10 Best Chardonnay Wines in Napa Valley (2022)

10 Best Chardonnay Wines in Napa Valley Featured

You Can Choose From Light to Sparkling to Smoky

Chardonnay is one of the world’s most popular grape varieties. It is made in a wide range of styles from dry to sparkling Blanc de Blancs (i.e. type of sparkling wine) to creamy aged in oak caskets. Generally, Chardonnay wines show aromas of green fruits, citrus as well as flavors of stone fruits, tropicals, butter, and spices.

They’re medium-high in acidity and body. Usually, the aftertaste is creamy, accentuating buttery textures. Chardonnays pair exceptionally well with shellfish, lobster, crab cakes, and chicken. Halibut and pork tenderloin are also great choices to pair with Chardonnay wine. The most notable Chardonnay is from Chablis in France and it’s known as a white Burgundy.


Best Overall Best Value Best Cheap Under $15 Best Under $20 Best Under $25 Best Under $30 Best Under $40 Best Under $50 Best Under $100 Best With Unlimited Budget
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Name Rombauer Vineyards Chardonnay Buena Vista Chardonnay Ca’ Momi Chardonnay Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay Stags’ Leap Chardonnay The Prisoner The Snitch Chardonnay Lloyd Cellars Chardonnay Chateau Montelena Chardonnay Ramey Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard Aubert Chardonnay Larry Hyde & Sons
Color White White White White White White White White White White
Country United States United States United States United States United States United States United States United States United States United States
Grapes Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay
Taste Guava, Lemongrass, Pineapple, Ginger, Apple, Tangerine, Lemon Curb, Pear, Meyer Lemon Pineapple, Mango, Lychee, Lemon Drop, Brioche, Flint, Sage Cream Coconut, Banana, Grapefruit, Apple, Lime, Meyer Lemon, Chamomile, Butter, Blood Orange Caramel, Lemon Meringue, Tart, Almond, Vanilla Spice, Cream, Butter Apple, Guava, Pear, Pineapple, Vanilla Spice, Crème Brûlée Grapefruit, Cherry, Orange Blossom, Brioche Bread, Smoke Butter, Brioche Bread, Vanilla Spice, Pineapple, Mango, Apple, Flint Lemon Curd, Apple, Toast, Cream, Butter, Orange Zest, Pepper Mango, Banana, Dragon Fruit, Papaya, Apple, Caramel Sea Salt, Ginger, White Pepper, Guava, Cordial, Flint, Lime, Passion Fruit, Peach
Food Pairing Chicken Alfredo, Halibut, Red Snapper, Pork Chops, Pungent Blue, Romanian Telemea Shellfish, Grilled Seafood, Roasted Salmon, Cream Soups, Aged Gouda Seafood, Turkey, Veal, Squash, Lobster, Chicken With Creamy Mushroom Sauce, Camembert Sushi, Salmon, Trout, Napolitana Pasta, Poultry With Herbs And Butter, Sheep Cheese Crab Cake, Fish Pâtés, Creamy Veggie Soup, Pork Chop, Ceasar Salad, Garrotxa Salmon, Sea Bass, Pappardelle Lobster, Fried Chicken, Camembert, Roquefort Halibut, Mussels, Crab, Fried Chicken, Camembert, Brie Cod, Shrimp, Scallops, Toasted Nuts, Pastry Crust, Risotto Halibut, Carbonara, Turkey, Taleggio, Époisse Scallops, Fish And Chips, King Crab, Chestnuts, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes
Alcohol Content 14.4% 14.5% 13.5% 14% 14.2% 14.5% 14.5% 13.6% 14.5% 15.2%
Sugar Content Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry
Our Rating 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5) 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
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Chardonnay’s New Home in the North American Continent

Yet, Chardonnay does not only grow in its native France, but in many more wine-growing regions, such as the US, and specifically in California’s Napa Valley. There, Chardonnays are juicier than in Chablis, thanks to Napa Valley’s pronounced sunlight.

As a last note, bear in mind that most Chardonnay plantings in California are clones. This Chardonnay clone is called the Wente clone and accounts for 80% of American Chardonnay vines today Without a doubt, here are some of the best-selling Chardonnay wines in Napa Valley:


Best Napa Valley Chardonnay Wines

Best Overall

  • Name — Rombauer Vineyards Chardonnay
  • Winery — Rombauer Vineyards
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa County, Napa Valley, Los Carneros
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Honeysuckle, Grapefruit, Orange Blossom, Peach, Jasmine
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Guava, Lemongrass, Pineapple, Ginger, Apple, Tangerine, Lemon Curb, Pear, Meyer Lemon
  • Alcohol Content — 14.4%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Chicken Alfredo, Halibut, Red Snapper, Pork Chops, Pungent Blue, Romanian Telemea
Overall Rating: 4.9

Positives
  • Welcoming Aromas
  • Complex Palate
  • Zippy Acidity
Negatives
  • Might Be Too Heavy For Some Palates

Tasting Notes

The wine opens with a nose of yellow peaches and white flowers, accompanied by a hint of cloves. The palate is rich and creamy because the fruit flavors blend seamlessly together. Lingering finish. Hands-down, it is one of the best Chardonnays in Napa Valley.

On the nose, Rombauer Vineyards Chardonnay shows scents of peach, lime, Meyer lemon, and chamomile. At the same time, hints of vanilla spice and clove can be detected. The mouth reflects the bouquet, as peach, lemon, and vanilla tastes combine with pineapple, apricot, and pear to create a rich mouthfeel. The back palate is lush and uplifting. There, touches of sweet fruit flavors and minerality dominate. Engaging finish. Moderate acidity.

A Great Winery

Napa Valley-based, like most wineries on our list, Rombauer Vineyards was founded in 1980. Since then, it has crafted exceptional wines from grapes sourced from some of Carneros’ best vineyards, such as Atlas Peak, Stags Leap, St. Helena, Calistoga, and the Sierra Foothills. Additionally, the wine estate provides gracious hospitality to visitors in the Napa Valley and Sierra Foothills tasting rooms.


Best Value

  • Name — Buena Vista Chardonnay
  • Winery — Buena Vista
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa County, Napa Valley, Los Carneros
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Peach, Mango, Apricot, Almond, Hazelnut
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Pineapple, Mango, Lychee, Lemon Drop, Brioche, Flint, Sage Cream
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Shellfish, Grilled Seafood, Roasted Salmon, Cream Soups, Aged Gouda
Overall Rating: 4.5

Positives
  • Rich In Fruits
  • Refreshing
  • Lengthy Finish
Negatives
  • Intense Oakiness

Tasting Notes

Fine stone fruit scents combine with nutty aromas on the nose. Mango flavors dominate the palate as touches of brioche and minerals grace the finish. Balanced acidity. The wine is rich in fruits, with concentrated aromas of peaches, mangos, and apricots. On top of this, nutty elements of almond grace the bouquet. As such, the nose is fantastic.

On the palate, accents of pineapple, mango, and lychee surface. These blend with lemon drop accents and hints of hazelnut. The finish is lengthy. It is defined by touches of brioche, minerals, and sage cream. Refreshing acidity.

A True Visionary

Buena Vista Winery has a rich heritage as the first premium California winery. Established in 1857 by Agoston Haraszthy, a self-proclaimed “Count,” Buena Vista Winery is renowned for its passion for viticulture. The Count envisioned producing wine in Sonoma, so he created the first gravity-flow winery in California, excavating the first wine caves of the region. In addition, he was the first to experiment with Redwood barrels for fermentation and maturation and brought over 300 grape varieties from Europe to Sonoma. Wow! What a history!


Best Cheap Under $15

  • Name — Ca’ Momi Chardonnay
  • Winery — Ca’ Momi
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa County, Napa Valley
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Peach, Apricot, Pear, Apple, Mango
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Coconut, Banana, Grapefruit, Apple, Lime, Meyer Lemon, Chamomile, Butter, Blood Orange
  • Alcohol Content — 13.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Seafood, Turkey, Veal, Squash, Lobster, Chicken With Creamy Mushroom Sauce, Camembert
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • Buttery
  • Plush Bouquet
  • Hedonistic Finish
Negatives
  • A Little Bit Sour

Tasting Notes

With a golden hue, Ca’ Momi Chardonnay opens with stone and green fruit aromas. The palate shines with creaminess and acidity. Playful finish of citrus, bananas, and apples. Buttery, creamy, with a plush bouquet and palate of tropicals and stone fruits, this Chardonnay is extremely enjoyable. It begins with fine fragrances of peaches, apricots, pears, and apples, as well as dried mango touches.

Notes of coconut, bananas, and grapefruit on the spicy palate, as hints of apples, limes, and Meyer lemons combine with chamomile and butter. The hedonistic finish is playful, too, as tree-ripened blood oranges join a last touch of banana and crispy apple.

Highly Expressive Wines

Created by Italians Dario De Conti, Valentina Guolo-Migotto and Stefano Migotto, Ca’Momi gives wines expressive of Carneros. It features hand-selected fruit from Napa Valley and attempts to represent both the New World and Old World of wine. In other words, Ca’Momi wines are a combination of American innovation with European wine-making tradition.


Best Under $20

  • Name — Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay
  • Winery — Beringer
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa County, Napa Valley
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Apple, Pear, Grapefruit, Acacia, Honeysuckle
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Caramel, Lemon Meringue, Tart, Almond, Vanilla Spice, Cream, Butter
  • Alcohol Content — 14%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Sushi, Salmon, Trout, Napolitana Pasta, Poultry With Herbs And Butter, Sheep Cheese
Overall Rating: 4.5

Positives
  • Balanced Palate
  • Moderate, Refreshing Acidity
  • Delicious Ending
Negatives
  • Slightly Oxidated

Tasting Notes

Creamy, this one shows the aromas of pears, citrus, and tart. Quite balanced on the palate, with fine, moderate acidity, Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay is bright and delicious. Fresh, with scents of apples, pears, grapefruits, acacia, and honeysuckle on the bouquet. In the mouth, tastes of vanilla and cream surface. These blend with notes of caramel, lemon meringue, tart, and roasted almonds. Medium-to-full in body, the acidity brings balance and offsets the plushness. It has a delicious ending.

A Benchmark Producer

Beringer Vineyards is one of Napa Valley’s benchmark producers since 1876 when it was first established. Today, the winery continues the tradition of producing exceptional classic wines from some of Napa’s best appellations. Celebrated WineMaster Emeritus Ed Sbragia and winemaker Laurie Hook work together to craft exquisite wines that demonstrate the pursuit of winemaking excellence in every sip.


Best Under $25

  • Name — Stags’ Leap Chardonnay
  • Winery — Stags’ Leap
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa County, Napa Valley
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Orange, Peach, Lemon, Honeysuckle
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Apple, Guava, Pear, Pineapple, Vanilla Spice, Crème Brûlée
  • Alcohol Content — 14.2%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Crab Cake, Fish Pâtés, Creamy Veggie Soup, Pork Chop, Ceasar Salad, Garrotxa
Overall Rating: 4.6

Positives
  • Great Secondary Flavors
  • Structured Body
  • Long Finish
Negatives
  • Slightly Bitter Towards The End

Tasting Notes

If you are looking for the best Napa Valley Chardonnay this might fit the bill. A boisterous bouquet will lure you with lively aromas of orange blossoms, peaches, and honeysuckles. The palate is mouthwatering and crisp, showing ripe green fruits and tropicals. Vanilla-flavored finish. A deep and complex wine. A creamy Chardonnay that is a pleasure to sip anytime.

The bouquet is welcoming and highlights the aromas of oranges, peaches, lemons, and honeysuckles. The palate is mouthwatering and vibrant, packed with crisp flavors of apples, guavas, pears, and pineapples, to name a few. In addition, integrated notes of vanilla spice and crème brûlée offer complexity to the long finish. Moderate acidity.

Renowned for Expressive and Complex Wines

Stags’ Leap is a fashionable winery, known for its high-quality wines and mid-twentieth century stone Manor House and historic gardens, as well as legends of ghosts and bootleggers. In the 1970s, it began its revitalization with the purpose of becoming one of the most beautiful places in Napa Valley, representative of its vibrant and elegant wines that show finesse, complexity, and intensity.


Best Under $30

  • Name — The Prisoner The Snitch Chardonnay
  • Winery — The Prisoner
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa County, Napa Valley
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Apple, Pear, Meyer Lemon, Violet, Honeysuckle, Pineapple, Mango
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Grapefruit, Cherry, Orange Blossom, Brioche Bread, Smoke
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Salmon, Sea Bass, Pappardelle Lobster, Fried Chicken, Camembert, Roquefort
Overall Rating: 4.8

Positives
  • Uplifting Fragrances
  • Smooth Texture
  • Tasty Palate With Great Depth
  • Balanced
Negatives
  • Slightly Weird Aftertaste

Tasting Notes

The Prisoner Wine Company is always on the lookout for fresh approaches to varietals. This Chardonnay is bright and rich and produced from fruit sourced in warm Oak Knoll and cool-climate Carneros. The wine begins with an uplifting note (coming from a tiny amount of Viognier in the blend), has great texture and aromatics of grapefruit, peach, apricot, and Meyer lemon.

Hints of nutmeg and roasted almond can also be found. Furthermore, on the palate, the tastes of pineapples and mangoes blend with flavors of brioche bread, butter, cheese, and ripe pears. A flint note graces the finish. Bright acidity.

Innovation and Quality

The Prisoner Wine Company’s first wine was inspired by the Italian immigrants of Napa Valley. Since their launch, the winery has been recognized as one of Napa’s most innovative wineries. It has also helped to establish California as the wine center of the USA. The philosophy of the Prisoner Wine Company winemaking is based on collaborating with California producers from the best wine-growing regions to craft fantastic wines of unmatched character.


Best Under $40

  • Name — Lloyd Cellars Chardonnay
  • Winery — Lloyd Cellars
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa County, Napa Valley, Los Carneros
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Pear, Pineapple, Apple, Honeysuckle, Chamomile, Orange, Citrus
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Butter, Brioche Bread, Vanilla Spice, Pineapple, Mango, Apple, Flint
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Halibut, Mussels, Crab, Fried Chicken, Camembert, Brie
Overall Rating: 4.9

Positives
  • Fragrant
  • Rich Palate
  • Lengthy Aftertaste
Negatives
  • Just A Little Of Alcohol Taste At Times

Tasting Notes

Layers of pears, tropicals, and apples appear on the nose. Rich notes of vanilla on the palate drive into a dynamic, succulent finish. One of the top-rated Chardonnay wines in Napa Valley. Fragrances of pears, pineapples, and apples dominate the bouquet of this Chardonnay.

These are closely followed by the aromas of honeysuckles, chamomile, oranges, and citrus. The palate is rich and creamy, as expected from a Carnero’s white wine, showing notes of butter, brioche bread, vanilla spice, and juicy pineapple. What is more, the tastes of mangoes and sweet apples drive into the lengthy, flint-driven conclusion.

A Winery Founded by a Passionate Enologist

Lloyd is the creation of Rob Lloyd, a passionate winemaker, and enologist, who began his career as an assistant winemaker in 2001 at Rombauer Vineyards. Then, he worked his way up and became a winemaker until he resigned in 2008.

At this time, he was considered one of the top winemakers of the US, with his wines being recognized as some of the Top 100 wines of the world. With this knowledge and desire to produce fine wines, Rob Lloyd established Lloyd Wine Consulting and now works with renowned wineries to craft world-class wines.


Best Under $50

  • Name — Chateau Montelena Chardonnay
  • Winery — Chateau Montelena
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa County, Napa Valley
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Apricot, Peach, Grapefruit, Honeydew, Rose Water, Cinnamon Spice, Pear
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Lemon Curd, Apple, Toast, Cream, Butter, Orange Zest, Pepper
  • Alcohol Content — 13.6%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Cod, Shrimp, Scallops, Toasted Nuts, Pastry Crust, Risotto
Overall Rating: 4.9

Positives
  • Plethora Of Flavors And Aromas
  • Vibrant Acidity
  • Persistent Finish
Negatives
  • Oakiness Could Have Been A Bit More Intense

Tasting Notes

The wine starts with fresh apricot, peach, and citrus blossoms. The elegant palate is driven by lemon curd, and then leans toward creaminess, but with enough acidity to keep everything balanced. Aromas of apricots, peaches, citrus, and honeydew surface on the nose and join touches of rose water, cinnamon spice, and pear.

The rich palate shows flavors of lemon curd, apples, and toast. In addition, tastes of cream, butter, and minerals bring extra juiciness and crispiness. Vibrant acidity and a persistent finish, conclude this fantastic Chardonnay leaving a hint of white pepper and orange zest on the palate.

A Historic Winery

Chateau Montelena is one of the most noted wineries in Napa Valley. Founded in 1882 in Calistoga by a senator, at the time, it was one of the largest wineries of the state. But Prohibition put an end to winemaking. However, it started up again in 1968 after Jim Barret purchased the estate. Since then, Chateau Montelena creates wines in the same style as Bordeaux, but with advanced vinification equipment. To sum up, the winery stands as a quality icon in Napa Valley.


Best Under $100

  • Name — Ramey Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard
  • Winery — Ramey
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa County, Napa Valley, Los Carneros
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Honeysuckle, Orange Blossom, Honeyed Peach, Passion Fruit, Cashews
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Mango, Banana, Dragon Fruit, Papaya, Apple, Caramel
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Halibut, Carbonara, Turkey, Taleggio, Époisse
Overall Rating: 4.9

Positives
  • Fantastic Oaky Touches
  • Rich, Plush Mouth
  • Gracious Finish
Negatives
  • Only A Little Bit Acidic

Tasting Notes

A bold Chardonnay with oaky undertones that grace layers of green fruits. It has a crème brûlée texture. Elements of mango and papaya emerge and add to the impact on the palate. Packed with oaky undertones and aromas of honeysuckles, orange blossoms, and honeyed peach, this Chardonnay starts the tasting journey appealingly. On top of that, the nose delivers touches of pineapples, passion fruits, and cashews, too.

The palate delivers rich tropical sensations of mangoes, bananas, and dragon fruits, as well as papaya, apple, and crème brûlée. The cedar undercurrent is intense and framed by refreshing acidity and a long, gracious finish.

Ramey Wine Cellars

In 1996, David and his wife Carla established Ramey Wine Cellars with the vision to produce elegant and chic wines of great balance and high aging potential. The winery is known for doing just that; crafting awesome expressions of Syrah, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and, of course, Chardonnay with fruit sources from the top vineyards of Napa Valley and Sonoma.


Best With Unlimited Budget

  • Name — Aubert Chardonnay Larry Hyde & Sons
  • Winery — Aubert
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa County, Napa Valley, Los Carneros
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Grapefruit, Meyer Lemon, Cinnamon Spice, Allspice, Garden Herb, Parsley, Coriander
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Sea Salt, Ginger, White Pepper, Guava, Cordial, Flint, Lime, Passion Fruit, Peach
  • Alcohol Content — 15.2%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Scallops, Fish And Chips, King Crab, Chestnuts, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes
Overall Rating: 5.0

Positives
  • Superbly Concentrated
  • Pleasing Bouquet
  • Remarkable Finish
Negatives
  • Nothing Really

Tasting Notes

The fragrant and pleasing nose has warm notes of citrus, spices, and garden herbs. The mouth is salty with pronounced tastes of ripe fruit, dried herbs, and lots of minerals. Highly expressive. This vintage shows warm scents of grapefruits, Meyer lemons, and cinnamon spice. Notes of garden herbs, such as parsley and coriander, can be discerned too.

The palate has the interesting flavors of sea salt, ginger, white pepper, and guavas. Flavors of lime cordial and flint blend together to add to the remarkable mouthfeel. Exceedingly long and spicy finish. An impressive choice.

Some of the World’s Best Chardonnays

Aubert has been known for producing world-class Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from vineyards on Sonoma Coast. The winery was founded in 1999 by Mark Aubert, a seasoned winemaker, and his wife Teresa to express Sonoma’s singular terroirs with undeniable grace.

Conclusion

That is it, folks! I have compiled a list of, what I consider to be, the best Chardonnays that are available at this time. So, if you are wondering what is the best Chardonnay in Napa Valley consider this: Chardonnays are gorgeous and well worth it.

They have a dynamic character that allows them to pair with fatty fish, such as tuna, or meat, like pork chops and fried chicken. What is more, Chardonnays tend to make an exceptional wine choice for every occasion, from a formal dinner to a relaxed Sunday barbecue. And they make an exceptional house gift, too. Enjoy!

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