Friday, May 19, 2023

Chardonnay; Old World vs New World in Today's World #Winophiles

We are approaching 2 important anniversaries in the world of wine.  May 24 is the anniversary of the Judgement of Paris and May 25 is Chardonnay Day. 

3 bottles of Chardonnay wine

I decided to do my own blind tasting of old world vs new world wines.  Join me as I share the experience.

Back in 2021 I watched the film Bottle Shock for the Food n Flix club to which I belonged.  The film is all about the wine tasting, hosted in France on May 24, 1976 in which French wine judges did a blind tasting of Chardonnays from both France and USA and also Bordeaux from France vs Cabernet Sauvignon from California.  

Bottle Shock

Much to everyone's surprise, Napa Valley wines won both categories putting California wines on the map as some of the best in the world.  You can read my post where I paired a Chardonnay from the winning winery, Chateau Montelena, with Sea Scallops here

Deanna of Wineivore invited us to join her in this month's French Winophiles event saying "Join the celebration by featuring a French Chardonnay. Or do your own Judgment in [city where you live] by comparing it to an American Chardonnay. Or do your own blind tasting of a French and American wine of your choice, and share your results. Hope you can make it!" 

I thought a blind tasting was a great idea and decided to do an Old World vs New World test.  Many of the members of Winophiles also belong to other wine tasting groups, the newest of which is World Wine Travel.  This year we are visiting the foods and wines of South America. This group is meeting next weekend and the theme is Old World Grapes that were brought to the New World.  I had picked up a bottle of Chardonnay from Casa Blanca, Chile to open for that event and decided to include it in my blind tasting this week.

So let's determine which wines are old country and which are new country.  According to Volio Imports this is the general rule.

Generally, the list of countries considered part of the old world are: Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Germany. And the list of countries considered part of the new world are: USA, Canada, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

So in this blind tasting we are comparing one Old Country Chardonnay from France with two New Country Chardonnays, one from California USA and one from Chile.

Let's get started.......

****NOTE:  I had written this post up to this point on Thursday afternoon.  I had invited our friends, Jim and Sharon, to join us for lunch today and participate in this tasting so that I could share the experience with all of you this evening.

I ended up spending the night in the ER with our youngest daughter (she is fine) getting home at 6 AM this morning. I canceled our lunch plans and went to bed.  

Thus, earlier this evening, our blind tasting was just Frank and I.  I placed the bottles in brown paper bags and Frank opened and numbered them while I numbered the glasses so we could both participate.

Again......Let's get started......

Blind wine tastings

I am going to share our tasting notes that we made for each wine during the blind tasting.  I am writing Frank's notes as he wrote them.  Please do not laugh at just encourages this type of behavior.

Bottle #1.
Frank- Crisp and clear, no legs, no oak, citrus.
Wendy- Nearly clear in color, citrus on the nose, bright juicy and acidic.

This bottle was my personal favorite.

Bottle #2.

Frank- Color of pee after heavy drinking, less citrus, no legs, no butter.
Wendy- Touch more gold in color, less citrus, more stone fruit (nectarine), heavier, buttery with a touch of oak.

This bottle was Frank's personal favorite.

Bottle #3.

Frank- The color of pee after a night's sleep, no floral, earthy taste with some citrus, mossy
Wendy- A beautiful golden color, no fruit, perhaps mushrooms and wood, slightly bitter


We revealed the bottles and I was quite surprised that my favorite from the blind tasting was not the California nor the French wine but rather the wine from Chile.

Frank's favorite was the Wente from California that he noted did have more oak flavors as it warmed.  I personally loved the crisp acidity of the Carmen Chardonnay.  As we finished our tastings, I do have to say that the French wine, earthy and warm, did start to grow on me.

The Wines

1. Carmen Gran Reserva 2022 purchased at TotalWine for $17.99.  Chile's first and oldest winery founded in 1850, located in Casa Blanca.

2. Wente Morning Fog 2021 purchased at Meijer for $14.99.  Located in Livermore Valley, California.  Family owned and certified sustainable.

3. Luquet Macon Villages Les Mulots purchased at TotalWine for $15.99.  Southern Burgundy Chardonnay grown on crinoidal limestone giving it the minerality we noted.

I enjoyed this blind tasting and look forward to talking with everyone on May 25 for twitter chat hosted by Deanna.  Further details to follow but you will find us by searching #Winophiles.  Here are some of the topics we will be discussing.

  • "A Tale of Two Chardonnays: From France's Pays d'Oc and California's Russian River Valley" from Camilla at Culinary Cam
  • "No to Chardonnay? Don’t Be So Judgy!" from Cathie at Side Hustle Wino
  • "Chardonnay; Old World vs New World in Today's World" from Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
  • "Chardonnay Unites Us More than it Divides" from Susannah at Avinnare
  • "How to Think About the 1976 Judgement of Paris in 2023" from Jeff at Food Wine Click
  • Gwendolyn is sharing a food and wine pairing at Wine Predator
  • "Chardonnay Day with Domaine Charton-Vachet Montagny Cuvee" from Deanna at Wineivore
I poured the Carmen Gran Reserva Chardonnay to pair with dinner after our blind tasting.  I will be sharing that pairing next week for our World Wine Travel event.  Stay tuned, I have a great recipe to share.  

While we were having dinner, our second daughter, Nicole called her Dad.  When she asked what we were doing he told her we had just finished a blind wine tasting.  She replied "Oh, how fun" to which he responded "It was okay, the worst part was plucking out our eyes so we would be blind." 

My pain is real.......


  1. What a fun project! "Pee after a night's sleep"?!? Frank is a crack-up.

    1. He is a nut. Looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks.

  2. First, to hear your daughter is OK. Always fun reading through tasting notes. Frank is pretty right on with his color description. Being a wine geek, I get it. Although I know a few folks who probably wouldn’t drink them after reading that! Researching for my last minute article, I learned so much about the early NorCal wine crew including Wente. Nice to see that bottle in your line up!

    1. Thanks I'm glad she is fine as well. It's scary when your child is sick and you can't figure out why. Turns out she had an allergic reaction. I'm not going to tell Frank you agree with his color scheme LOL.....he's a goof but he brings fun to my life each and every day.

  3. This is so much fun! (Aside from the hospital visit, yikes! hope she is ok!) I just love that you did a blind tasting to try these wines. I think it's such a great way to learn and often with surprising results as you found!

    1. It was fun Deanna and my girl is fine. She had an allergic reaction.


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