BB Review: Chapel Down Chardonnay 2013


Today, we would like to talk to you about something very serious. Specifically, an affiliation with a group so conniving, covert and deceptive that you may not even know you've been indoctrinated by their grossly unjust agenda against a noble grape. That's right, you might not even know you're one of them. 

The group? The ABC (aka Anything But Chardonnay) Mob, known for inciting violence against a good grape here, there, and everywhere, without many of us even knowing it. You might be sitting on the train next to an ABC Mob member, you might be married to one, or you might even be one yourself. How do you know? Here are the signs: 

  1. You say a curt/verging-on-rude "No thank you" to Chardonnay when it's offered at dinner parties, art openings or hen dos. 
  2. You avoid any and all Chardonnay wines on wine lists when dining out with anyone, or even just yourself.
  3. You involuntarily roll your eyes any time anyone says the word Chardonnay. You can't even help it, it just happens!

Sound familiar? Well, we hate to say it, but you're probably in the ABC Mob. But don't worry, drinking a good bottle of Chardonnay can set you free! Is this the bottle that you need to pick up to fully live in the wonderful world of wine? Let's find out! 



BOTTLE: Chapel Down Chardonnay 2013 – Kent, England

WHERE WE BOUGHT IT & PRICE: £16.50 from Foodies in Tunbridge Wells

ABV & TECH SPECS: 100% Chardonnay and 12% ABV


ABOUT THE VINEYARD: Chapel Down’s first vineyard in Tenterden, Kent, was planted in 1977 and has since become the largest wine producer in the UK. Though they started by producing sparkling wine, they now make a range of white and red wines in addition to producing gin, vodka, and Curious Brew beers. (They're basically a one-stop shop for home-grown booze.)  

To keep up with the demand for their wines, Chapel Down use hand-harvested grapes from their own vineyards, as well as carefully sourced vines from growers across the south-east, the south downs of Sussex, Hampshire, and Essex.

MORE ABOUT CHARDONNAY: Chardonnay is one of the most well-known and most-planted varietals across the world. It’s easy to grow, has the ability to produce a broad spectrum of flavours in different climates, and plays nice with a variety of winemaking techniques, making it a popular grape with winemakers. But, as any pop star will tell you, with popularity comes imitation and backlash, and in the last few decades, we've seen an uprising in the ‘ABC’ (Anything But Chardonnay) Mob, which has tarnished Chardonnay's good name in even some of the most open-minded wine drinking establishments.

WINESUP WITH ENGLISH CHARDONNAY: Chardonnay is one of the top two grape varieties planted in the UK. Along with Pinot Noir, it is mainly used in the production of sparkling wines. However, with experimentation in winemaking, there are a few places, like Chapel Down, who are making exceptional single varietal to rival more well-known offerings from places like Burgundy, America and Australia. 

FUN FACT: Chapel Down is the official supplier to 10 Downing Street, and was the first English wine to be served at Ascot racecourse.

WHY CARO CHOSE THIS WINE: Let’s be honest. I’d never pick an English wine, and I particularly would not pick a Chapel Down wine. Because I tend to think they’re overpriced compared to what you can get in… well, any other country, really! So why did I get this? I wanted to impress my Panda*, that’s why. But ssshhhh, don’t tell her!

*that’s how us BB’s call our Angela



CARO: Once again, honesty card: I was ready to NOT like this wine AT. ALL. Let’s put it this way - if you had told me a year ago that I would be happy to drink a) Chardonnay ; b) an ENGLISH wine, I would have laughed and given you a big “Yeh yeh... whatever, dude.” BUT, whilst I can’t really put my finger on what it is I’m really tasting in there, or what is actually tickling my fancy, it’s got a “down it!” kind of texture to it with a playful little zinginess that feels like biting into a green apple on a hot day. And yes, I could totally see myself taking this bottle as my +1 to an impromptu picnic date in the park, you know, chatting n’ sipping. In fact, sipping this makes me want to be - WAIT FOR IT - on a boat! With my Bitches, of course.

ANGELA: This is a little stinky – not in a bad way though, it has a hint of dairy, like cheese rind but it works with a fresh apple and peach aromas. The palate is slightly too tart for my liking, but the body is full and creamy and there’s a hint of vanilla (which we know always gets my tastebuds going) along with peach, and it lingers refreshingly. Do I like it? Yes, it’s a very nice Chardonnay... was I expecting more for its price point? A little. 

KATE: I haven't touched straight-up Chardonnay in years. Not voluntarily, anyway. So when a Chardonnay round was suggested, this Gamay-loving BB was a little less than excited, to put it nicely. All that said, colour me 10,000 shades of surprised when I ended up liking this! On the nose, this Chardonnay has a bit of a seaside stink to it. You know, that smell of washed-up seaweed drying out on the beach that inexplicably makes you want to eat oysters and clams and scallops. (The natural world is confusing, right!) The beachiness continues with the flavour, which tastes of pebble beaches, fresh streams high-tailing it to the ocean, and a refreshing squeeze of lime juice. I wrote, "get me some tacos!" next to my notes for this wine and, reader, I'd like you to know that I did get me some tacos and they went great with this Chardonnay! Overall: YUM. Delicious with tacos, probably great for a seaside rendezvous, and definitely on my list of wines to bring on a boat. If only someone would invite me on one... 


WOULD WE HAVE ANOTHER GLASS? It's a bit of a bank-breaker when it comes to Chardonnay, but if you're passionate about supporting local and are happy to say BOY BYE to the ABC Mob, then this is a great bottle to start with. 


Changing your thinking after years of living with a mob mentality is difficult. Trust us. Kate's going through it right now! To help you in your recovery from the ABC Mob, we recorded this podcast all about the benefits of Chardonnay. Forget the lies by empowering yourself with  the truth