Which No-Oak Chardonnay is Tops?

unoaked Chardonnay
Unoaked Chardonnay

Blind Tasting unoaked Chardonnay

Our Vintage Wine Tasting Club meets bimonthly to blind taste and score wines. It is a ritual that we have been following since 2009. Each meeting features a different wine theme. For this tasting, the wines were unoaked Chardonnay.

Vintage Taster Ray hosted the tasting, and he and his wife Edna prepared a delicious lunch following the tasting. Ray narrowed down the wines to a final six after sampling several wines over the past weeks. These Chardonnay wines did not undergo fermentation or aging in a barrel.

To set the record straight, Chardonnay produced in the no-oak or naked style does not have the popularity of most of the Chardonnay sold in the U.S. Oaky and buttery are the hallmark characteristics of California Chardonnays. No-oak Chardonnay is more for the purest wine drinker, hoping to appreciated the nuances of the Chardonnay fruit.

Which No-Oak Chardonnay is Tops

Here are the wines we tasted. We list them in the order in which we scored wines.

  • 2016 Four Vines The Willing Chardonnay – BevMo $19.95
  • 2016 Joel Gott Unoaked Chardonnay – Safeway $12.99, BevMo $17.95
  • 2017 Petit Chablis Vignobles des 5 Arches -WTSO*
  • 2017 Smoking Loon Unoaked Chardonnay – BevMo $19.95
  • 2017 Dampt Petit Chablis – Table Wines, Pacifica CA $19.99
  • 2016 Louis Max Macon-Villages – WTSO*

The Four Vines Willing Chardonnay is from vineyards in Monterey County. The Chardonnay is tropical in style, as is the Joel Gott unoaked Chardonnay. Both are excellent wines for fans of no-oak or no-buttery Chardonnay.

Three French Chardonnays were in the mix had a flavor profile more restrained, with a beautiful touch of acidity and minerality. Two were from the Chablis area and the other from the Macon Villages.

The Four Vines The Willing Chardonnay appears to be a BevMo exclusive and one of the wines in their 5-Cent Sale. One bottle is $19.95 and the second bottle is 5 Cents. Checking the Four Vines Website, I plugged in the label and found it selling only at BevMo stores. It is excellent tasting and a Best Buy Wine if you can get it on the 5-Cent Sale.

*WTSO is Wines Till Sold Out. Once those wines are sold out online at WTSO.com the wines are unavailable. One must trust the tasters at WTSO, and act quickly before the wine is not available.

Other unoaked Chardonnay wines to try

Do you have a favorite unoaked or naked Chardonnay? Please tell us about it and where it’s available.


  1. Wade Souza says

    Every so often around this time, Costco brings out a Kirkland Signature Premier Cru Chablis that is quite a good example of an unoaked “purist” chardonnay with citrus flavors and nice minerality and acidity. It is one of my “auomatics” when I see it in store. It is about $20 here in Hawaii and generally goes out very quickly. Not sure what year is out now…a couple of 2015s in my wine chiller. Time for a Costco run probably!
    Another Costco winner, 2015 Latour Pouilly Fuisse, again an unoaked chardonnay/chablis about $21 out here. Second in my mouth to the Premier Cru but still a fave.
    Both go well with clam sauce pasta, roasted salmon, ahi or opah (moonfish) and believe it or not shrimp and grits, a newly acquire favorite after a visit to the South last year.

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