Guide to Unoaked Chardonnay (10 Best Wines to Buy, Flavors, Prices)

by Anthony Zhang

If you’re a fan of crisp, lean, and fruity white wines, then you’re sure to love an unoaked Chardonnay!

While oaked Chardonnay is known for its buttery mouthfeel and vanilla flavor, unoaked Chardonnay has an irresistible crisp texture and refreshing mouthfeel. 

In this article, we’ll discover the key differences between oaked and unoaked Chardonnay, the 10 best unoaked Chardonnay bottles to buy, and some great food pairings

Difference between Oaked and Unoaked Chardonnay


Here are the key differences between oaked Chardonnay and unoaked Chardonnay. 

1. Fermentation in steel vats vs oak barrels

  • Unoaked Chardonnay: Unoaked wines undergo fermentation in stainless steel vats. Additionally, these types of wines usually don’t undergo malolactic fermentation. The resulting wine is also not aged in oak.
  • Oaked Chardonnay: This type of Chardonnay is fermented and aged in oak barrels instead of steel tanks. These wines are typically more expensive to make because oak barrels are more costly to produce and ship.

2. Taste

  • Unoaked Chardonnay: Since unoaked Chardonnay isn’t aged in oak,it has more fruity and lean notes of green apple, lemon, and pineapple with a long and fresh finish.
  • Oaked Chardonnay: The oak imparts flavors into the wine that resemble sweet vanilla, caramel, and butter. 

10 Best Unoaked Chardonnays (Tasting Notes, Prices)

Unoaked Chardonnay (or naked Chardonnay) was first produced in Chablis, a region in Burgundy, France. Today it’s made in wine regions all over the world. 

Let’s look at some of the best bottles from around the world:

1. Domaine Millet 'Baudouin Millet' Vaudesir, Chablis Grand Cru, France, 2016 ($117)


This is a crisp and flinty wine with white peach and citrus notes. This wine is complex yet perfectly balanced, exhibiting bright acidity and minerality.

2. Sierra Vista Winery Estate Bottled Unoaked Chardonnay, El Dorado, USA, 2019 ($26)


This delicious Chardonnay from the Sierra Vista winery is bold and fairly acidic with crisp apple and subtle vanilla notes. The wine is sweeter than most Chardonnays, and is perfectly balanced. 

3. Balverne Unoaked Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, USA, 2012 ($28.99)


Here is a bold, acidic white wine that’s tasty and full-bodied. The wine has a fruity palate with apricot and peach flavors and subtle cream notes. 

4. Bodegas Escorihuela Gascon Candela Inspiration Unoaked Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina, 2019  ($81)


This is a dry, acidic wine with tropical fruit and Meyer lemon flavors. It comes from the Chardonnay grape grown in the warm Mendoza region.

5. Mia Bea Unoaked Chardonnay, Mendocino County, USA, 2020  ($15)


Here we have a white, fairly buttery, and complex wine from Mendocino County, near Napa Valley in California. This delicious wine has prominent white peach and almond notes making it a delightful accompaniment to chicken and turkey. 

6. Brampton Unoaked Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, South Africa 2018  ($16)


This easy-drinking wine from the Brampton vineyard has pear, peach, and lemon notes. It has a delicate citrus aroma and earthy minerality that are typical of unoaked wines. 

7. Domaine Louis Moreau Clos des Hospices, Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, France, 2015  ($139)


This divine dry white wine from the Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos exudes a citrus aroma, subtle floral notes and long, creamy finish. 

8. Carmel Road Unoaked Chardonnay, Monterey County, USA, 2017 ($18)


This crisp California Chardonnay is bold, dry, and acidic. The initial tree fruit flavor - pear, apple, and peach, give way to citrus, lemon, and grapefruit notes and subtle vanilla aromas. 

9. Middlevlei Unoaked Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2018  ($16)


Here is a white wine with a nose of lime and quince. The tropical fruit aromas of pineapple and guava give way to peach, apple, and orange blossom flavors and lemon notes. 

10. Chateau Mercian Hokushin District Chardonnay Unwooded, Nagano, Japan, 2017 ($22)


This vibrant wine is light with medium acidity. It has orange, stone fruit, and citrus aromas and a floral, fruity taste. You can also taste subtle oak, melon, and pear notes. 

Unoaked Chardonnay Serving and Food Pairings


Unoaked Chardonnay should be served chilled between 50–55°F (10-12.5°C). 

For the best tasting experience, chill your bottle of unoaked Chardonnay in the refrigerator for 30–40 minutes before serving. 

Foods that pair perfectly with unoaked Chardonnay:

  • Salmon: The fresh, crisp flavor of unoaked Chardonnay makes it the ideal accompaniment to salmon. The acidity of the wine perfectly cuts through the richness of the fish. 
  • Eggs: Another excellent pairing for unoaked Chardonnay is eggs. The high acidity level and flavor refresh your palate after each mouthful of frittata or eggs mornay.  
  • Curry: Creamy dishes with a touch of heat like curries are a great match for unoaked Chardonnay. The acidity and full-bodied character of this wine pair well with the vibrance of curries. 

Enjoy A Refreshing Unoaked Chardonnay

Unoaked Chardonnays are crisp, lean wines compared to their buttery and rich oaked counterparts. They’re great for a summer brunch or a fun poolside party.  


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