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5 kick-ass chardonnays

Our household is a tale of two chardonnay drinkers. Me? I love them, but they need to be good. The other half overdosed on chardonnay for years - it was her go-to white, ahead of riesling and semillon - but it has come at a price. These days anything less than outstanding is quickly discarded. So, we're a tough market. That notwithstanding, occasionally we get one that make us both sit up and take notice. Oh, all right, and drink with a smile on our faces. Here are our latest five favourites.

Swinging Bridge Mrs Payten Chardonnay 2014

We're fans. This is a seriously delicious cold-climate chardonnay from Orange. Layered flavours, some citrus zing, and loads of flinty acid to finish, it's a charmer all right. This is a follow up to last year's wine, which was named top wine in the Orange Wine Show, so it has form. Flavours kick off with stonefruit, and pick up white peach and citrus, a hint of grapefruit, almond and understated oak. Just really good drinking, full stop. $32

Burton McMahon Chardonnay 2014

Matt Burton is one of our favourite winemakers in the Hunter. Top bloke and we like his wines - a lot. This is a side project if you like, with winemaking mate Dylan McMahon and fruit from the Yarra Valley. For me, one of the best chardies I've had in the last 12 months. All favouritism aside, I like it that much. Peaches and melons, terrific balance, florals, a mouth-filling creaminess, some citrus freshness, lots of fine acid that lingers. The full package and a bargain at this price. It's bang on! $30

TarraWarra Estate Chardonnay 2014

Different in style to the other two, but no less appealing. This Yarra Valley offering has more curves, not exactly older-style, but it's a nod in that direction. Flesh on the bone, let's say. From a tough challenging vintage too, if I'm not mistaken, but nonetheless eminently drinkable. Flavours of pears, grapefruit and some nutty complexity topped off by citrussy acid. It's a generous burst of flavour in the mouth, but precise in its style. We admit it, we knocked the bottle over in one sitting and enjoyed every sip. Really good value here. $28

Pipers Brook Estate Chardonnay 2014

For me, this signals a bit of a change for Pipers Brook chardies - and I must admit, I like it. This has been wound back - it's tighter, streamlined, an athlete. The result is more minerally acid, and maybe a touch less oak. Flavours are taut and concentrated - pears, white peach, citrus, a hint of apple. It's refreshing and focussed, downright drinkable. Even the other half, a notoriously tough judge, couldn't help but like it. $34

Singlefile Family Reserve Chardonnay 2015

You can't have a top chardonnay selection without finding space for Margaret River. There's too much good stuff over there to ignore. But which one? Vasse Felix, Voyager, Singlefile, Flametree, Sandalford .... geez! I've opted for Singlefile Family Reserve in a photo finish. Margaret River's hallmark grapefruit, some citrus, but a core of delicious stonefruit that is, quite frankly, bloody delicious. Yes there's more. Almond complexity and quality oak. It's a good 'un all right. $50