it. Not horriby expensive, if I recall.

                  1. RCC I was not criticizing you but the torent of people who regularly beat up people for wanting oaky, buttery wines. Sorry for any misunderstanding

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Winemark

                      One doesn't require the other, though. I like butter sometimes; I never like oak. It happens.

                    2. It's been a few months since I had this, so don't remember if it was buttery - Bogle Chardonnay. It's about $8.00. But this one was buttery and pretty good - Chateau St. Jean. This summer it was one of their tasting room wines. (Not the expensive Reserve tasting, mind you. So should be reasonably priced I think.)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sweetTooth

                        I just found tasting notes that the winery provided and it turns out that it isn't very cheap. The exact name is Durell Vineyard Chardonnay 2003. Price: $25, club member price: $20. And the biggest bummer is that it is available for purchase at the winery only. Sorry! :(

                        I do see a Sonoma County 2004 Chardonnay listed here though - for $14. Cheap enough to try and see if it is buttery?

                      2. My BIL stopped in to Meridian a few days ago with SIL and a couple of cuzzes in tow, they all raved about the reserve chard, @24 at the winery, iirc. Since we all would rather put that amount toward a decent red (perhaps with the exception of Stony Hill's rendition), no white wine made it to the beach house for tasting.

                        1. ok..don't laugh..but the wine cube from Target (4 bottles for 15 in one box) is good...
                          I love it, and all my wine snobs endulge me by trying it and like it...it's buttery. (well as buttery as you can expect coming from a box) :)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Blakekitty

                            i have a suspicion that the wine in the cube will be a different wine entirely each time you buy a new cube.
                            the label may be the same, but the contents not likely to be the same.
                            think of the way two buck chuck or any of the other low-cost wines are made and marketed.

                          2. I don't think I'm into the oak, but like the buttery. Is it possible? We do like the Meridian, KJ. Love the Bogle Old Vine Zin. The Chateau St. Jean, I love at the local watering hole, but it never tastes the same at home (temp?). We'll try Murpy-Goode. La Crema was good. QPR? I guess I am a novice.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: nosey

                              HungryMojo is right, malolactic fermentation gives it the buttery taste. Also, I'm not sure if Chardonnay is produced "sur lie" but look for labels that say "sur lie". This production process leaves wines creamier.

                              A terrific butterscotch flavored Chardonnay is made by Pindar in North Fork, Long Island. Look for their Chardonnay Reserve 2001. About $12-$13.

                              1. I usually choose crisp wine but my favorite buttery Chardonnay is Clos Pegase. It also has a lot of oak though. Hess Collection is also very buttery.

                                1. I'm pretty sure what you're looking for is a Chardonnay that has gone through a "secondary malolactic fermentation." This process softens the acidity and supposedly makes the Chard "rounder, richer, and buttery." There's actually a Wikipedia article on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malolact...

                                  Most Chardonnays that I've seen will indicate on the bottle's back label whether or not it has gone through malolactic fermentation. You could also check the web page of any highly-rated Chardonnay and look for those words.

                                  Anyhoo, I tried Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay about four years ago and I thought it was great and buttery. Note that Columbia Crest sells several different Chardonnays and the one I recommend is called "Grand Estates." Here on the West Coast, it's available everywhere and is often on sale for 7-8 bucks. Here's its web page: http://columbia-crest.com/2003_Grand_...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: HungryMojo

                                    Yes, this converts malic acid to lactic acid. It's the lactic acid that makes it taste "buttery" or "creamy."

                                  2. The butteriest chardonnay I've ever had is from BuenaVista. Hard to find, but keep the name filed away in case you ever come across it.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Pei

                                      Trader Joe's carries it... if they don't currently have it at your neighborhood TJ, they will stock it if you ask for it.

                                      1. re: Pei

                                        Buena Vista Carneros is the wine that started me enjoying buttery chardonnay. I still enjoy it, and it is available at Costco. The last time they marked it down to $11.99' so I picked up two cases.

                                      2. I dont know how inexspenisve his wines are but I would try a central coast chard - like Morgan or Melville (probably in the $15 range)...they are rich and buttery without being too over the top - still maintain some acidity to go withs ome food.

                                        I also like Talley which I can get for about $19.00...

                                        There always Rombauer...

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: JonInLA

                                          As you say,Morgan Chardonnay is rich, but balanced. Their Monterey Chardonnay begins at just under $20 and is very nice. For a splurge,their Rosella's Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay (OMG, wonderful stuff) is about $35 and their newest Hat Trick Double L vineyard SLH Chardonnay sells from $50-$65, depending on the vintage. Wouldn't mind a sip of that sometime!

                                          1. re: Moka

                                            I was at a wine tasting dinner at the Thorn Hill Inn in NH featuring only Morgan wines. Their representative saud that their wines atr made in steel vats and do not undergo malolactic fermentation.

                                            1. re: pof

                                              Sounds like a nice event, but actually, the three Morgan chardonnays that I mentioned are all barrel fermented and underwent malo-lactic fermentation. It was a pleasure to do a little research on the specifics for you:

                                              '03 Monterey Chardonnay: Barrel fermented using 25% new French oak -- did undergo malo-lactic fermentation.

                                              '03 Rosella's Vineyard SLH Chardonnay: 100% barrel fermented in 30% new Burgundy barrels using Montrachet yeasts, 6-week malo-lactic fermentation.

                                              '03 Hat Trick Double L Chardonnay: 100% barrel fermented using Montrachet yeasts. 6 week malo-lactic.

                                              That said, their Metallico Chardonnay is a crisp, leaner style that is cold-tank fermented, then racked to 3 year old barrels. It does not undergo malo-lactic.

                                              The pinot gris is also tank fermented, then racked into 3 year old French oak barrels.

                                              Sauvignon blanc: 50% of the wine was barrel fermented in Bordeaux barrels, the other half was cold fermented in stainless steel tanks.

                                              For more info:


                                          2. re: JonInLA

                                            There are lots of good values out there for buttery, maybe a little oakey typeChardonnay but in my opion Rombauer while not the cheapest is still the best.

                                          3. For excellent value, I recommend the Wyndham Estate Bin 222 Chardonnay from Australia.

                                            A true indulgence would be the Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay from Napa.

                                            1. The Wall Street Joural wine columnists did a piece on "buttery chardonay" a few months ago. If you have access to the online journal, you may be able to find the article and their recommendations.

                                              Does "buttery" mean the same thing as "big/vanilla/toast"? I used to enjoy Chard back in '93-'95 and those are descriptions I remember hearing. I don't find many Chards I like anymore.

                                              14 Replies
                                              1. re: danna

                                                Buttery typically comes from malolactic fermentation, as described above. Vanilla/toast usually comes from oak. Those two winemaking processes are almost always used in tandem, so just about any buttery chardonnay will also have some vanilla and toast from oak.

                                                1. re: nja

                                                  I wish it was that simple, that malolactic fermentation gives Chardonnay its buttery flavor. Green apples can come from malolactic fermentation, too. A good example is Storrs. They say on their Web site that 70 percent of their wine gets malolactic fermentation.
                                                  Buy a bottle and taste it.
                                                  Green apples, yes. Butter, no.

                                                  1. re: SteveTimko

                                                    Green apple flavors are typically more representative of the Malic acid. Perhpas Stoors starts wtih incredibly acidic grapes and even though 70% of the wine goes through ML it retains a green apple taste.

                                                    1. re: Winemark

                                                      Malic acid is named for apples; it's from the Latin malum, meaning apple. It's "apple acid". Lactic acid is milk acid, Latin lac = milk, which accounts for the "cream" and "butter" impressions.

                                                      1. re: fnarf

                                                        Thanks, if it is not apparent I know that.

                                                        1. re: fnarf

                                                          Lactic acid does feel more creamy than sharper malic acid. But creaminess in texture is often the result of lees stirring (aka battonage) as well, a common practice for certain styles of chardonnay. Lactic acid does not taste like butter. The buttery component comes the diacetyl that is a byproduct of malolactic fermentation. Some strains of ML bacteria produce more diacetyl and others less, and the winemaker will select accordingly depending on the style of wine she is trying to achieve.

                                                        2. re: Winemark

                                                          If you're more familiar with East Coast fruit, Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat once described Calif. Central Coast (which includes the Santa Cruz Mountains) chardonnays as Long Island chard on steroids, referring to the blazing acidity cloaked with ripe, rich golden fruit.

                                                        3. re: SteveTimko

                                                          I can't account for the lack of butter aromas you report, though I find it hard to believe that if/when I taste the wine I wouldn't detect the lactic acids from the 70% that has undergone malolactic fermentation. However, the green apples you are getting is from the 30% of the wine that didn't go through malolactic, because in that portion the malic acid (common in green apples) is still present. Perhaps the particular blend by Storrs pushes the apple to the front and makes the lactic hard to detect. A Chardonnay that had no malolactic fermentation (rare in CA, common in Chablis) will be full of green apple aromas.

                                                          1. re: nja

                                                            How would you account for my spelling errors last evening? Sorry

                                                            1. re: nja

                                                              Bear in mind that Santa Cruz Mountain chardonnay fruit has very high acidity, more than some areas in Burgundy. And even when they're tarted up with all ML, battonage, new oak, the overall balance can still seem pretty shrill when they're young.

                                                            2. re: SteveTimko

                                                              Okay, I got the low down on malolactic fermenation. I got to spend almost 3 hours with the Varner brothers. This is what I found out.
                                                              Chardonnay can undergo full malolactic fermenation and still not have a buttery flavor. The grapes can have a lot of acidity and the malolactic fermentation is used only to reduce the acidity. This is what happens in Burgundy. The typical white Burgundy undergoes malolactic fermenation. Secondarily, malolactic fermentation can be used to change the flavor. It's different from the technique used on acidity. There's a difference in when it starts and stops and what kind of yeast you use. This can also add the buttery flavor.
                                                              At any rate, all three of the Varner chardonnays go through 100 percent malolactic fermentation. None would be described as being very buttery.
                                                              Their 2002 Varner Amphitheater fooled a reasonably sophisticated group of tasters who thought it was White Burgundy. It is 100 percent malolactic fermentation.
                                                              (I was probably the least talented taster, by the way).

                                                              1. re: SteveTimko

                                                                Hmmm. On the whole would you say white burgundy tends more toward buttery than chardonnay, then? (I tend to like white burgundy and dislike chardonnay intensely - except for a couple of the more buttery ones.)

                                                                1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                  White Burgundy is either chardonnay or aligote (okay there's some rare white pinot noir). White Burgundy is absolutely not buttery.

                                                                  1. re: SteveTimko

                                                                    Some white Burgundy can be quite buttery. Meursault in particular.

                                                                    Edited to add: Other white grapes permitted in some Burgundy appellations are sauvignon (blanc), pinot blanc, pinot beurot (gris), and sacy.

                                                        4. Ah, a malolactic fan, eh?! I've found Cambria "Katherine's Vineyard" to be consistently buttery, although it's fallen off a little in the past few years. Very common in the Bay Area Safeways. You should be able to get it for about $15-17

                                                          1. When I was in my "buttery" phase, Chateau Ste. Michelle was the butteriest I found. Strong notes of Fiddle Faddle :-).

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. Butterfield Station chard, $4.99 with club card at BevMo. And you can now get the second bottle for 5 cents.

                                                              1. Jessie's Grove out of Lodi, California has a Chardonnay that's under $15 that is buttery. I'm not sure about how available it is nationwide. You could try their website: http://www.jgwinery.com/ It's $14.85 ...a big buttery Chardonnay.


                                                                1. Unfortunately, our TJ does not have wine. Maryland laws.

                                                                  1. Thanks for all of the great suggestions. Sorry if I offended anyone. We do like the Meridian Chard for our everyday.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: nosey

                                                                      How could you have offended anyone? It is just opinion and a bit of debate. Please continue to drink the wines you like, it matters little what we think or like, just what you like.

                                                                    2. I like buttery chardonnay as a cocktail, but some famous wine writer who I can't remember suggests a "crisp" chardonnay is better with most food, especially fish. I agree.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: JimH

                                                                        Where I understand where the poster is coming from (desiring big buttery wines) I whole heartedly agree with you about wine with food. For me the wine should, instead of being a stand-alone beverage experience, act almost like a condiment for whatever one is eating.

                                                                      2. The "Oxhoft" from the Braunstein winery. I think it's around $15 a bottle. Very good.

                                                                        1. The 95 Chalone comes to mind....

                                                                          1. Chardonnay is an extremely VINTAGE-SPECIFIC grape. In poor years all of it is lean and vapid...

                                                                            Check your vintage charts then seek out LUSCIOUS VINTAGES where there's abundant fruit in the wine. Good "Butter" starts with a particularly luscious vintage, IMO.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Chicago Mike

                                                                              Great discussion, some outstanding wines mentioned J Lohr can be found at 8-9$ a bottle on sale. Kendall Jackson vinters reserve ~10-11$. KJ also makes a grand reserve, ~13-14$. For special occasions my all time favorite chard is rombauer, which can run between 20 and 30$. If you try it, you might be tempted to drink less, savoring every sip. Big time butter, vanilla....complicated textured wine.

                                                                              1. re: USCMD

                                                                                i think you might be happy with Trinitas Chardonnay.
                                                                                right now, LA wine company has the 2008 in stock.

                                                                            2. There is nothing wrong with wanting a "buttery" Chard. I enjoy well-crafted versions, along with some very austere examples of Chard.

                                                                              For me, the ultimates are"

                                                                              Mer Soliel
                                                                              Shafer Redshoulders Ranch
                                                                              Hafner Reserve

                                                                              Nothing wrong with wanting that style of Chard.



                                                                              Wow - did not realize that this was a "zombie thread" from '06. Still, the recs. remain.

                                                                              1. My favorite is Franciscan Estate Napa Valley 2008 runs between 12-15 bucks depending where you buy it. I say, try it and you will never look back :) I love buttery Chardonnay!!! When I am not testing reds of course......

                                                                                1. I have aged Stony Hill Estate Chard and Sonoma-Cutrer for smooth, buttery goodness. They are nicely balanced with little oak- therefore taste like a white Burg in 5 to 10 years. The Stony Hill Estate is especially good and can age the longest. I like a buttery chard with cheese, pears and grapes. I also like it with a big dinner salad and a French baguette. Yum. Nothing wrong with that!

                                                                                  1. kinda fun to see this thread juxtaposed to the thread on less oak in Kistler Chards...

                                                                                    1. Although descriptions of this wine vary depending on who is writing it, I think it is always worth giving a try to Pouilly-Fuissé, Louis Jadot or Louis Latour. Not an everyday wine at anywhere from $17 - $25. It is made solely from chardonnay grapes.
                                                                                      For everyday drinking, yes the KJ is ok. I've been ok with Turning Leaf, reserve if you can get it, or even Yellow Tail. They're nothing fancy but at least are not super lemony (acidic). I used to like Anapamu also, but can't seem to find it as easily where I live.

                                                                                      My special occasion chard is $70 per bottle and difficult to find. We often buy a half case every other year and save it for birthdays and holidays: Pahlmeyer (mmm). Their Jayson is do-able but not my preference. Also I would drool over a bottle of Far Niente.

                                                                                      There are a lot of good suggestions in this thread and I have written some down to add to my shopping list. But I have a big bottle of Turning Leaf in the fridge downstairs for my non-special days. It will do, especially when you're on a budget.

                                                                                      43 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: luganrn

                                                                                        There are a lot of good suggestions in this thread and I have written some down to add to my shopping list.
                                                                                        just take note that prices and availability may have changed since nearly all of those suggestions were made way back in 2006 ;)

                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                          I am very aware of the price issue. Thanks for thinking of my wallet.

                                                                                          1. re: luganrn

                                                                                            just lookin' out for you. every once in a while an old thread gets resurrected like this and an unsuspecting Chowhound ends up embarking on a wild goose chase for something...or experiencing sticker shock when they find it.

                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                              No I have read the dates of the posts and realized that not only the prices most assuredly have changed but also the wines' characteristics might have changed. I have lost many loves (of wines) due to the passage of time. :(

                                                                                        2. re: luganrn

                                                                                          Have you ever had a Pouily-Fuissé that you would describe as "buttery"?

                                                                                          1. re: zin1953

                                                                                            I would have to have some again to really say. But I don't remember it as particularly acid. Pouilly-Fuissé is a dry white wine made from Chardonnay. It is pale and refreshing, often quite delicate, and often shows a clear oak influence. The main characteristics in this wine are described as being slightly creamy and buttery, with full and crisp fruit flavors. The finish on this wine is long and lingers on the palate.

                                                                                            That is how I remember finding it to be. Buy me some and I'll let you know for sure. :)

                                                                                            1. re: luganrn

                                                                                              While many do sing the praises of Pouilly-Fuissé, I keep asking myself - why?

                                                                                              With so many great FR Chards, out there, I have yet to find one that does anything for me, and "butter" is not a characteristic, that I have ever found.


                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                If you age a nice Pouilly-Fuisse for 25 years, it is very buttery, becomes more complex and deepens in color to yellow. They develop a pleasant mineraly, smooth, buttery taste that goes well with light foods. Otherwise, it is extremely mild mannered and (even the nice ones) can taste like flavored water.

                                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                  I read at least 5 years aging. I like it without food. Or maybe just a light cheese. I'll drink something else if I am dining. If anything at all. When eating I usually drink only to cleanse the palate, so water is fine. I am no connoisseur of anything -- just my own desires.

                                                                                                  1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                    But truly buttery?? Not creaminess from battonage?

                                                                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                      I understood that butteriness/creaminess comes from the malolactic fermentation and that battonage and aging sur lie are responsible for the yeastiness/toastiness/oakiness qualities.

                                                                                                      1. re: luganrn

                                                                                                        You are correct luganrn. Many people don't try to age Chard because they value a different quality in the wine. If you like buttery...in bottle aging is how you will get exactly what you want.

                                                                                                      2. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                        Absolutely buttery. Not like a California aged chard buttery. CA Chards just have a heavier feel all around, so when they "butter up", they can be too buttery- and they can go too dark (light amber) then they go too far. They have a pear quality about them- no mineral. The lighter Pouilly-Fuisse never gets that dark or heavy in the mouth, but does go quite yellow and develops a buttery rich taste and is quite minerally. I aged vertical cases of Chateau Fuisse and the Vincent label (both) -along side Cutrer and Stony Hill through the 80's. I have some left but not much as I drink them yearly and stepped it up last year as they are about aged out.

                                                                                                      3. re: sedimental

                                                                                                        Which producers are your favorite for extending aging?

                                                                                                        So far, I have been underwhelmed, but keep an open mind.

                                                                                                        Thank you,


                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                          I like Chateau Fuisse (especially Tete de Cru). I also like Vincent (same family, diff label). I have not had a young Vincent recently though so I can't vouch for it now. All mine were from the 1980's. I have had a young Tete de Cru though and really, really liked it. It is a much "richer" tasting PF, not "watery" like some which is why it takes to aging for the long term.

                                                                                                          Those are the only PF's I have aged (in cases) past 10 years. I never sold any of them, I just played with them because I liked them and they were so darn inexpensive. I have aged other ones at various intervals but I couldn't tell you what they were now. I have been disappointed with other ones because they have grown flat instead of developing into something more. Hence, sticking with the same Chateau.

                                                                                                          *disclaimer, I do not work for Chateau Fuisse! LOL

                                                                                                      4. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                        I don't think it's a matter of "singing the praises" of Pouilly-Fuissé in and of itself. After all, although it is a superior commune within the Mâconnais, it IS still in the Mâcon, not the Côte d'Or.

                                                                                                        Just for the historical accuracy, Pouily-Fuissé was popular in the US after World War II because it was easier to pronounce than "Puligny-Montrachet," and it was less expensive ($3.99 in the 1960s). Wines like Macon-Villages didn't come into the US in significant quantity until Pouilly-Fuissé got expensive (around $6.99 or so) -- then Mâcon-Villages came in at $3.99 . . .

                                                                                                        That said, while I've found a number of white Burgundies that are oaky (unfortunately), and a number that are creamy (as Maria Lorraine pointed out, from aging sur lie and bâtonnage), I have never found any where "buttery" comes to mind as a descriptor.

                                                                                                        1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                          Try this one:
                                                                                                          The butter comes out more with bottle aging. It is very, very pronounced at 20 years. It is unlikely you have tasted many that were aged this long unless you aged it yourself. Then you need to age the right Pouilly-Fuisse, as I said, I aged this one and Vincent specifically for the buttery richness to develop. At 25 years they were stellar.

                                                                                                          1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                            That one makes my mouth water wanting to have some. Looking for a better price (with shipping) I found a 2007 that is reasonable. Hopefully a different year won't be that much different in taste also.

                                                                                                            Oops! It's sold out.

                                                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                              I've had several bottles from Vincent and from Château-Fuissé over the years, and they are excellent producers. On the other hand, since "buttery" is not a quality I treasure in Chardonnay . . . .


                                                                                                              1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                Yes, that is why I buy in cases. Then I get to have them young too. They are quite different when aged.There are not too many wines I don't like!

                                                                                                              2. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                <The butter comes out more with bottle aging. It is very, very pronounced at 20 years.>

                                                                                                                I don't think "buttery" is technically correct as a descriptor (implying New World lactobacilli strains), but to each his own. I'm wondering if the flavor you describe as buttery is actually battonage plus a small amount of oxidation.

                                                                                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                  I still believe 'buttery' comes from MLF and not battonage.

                                                                                                                  1. re: luganrn

                                                                                                                    No disagreement, if you read my posts. To be specific...

                                                                                                                    A malolactic fermentation produces the flavor of butter, and the molecule responsible for the butter taste: diacetyl acetate. Battonage/sur lie aging produces a creamy, dairy roundness. The two flavors are easily confused.

                                                                                                                    Moreover, the malolactic fermentations in Europe are quite different from those here in America. European malolactic flavors are rarely buttery, in contrast to those here in the US, because different strains of lactobacilli are used to convert the malic acid into lactic acid.

                                                                                                                    In a French chardonnay, add up the effects of creamy dairy flavors from battonage, the effects of oak lactones that create a round voluptuous mouthfeel, slight oxidation from many years of aging, and I can easily see how the result may resemble butteriness, but wouldn't chemically be butteriness (the molecule diacetyl acetate).

                                                                                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                      Sorry. I lump together buttery, creamy, dairy, even silky, vanilla and butterscotch with milk, which to me is lactic acid. Oakey, yeasty, and toasty go together with battonage. Perhaps we are referring to different sources that aim to confuse us all.

                                                                                                                      1. re: luganrn

                                                                                                                        There's a lot of subtle differentiation in the articulation of wine flavors.

                                                                                                                        Take these words: toast, toasty, bready. They are all different things and have different chemical origins.

                                                                                                                        Battonage/sue lie aging/autolysis yields creamy, yeasty, brioche, biscuit and toast flavors.

                                                                                                                        But a bready flavor, in Champagne, comes from aging after dosage and is not yeast-related.

                                                                                                                        A toasty flavor comes from oak barrels, specifically from fire-toasting the oak wood on the inside of the barrel. Oak barrels also impart oaky, vanilla, cinnamon, clove and caramel flavors as well as textural additions like good mouthfeel/silkiness.

                                                                                                                        Just like toast, toasty and bready are not the same thing, creamy and buttery are not either. Creamy has yeast autolysis as its origin; buttery has diacetyl as its origin.

                                                                                                                        Caramel and butterscotch are also confused. Caramel comes from oak barrels (it's a Maillard reaction -- like caramelization -- again from toasting the wood) or ethyl alcohol (which tastes like caramel and butterscotch all by itself).

                                                                                                                        Butterscotch can be aggressive malolactic fermenation, but in my experience it's usually ethyl alcohol combined with the flavors of ripe/overripe Chardonnay (tropical fruit, pineapple upside-down cake and golden delicious apple flavors) plus some residual sugar. (Caramel from oak, too.) Or, it's a combo of all five sources.

                                                                                                                        1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                          I have never given much thought about the science behind it, but that might be why the CA Chards are more buttery from the get -go and they have a "thicker" butter flavor when aged. When the CA Chards are over-aged..they get very clearly butterscotch and unpleasant. When the PF over-ages..they don't, they just taste oxidized and mineraly.

                                                                                                                            1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                              +2. Not trying to be douchey, but PF is of the last Chards I'd describe as buttery.

                                                                                                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                That has been my impression, as well, and even with some years, though not 25+. In very general terms (and at the risk of eliminating some producers who have a very different vision), I find most PF as a Chard, that thinks it's a SB.

                                                                                                                                However, I am always ready to learn.

                                                                                                                                OTOH, the cellar is nearly full of various Meursaults, Montrachets and Cortons, so I do not have space to put down a dozen cases of PF, and then revisit them in 2036.



                                                                                                            2. re: luganrn

                                                                                                              FWIW, I cannot think of any Pouilly-Fuissé I've ever had that I'd describe as "buttery," regardless of ML . . . and I've tasted a great many, and visited a number of producers over the past 40 years.

                                                                                                              1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                If you all would reread an earlier post of mine, I wrote "slightly creamy and buttery, with full and crisp fruit flavors".
                                                                                                                Accent on the word "slightly".

                                                                                                                I am new to chowhound and thought this was a forum for non-professionals. I do not enjoy all the uponesmanship I seem to be experiencing. How many of you here are actual vintners?

                                                                                                                1. re: luganrn

                                                                                                                  I can only speak for myself, but 1) I've yet to see any "one-upsmanship" in this thread; and 2) while I once made wine as part of a science lab in college (UCSC), I am not now nor have I ever been a vintner.

                                                                                                                  1. re: luganrn

                                                                                                                    Like zin1953, I can only speak for myself... but I thought the above conversation was an elucidation – rather than one-upsmanship -- of what was truly buttery and what was creamy. Obviously, many people confuse the two (not just on Chowhound), and the discussion was to point out the differences between these two distinct flavors so that the wine being discussed could be accurately described. The articulation of wine flavors often goes like this. There are many wine professionals on this board as well as non-professionals. Some of us make wine; some of us teach wine classes (or used to), some are involved in wine chemistry, others are in the importing-exporting business or retail wine business. There are certified sommeliers, wine stewards, and restaurateurs who contribute here. The non-pros range from gifted amateurs with world palates to those with only a passing interest in wine or who know nothing about wine but want to serve the right thing. Everyone’s thoughts and questions are welcome. We all learn from each other.

                                                                                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                      And us nonprofessionals truly appreciate the contributions provided by you, Jason, and many others.

                                                                                                                      1. re: PolarBear

                                                                                                                        I heartly agree these Chardonnay threads have all been extremely helpful. Thank you to all who posted.

                                                                                                                    2. re: luganrn

                                                                                                                      In this thread, I believe that everyone has been trying to give you what you have asked for. Within the stated criteria, many could have named 500 Chards, but most have tried to offer suggestions, based on the criteria.

                                                                                                                      I apologize if I was unable to fulfill those stated criteria, and will now divorce myself from this thread.

                                                                                                                      Good luck,


                                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                        i had no problem with you Mr Hunt. Why is everyone suddenly becoming hostile, and some even bringing in reinforcements that weren't even in this thread to support themselves? I didn't ask for anything. I just tried to defend myself when something I said was questioned.

                                                                                                                        1. re: luganrn

                                                                                                                          Perhaps it's you, and not us . . . OR perhaps it's us and not you. Tone-of-voice is notoriously difficult to ascertain in online discussions such as this, and it's the biggest source of misunderstandings.

                                                                                                                          But I would respectfully suggest that, with phrases like "some even bringing in reinforcements" (I have NO idea what you're talking about, but it sounds rather aggressive) and "(w)hy is everyone suddenly becoming hostile" (when I haven't seen/read any hostility in this tread), I think that perhaps it might be time to relax. You know, it's one thing to say/ask, for example, "Wow! Some of these responses seem rather technical; how many people here are actually wine professionals?" But it's quite another to say/ask/accuse, "(I) thought this was a forum for non-professionals. I do not enjoy all the uponesmanship (sic) I seem to be experiencing. How many of you here are actual vintners?" Or perhaps the problem is that you "just tried to defend myself when something I said was questioned," when NO DEFENSE was necessary or needed, because there was no attack . . .

                                                                                                                          The bottom line, luganrn, is that there are people of ALL levels of experience and all sorts of backgrounds on all the boards here -- and that, for me, is one of the strengths of this site.

                                                                                                                          Having said that, I shall join Bill in divorcing myself from this thread any further, save for wishing you a life filled with enjoyable wines.


                                                                                                                2. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                  Oops, did not see your post. That was my thinking exactly!


                                                                                                                  1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                    I haven't had a Pouilly Fuisse I would call "buttery." You'd need to get into the older Montrachets to find anything like that, and even then, "buttery" is not generally a characteristic of French chardonnays.

                                                                                                                  2. re: luganrn

                                                                                                                    Just my palate, but I find Pouilly-Fuissé to be one of the weaker regions of French Chards, though both mentioned négociants are respected. I also find little "butter" in the wines from Pouilly-Fuissé. Maybe I just like a bit more body and character in my FR Chard? To me, most Pouilly-Fuissés are Chards, that think they are weak Sauvignon Blancs.

                                                                                                                    Never had the Pahlmeyer whites - only their reds. I'll keep an eye out for them.


                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                      We usually order Pahlmeyer from their website, but I have seen it on Liquorama.net also.
                                                                                                                      BTW...a piece of trivia: Demi Moore tried to seduce Michael Douglas in the film 'Disclosure' with a bottle of '91 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay.

                                                                                                                  3. 'Far Niente'......rec. a bottle as a gift a few years ago.....served it with steamed lobster.
                                                                                                                    That's all! Just the lobster and this amazing buttery chard! But I don't think it's inexpensive?

                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: grangie angie

                                                                                                                      It's expensive. Read more here:

                                                                                                                      Buttery Chardonnays

                                                                                                                      California Whites Made in an Old World Style

                                                                                                                      1. re: grangie angie

                                                                                                                        Far Niente is one of my expensive picks. Great with seafood even though you would think a lemony acidic wine would be better. I prefer the buttery kind.
                                                                                                                        I had crab claws and shrimp dishes tonite and had clarified butter with preserved lemons mixed into it, and wish I so had a bottle of Far Niente or Pahlmeyer with it. I had cheap ole Turning Leaf which was fine while eating, but got boring afterward. For a cheapy wine. Wish I had FN or Pahlmeyer. I would have finished the bottle. Happy Easter.

                                                                                                                        1. re: luganrn

                                                                                                                          See, here is a great one : http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku...
                                                                                                                          19.99! Such a deal. If you look around luganrn you can find affordable ones to buy now and lay down, that won't cost you an arm and a leg.

                                                                                                                          I think most would describe many of these as buttery (and indeed they do!) - but not as buttery as an US Chard...but most FR wines are rarely as bold as US wines. The descriptive word is still buttery though, I am not sure what the point is to debating the word "butter" is...? Most folks know what butter tastes like, it is a matter of degree and subtly. I have found when it is described as "buttery" by professional reviewers- it tends to be buttery. YMMV.

                                                                                                                          MY point is that aging tends to bring out the backnotes of a wine- in this case, a butteriness quality, which is a good thing, if you like that in a wine. PF is a cheap wine, you can easily afford to buy some that you like and lay down some bottles to play with. When you choose to lay down some with the characteristics of butteriness, then you can have what tastes a much richer wine, for a fraction of the price.

                                                                                                                          The other one I posted upthread was selling for 39 bucks! That is a great deal. You just need to look at each vintage year and lay down the ones that have the "richer" notes (butter, caramel, honey, vanilla). Obviously, they don't all taste the same, but half the fun is in the exploration.

                                                                                                                          I am sorry that you are experiencing some negativity here, I hope it wasn't me. I am not a vintner. I am just a rabid collector :) I love to encourage people to try some old school long term collecting- because it is a real dying hobby. It doesn't have to be snotty or expensive. I think that is why I jumped on the chance to talk about laying down PF. It is really affordable and you can easily play with getting just the right qualities you want- so it's fun!


                                                                                                                          1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                            I noticed no negativity from you sedimental. I have enjoyed your posts and find them educational without being lecturing. I have shopped klwines before and in fact receive their newsletter. I also looked at this same wine but noticed it is waiting list only. So I went to winelegend and just got some Louis Latour which I hope I won't be disappointed in.
                                                                                                                            Of course I do like a real buttery chardonnay when I can get one. I keep my eyes open for that all the time, but like the OP I too am looking for a less expensive one. But when I do splurge (as we often do) the sky's the limit! (Low ceiling.)
                                                                                                                            I just want to remind everyone, when I first brought up PF, it was just as a BTW give this a try. I never described it as extremely buttery, but just slightly on the buttery side. I remember liking it although I don't have it too often. My husband seems to prefer reds for daily drinking although he will always delight in sharing a nice white with me. God I even got into cheap plum wine to go with Chinese food. As long as it's light, crisp and very cold. THAT's definitely NOT buttery.

                                                                                                                        2. re: grangie angie

                                                                                                                          Of the US Chards, it is definitely one, that I would consider with lobster, in a plain prep.

                                                                                                                          I just do not think that the OP could ever find it at the specified price point.

                                                                                                                          I have a dozen years (now down to about 2 - 4 bottles per year) of this wine, and love it. It's great upon release, with some bright fruit, and then gains some wonderful nuances, with age. Not sure how things will progress, with Mr. Gil Nickel's (the elder uncle) death.


                                                                                                                          1. re: grangie angie

                                                                                                                            Palate variation is a strange thing. I'd never describe Far Niente as buttery/creamy. I don't believe it sees any malo? I find it to be of the leaner style myself.
                                                                                                                            Can anyone confirm?

                                                                                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                              Far Niente has never used malolactic in their Chardonnay. I've been a friend of the winery for 16 years. I provided a link to a post above about their superior fruit and new French oak, but no ML.

                                                                                                                          2. Any buttery Ca. chards that are drinkable now for under $15? As far under as possible :).

                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: sparkareno

                                                                                                                              I really wish I knew sparkareno. J.Lohr is probably close to the $15 mark, but can probably be found on sale, or at least case price discounts. If you are in a larger metropolitan area you probably have much better luck finding deals. If you have to order on line, then you have to deal with shipping charges. Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells also runs right up there. They have cheaper ones but they are not as buttery but maybe worth a try at just under $10. Other interesting wines to try: Spellbound Chardonnay, Kendall Jackson Reserve, Columbia Crest Grand Estates Columbia Valley.

                                                                                                                              1. re: luganrn

                                                                                                                                Thanks--I live in Los Angeles so everything is easy to find.

                                                                                                                                1. re: sparkareno

                                                                                                                                  Rombauer is my fave, but it's about $31 a bottle.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: phoenixfoodie

                                                                                                                                    I'd love to try Rombauer myself but will wait for a nicer occasion, not really special like my Pahlmeyer days. I just got a J.Lohr to try we put in the fridge to chill to wait for an appropriate time to pull that out. Like tomorrow when we get our new 3D plasma monitor.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: luganrn

                                                                                                                                      At around the price-point, the J Lohr Riverstone pretty much fills the bill. To me, it tastes a tad "contrived" and "manipulated," but then, for the $, is quite OK.

                                                                                                                                      Had an acceptable Chard from Napa Cellars. It was an event, and the house white at that resort. Even in their event glassware, not bad. Did not see any vineyard info, but also did not have my reading glasses on.

                                                                                                                                      In very general terms, I normally go up the price-scale a bit, but as my wife still likes Cal Chard, we do try several around the house. Most just go past my notice, but then a few have made an impression.

                                                                                                                                      I tend to head towards a full-bodied FR Chard, but then my tastes do not let me do that every night... though I might want to.

                                                                                                                                      Good luck,


                                                                                                                              2. re: sparkareno

                                                                                                                                Blue Fin at Trader Joes
                                                                                                                                Smoking Loon

                                                                                                                              3. This is a great five years of posts and most are named. I might add Toad Hollow and Toasted Head to the everyday list and, for special occasions, I also believe that most of the buttery, oaky crowd -- which includes me -- would very much enjoy Far Niente, which was also mentioned, as well as Cakebread. Challone has changed quite a lot over the years and may no longer appeal. At the other end, for a summer picnic jug, Estrella might fit the bill for many.

                                                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: siwanoy

                                                                                                                                  Seems the majority of the recommendations on this thread are for CA vineyards. If you had to name your top 5 from around the world (irrespective of cost...$20 or $200) what would they be and why? Whether they are Chards or Sauv. Blancs. From the Chablis Grand Cru appellation. Buttery/oaky or dry. Etc.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: BDD888

                                                                                                                                    CA tends to make some of the world's creamiest, butteriest, oakiest chards. In general, they're not as popular in the rest of the world. Chablis, as you mentioned, for example, uses far, far, far less intense new oak/malo and produces leaner wines.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                      It's all about personal taste in the end. One group prefers butter/oak chards. The other "Bruts". I was just curious to know what white wines or Chards Chowhounds preferred from Europe. Or other parts of the world in addition to Cali.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: BDD888

                                                                                                                                        Australia has tried to duplicate the buttery Cal chards, but I really haven't found one as good as even the everyday best. I'd like to know if others have. As to the rest of the world white's, Cloudy Bay is the best sauvignon blanc I have every had or ever need to have. Virtually any French white Burgundy is from God, with some Deity-directed help from the French. Despite all the corporate consolidations, the Jadot label is still to me the sign of good quality. I've never had a clunker. Finally, Sancerre is great fun because nearly every bottle is different, and in a good way. I'd be interested in everyone else's take.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: BDD888

                                                                                                                                          If you can visit me with a case of well-stored Le Montrachet, you are always welcome, and you room will be ready... [Grin%5


                                                                                                                                          PS - if it's a Corton-Charlemagne for a great producer, you are still welcome, but you will get the "pool-side" room with the queen bed, not the "wine-cellar" room with the king.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: BDD888

                                                                                                                                        I like Chard the best, buttery and oakey, if price were no object, it would be Cakebread, Far Niente and Stags Leap, but alas, price matters and Bogle Chard is my current favorite.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: EllenLV

                                                                                                                                          I'm assuming you meant "Stags Leap"? http://stagsleap.com/index.cfm) & not "Stag's Leap"? :) As they are different. I heard there was a court case making one add the apostrophe. Or something to that affect.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: BDD888

                                                                                                                                            You are thinking of the dispute between Warren Winiarski's "Stag-apostrophe-S Leap Wine Cellars," and Carl Dumani's "Stag-S-apostrosphe Leap Winery."

                                                                                                                                            1. re: BDD888

                                                                                                                                              I actually meant Stags' Leap! Thanks for the primer. :-)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: EllenLV

                                                                                                                                                No problem. Just wondered. I've been meaning to pick up a bottle of Chard from either "stags leap". :) Maybe I'll try both. :)

                                                                                                                                          2. re: BDD888

                                                                                                                                            Not trying to be difficult, but in a thread entitled, "Wanted: Buttery Chardonnay for everyday drinking," a) there are certain price points to be considered (unless you actually think $2

                                                                                                                                            2Fbtl. is for everyday drinking), and b) wouldn't Sauvignon Blanc also be off-topic?

                                                                                                                                            You will get better (and more) responses if you started your own thread.

                                                                                                                                            dditionally, it's very difficult to name buttery French white Burgundies, or buttery Sauvignon Blancs . . .

                                                                                                                                            While there are, of course, exceptions, California Chardonnay epitomizes "butter" -- or rather, diacetyl.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: BDD888

                                                                                                                                              For almost all Chablis 1er Cru (that I have ever tasted), "butter" would not be in the taste profile. Because of the clones, the climate and the normal vintification, minerals, and lighter fruit are normally associated with them, even with some age.

                                                                                                                                              Now, some of the Montrachets, and the Cortons do have some elements of "butter," but I find it at a secondary level.

                                                                                                                                              For "big butter," I think Cal-Chard, as even the PNW Chards are usually more Burgundian in style.

                                                                                                                                              Now, I have found some "butter" in a few Le Montrachets, with some age, but no where near the price point that the OP mentioned.

                                                                                                                                              If one has not fully explored the world of white Burgs, they really should treat themselves. Some are great "sippers," but almost all are great with the right foods. When I am matching a Chard with food, I almost always start in Burgundy.



                                                                                                                                          3. We like Bogle Chardonnay, available at Costco. We also just discovered Cupcake, a buttery Chardonnay.

                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Barbwire65

                                                                                                                                              Gotta love these "bakery" type names. There's another good Chard called Cakebread. :) Which I have yet to try but heard good things about it.


                                                                                                                                              1. re: BDD888

                                                                                                                                                Jack Cakebread was a professional photographer, who learned his craft by training under legendary photographer Ansel Adams.

                                                                                                                                                As the story goes, back in 1972, he had accepted an assignment to shoot pictures in Napa Valley for a book, but the weather that day was miserable -- bad day for outdoor photography. He ended up putting a downpayment on a vineyard and winery just outside of Rutherford.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                  JC's lived quite the life. Having spent some time learning phototgraphy under the legendary b/w master photographer AA (I'm more of a Henri Cartier Bresson fan as far as b/w photography goes but I digress...heh). Then to become a respected winemaker. Surprised to hear "Cakebread" is actually his name. :)

                                                                                                                                            2. If you haven't already tried this one, you must. Laboure-Roi. Gorgeous. Runs $12.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: ailurophileg

                                                                                                                                                Labouré-Roi is a Burgundy négociant established in 1824, and purchased in 1974 by Armand Cotin. They literally offer dozens of different wines. I've tasted through their line several times in the 1980s and '90s, and I've never had a wine from them I'd call "buttery," but perhaps they've changed their style. Which wine, specifically, are you talking about?

                                                                                                                                              2. La Crema 2009 Monterey ...delish! Also very, very good is La Crema 2009 Sonoma County...

                                                                                                                                                1. Sonoma Cutrer all the way! Gotta love that malolactic fermentation!

                                                                                                                                                  1. Wente Chardonnay, the measure by which I judge all Chards under $15

                                                                                                                                                    1. I agree with the several other recommendations for Edna Valley, La Crema, Chateau St. Michelle (sp?). For everyday drinking, Geyser Peak is a nice buttery wine ($9-12), though for special occasions Stonestreet Chardonnay from Healdsburg, CA ($20-25 sadly) is the most wonderful for buttery/creme brulee notes that satisy the palate. It is a lovely wine with lots of buttery goodness. I believe it has undergone secondary malolactic fermentation. Hope you find some buttery goodness, I am on the search for the same myself.

                                                                                                                                                        1. My favorite is Cloud Break Chardonnay. It is rich with favors of toasted oak, vanilla, butter, apple and pear. It is inexpensive as you can purchase it at Total Wine for $7.99 a bottle. Try it as I don't think you'll be disappointed as it is a big seller.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Thanks, I have seen it at TW, and will try it, I really haven't had any good buttery oaky chard lately - they have all been flinty.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: EllenLV

                                                                                                                                                              It's a bulk wine made by O'Neill (sort of the outgrowth of Golden State Vintners, another bulk wine producer), so I don't know that the quality is consistent. It's obviously fairly manipulated with the butteriness and American oak, but certainly worth a try to see if you like it.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Toasted Head Chardonnay is really great..I've found it anywhere from $10-$15.. they even carry it at my local trader joe's...give it a shot!

                                                                                                                                                              1. I'm a big fan of the Fetzer Chardonnay when I'm looking for cheap and buttery.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Like you, I love the 100% malolactic chardonnays for quaffing. I don't really care about what's in vogue or currently rated highly by the Spectator or anyone else.
                                                                                                                                                                  Our favorite is Rombauer Chardonnay and has been for years. It should cost anywhere between $27 and $31/bottle.
                                                                                                                                                                  Currently, the 2011 is hard to find so the stores that have it are selling it for aver $31. Proof that we are not alone in our preferences.
                                                                                                                                                                  BTW: Most good Cabs are taken through malolactic.
                                                                                                                                                                  Might also want to try Kali Hart Chardonnay at around $15.

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: xsivjosh

                                                                                                                                                                    Once, going back some years, we also enjoyed Kerner's Chards. Then, he seemed to insist on harvesting riper, and riper fruit. Over the last few years, even my wife, who loves bigger, domestic Chards, has begun to pass on his Carneros Chards. There IS too much of a good thing, IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                                    However, if YOU enjoy, that is personal, and not up to debate.



                                                                                                                                                                  2. My low-cost buttery chardonnay pick: Annabella (California) for around $14.
                                                                                                                                                                    The character as described on www.michaelpozzanwinery.com:
                                                                                                                                                                    "Annabella 2011 Chardonnay
                                                                                                                                                                    100% Chardonnay
                                                                                                                                                                    51% Sonoma (26% Russian River, 25% Sonoma Coast), 49% Napa, Carneros
                                                                                                                                                                    100% Barrel Aged in French Oak for 6 months

                                                                                                                                                                    Partial Malolactic Fermentation, full flavored... medium body and a solid concentration of fruit... has a rich, creamy style that serves up lots of ripe pear, honeydew melon, and apple flavors.... the oak is not overpowering... "

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Since I just posted my low-cost pick for best buttery chard, I'm posting my FAVORITE buttery oaked chardonnay:
                                                                                                                                                                      Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Chardonnay "KARIA" (California)
                                                                                                                                                                      Cost: $26-$36
                                                                                                                                                                      TRY IT, YOU'LL LOVE IT. FULL BODY, CREAMY BUTTERY, OAKY... LONG FINSH, LONG LEGS!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. I'm surprised I don't see more hits for Rombauer here. They're like the epitome of a CA butter bomb - I personally love it.

                                                                                                                                                                        It's also known as "Cougar Crack"

                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.rombauer.com/2011-Carneros... (sold out as of now!! that's crazy...) but anyways you should try.

                                                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mmeisner

                                                                                                                                                                          Not sure a $35 to $60 bottle of wine (with tax and shipping) qualifies as an "everyday" drinking buttery Chard.

                                                                                                                                                                          Special occasion, yes. But the OP asked for everyday quaffers.

                                                                                                                                                                          Even so, there were seven mentions of Rombauer before yours.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mmeisner

                                                                                                                                                                            a) Yes, Rombauer is the poster child for buttery CA Chardonnays.

                                                                                                                                                                            b) I'm not sure what's in *your* wallet (after all, you actually spent $250 on a single bottle of Cabernet!), but with its WSRP of $34, Rombauer hardly qualifies as an "everyday" drinking wine for most people.

                                                                                                                                                                            c) This thread has, as I write this, 165 posts; seven previous mentions for an overpriced, out-of-budget wine is, IMHO, a lot. That's over four percent, and given the hundreds, if not thousands, of Chardonnay wines produced in California, that's not too shabby . . . particularly since it is a style that has fallen out of favor with many wine drinkers.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm really sorry I didn't calculate the exact percentage of mentions in this post before offering my opinion. Silly me. Honestly though I didn't realize how long this thread was, or how old.

                                                                                                                                                                              To be fair, I usually spend about $30 on a bottle of wine. The Promise was an exception, for a very special occasion.

                                                                                                                                                                              Rombauer can be found for $29 in most stores. If you want cheaper options, you can find Layer Cake, Chateau St. Michelle, and Buena Vista which are all solid.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: mmeisner

                                                                                                                                                                              Once, Kerner's Chardonnay WAS considered to be a great, buttery CAL-Chard, but lately, the fruit has been overly-ripe, and over-the-top, by many palates.


                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you for that correction. Somehow, Spell-Check let me make the mistake.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Appreciated, and maybe I need to post, prior to "Wine-thirty... "


                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                    I just added the last name in case it wasn't clear that Kerner/Koerner was Mr. Rombauer. I wasn't correcting your spelling.

                                                                                                                                                                                    <<maybe I need to post, prior to "Wine-thirty... ">>

                                                                                                                                                                                    Heck, no.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                                                                                                      Well ML, I have officially declared Wine-thirty, so maybe I need to read your reply tomorrow??? [Grin]


                                                                                                                                                                            3. I couple of good buttery chards:

                                                                                                                                                                              Trinitas (@ $20 at discount wine stores)
                                                                                                                                                                              San Simeon (@ $12 at discount wine stores)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Not necessarily recommending it as an example of what I think most people are looking for in a Chardonnay as 'butter', but there is actually a California Chard called "Butter". http://jamcellars.com/butter/?age-ver...

                                                                                                                                                                                To me, anyway, the 'butter' in this wine comes out in a 'viscous' quality in the finish. Sortof 'oily' on the tongue. It sells for $15 - $18 here in SoCal.

                                                                                                                                                                                Couldn't find any real tech info on the wine, so I have no idea as to how it's made. The maker's other two wines are called Toast and Jam, so ........... you come to your own conclusion. I DID find that the company is owned by the son of the Truchard family (Carneros) and his wife, and I know Truchard has made some pretty good wines over their long history. If the apple doesn't fall far from the tree............................

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks ... I found this at Total Wine in Folsom, CA and will try it. Nice comment about Truchard's connection to Carneros valley

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Try Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve at about $16/bottle you can't go wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I am a huge fan of Rombauer but have recently been introduced to Rockview (price at Total Wine approx $22) I was told that the winemaker from Rombauer is now at Rockview. Sorry I don't really know "official titles" but have found this Chardonnay totally delightful and prefer it to Rombauer. Another favorite of mine is Frank Family Chardonnay, price appox $27 at Total Wine. Both of these wines are buttery.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Butter Chardonnay from JaM Cellars. California Chardonnay from John Anthony and Robert Lloyd.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Ding! Winner!

                                                                                                                                                                                      Robert Lloyd is the former wine maker for Rambauer, and previously worked for Kendall Jackson and La Crema. Great wines and inexpensive to boot!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I really like Muir Wood, small vineyard & a bit hard to find...runs $12-$14.00

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I'm glad this thread has been around awhile, because it reflects wines that change with new ownership or production methods and new entries. I must confess that the buttery Chards seem to be in decline, even the standbys. I do OK with a good round goblet and a Clos de Bois Russian River these days. I prescribe two glasses with every evening meal and it won't break the bank or your spirit.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: siwanoy

                                                                                                                                                                                            I just met my deductible recently. I hope that's on the preferred formulary. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: siwanoy

                                                                                                                                                                                              I meant Clos du Bois. The other spelling may be the generic.....

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. A buttery Chardonnay that we love is Creme de Lys from the winery of the same name in Sonoma County, about $10/btl.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Shaguy

                                                                                                                                                                                                Do you know if available on the east coast? Never heard of it in CT.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: siwanoy

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Don't know about CT. We buy it in WI at a retail wine store. i would contact winery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. thanks to this thread I tried Rombauer's Chardonnay, I don't think I liked it as much as I would think I would like a 'buttery' Chardonnay. But I tried their Zinfandel (just by accident it was sitting on a shelf in this not very big grocery store on the island of Kauai!) and I liked it very much! I also liked the fact that many foods in Hawaii carry a sizeable premium price - 30-40% over my typical California prices, the bottle of this Rombauer (other wines as well) was only about $5 more expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  FYI, Rombauer's Chardonnay was on the wine list of Maui's Mala Ocean Tavern (excellent restaurant) for $74.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I like buttery chardonnay and share your pain. We travel a lot, and find a lot of insipid, grossly over-priced wines on cruse ships. So we have to buy really cheap chardonnays on these cruises that I might otherwise reject when on these cruises. We have found Calterra from Chile to be decent. Toasted Head is also passable. Both should be $10 or less at retail stores - $29 - $39 dollars on a cruise ship!