Unoaked Chardonnay That’s Brisk and Balanced

Forgoing the barrel, winemakers are crafting unoaked Chardonnay that’s turning heads with its freshness and easy-going nature. Here are nine wines from five countries to seek out.


The “ABC” (Anything But Chardonnay) crowd may be turned off by bottles that exhibit too much oak for their tastes, but that doesn’t mean they have to abandon the grape. Unoaked Chardonnay can win back even the most ardent detractors. The wines below showcase a variety of flavors and textures, all achieved without the use of an oak barrel.

Morgan 2015 Metallico Unoaked Chardonnay (Monterey); $22, 92 points. This is a stainless steel bottling done right. Citrusy aromas of lime peel, orange pith, just-ripe Asian pear and a flash of sweet butter show on the nose. The texture is phenomenally grippy on the sip, where flavors of crushed chalk meet with yuzu zest, nectarine and white peach, remain brisk throughout. Pink-grapefruit zest carries the finish. Editors’ Choice. —Matt Kettmann

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