Chardonnay is perhaps one of the most popular white wines in the world, but it might not be the first you think of when it comes to Italian wines. Whilst originally hailing from Burgundy, France (in cool climate Chablis or moderate climate Côte d’Or), it has long been grown in Italy. Italian Chardonnay is typically light and crisp with good acidity making it perfect for aperitivo hour. If you’re traveling to Italy, expect to find it in the north-east or mixed with other grape varieties in most of the rest of the country. Keep reading to find out more.

Where is Italian chardonnay grown?

Historically, the Italian chardonnay region has always been concentrated in the north-east thanks to the favorable cool climates of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino and Alto Adige (which was the first Chardonnay DOC). Like many food and wine stories in history, it was used by accident in Trentino-Alto Adige when the locals confused it with Pinot Blanc.

Whilst you can find pure chardonnay in Italy, a lot of the fruit is used for Italy’s premium sparkling wines like Franciacorta and Trento DOC. It’s really easy to grow this grape (you’ll find chardonnay just about everywhere around the world), so don’t be surprised if you find it even in the hot climate of Sicily!

When looking to buy Italian Chardonnay, consider these as the best regions:

  • Trentino-Alto Adige
  • Veneto
  • Friuli-Venezia-Giulia
  • Valle d’Aosta

What does Italian chardonnay taste/smell like?

What we’re all here for – tell us what we can expect when we dive into a glass of chardonnay from Italy? If you’re drinking one from the north, expect to smell and/or taste:

  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Green apple
  • Pear
  • Good minerality

What are the most popular Italian chardonnay brands?

If you’re coming to Italy or looking to buy chardonnay online from the US, UK or Australia, not all wines are created equal. Some of the top brands to watch out for include:

  • Angelo Gaja
  • Planeta
  • Cantina Tramin
  • Alois Lagedar
  • Les Crêtes
italian chardonnay

The Best Italian Chardonnay in 2023

Looking for the best Italian chardonnay to try? Trentino Alto Adige makes some of the most delicious chardonnay Italian wine in the country. It’s difficult to find outside of Italy, so take note for your next Italian trip and try the A. A. Chardonnay Goldegg Riserva 2019 from Cantina Meran.

Every year, Italian food publication Gambero Rosso publishes their ‘Tre Bicchieri’ (three glasses) wine awards per region and the results are in for 2023. This beautiful South Tyrol Chardonnay Riserva from 2019 is one of the winners! If you like creamy Chardonnay with notes of tropical fruits, then this is one to order. It has a classic bright straw yellow appearance with scents of banana and vanilla (thanks to being aged on lees) and a really well integrated acidity. The grapes are grown in the pretty Northern Italian town, Scena, just 25km above Bolzano. We’ve added it to our list of wineries to visit in Trentino-Alto Adige

7 Italian Chardonnay Wines to Try in 2023

Do you ever have that moment at a restaurant when you’re handed a wine menu and have absolutely no idea what to choose (let alone what you’re looking at?) Whether you’re looking for some advice to buy Italian chardonnay wines online or you’re googling while at said Italian bar/restaurant for ‘best Italian chardonnay’, think of this as your little cheat sheet. Here is the Italian Wine Tales Italian Chardonnay Wine List to help you order and sip with confidence.

1. Troy Riserva DOC 2019 from Cantina Tramin

Trentino Alto Adige

Another 2023 Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri award winner from Alto Adige. The chardonnay grapes used are grown at a high altitude (500-550m above sea level) on a calcerous rich soil. The climate here ranged between extremely sunny Mediterranean days and cool nights with winds from the surrounding mountains. It spends 11 months on fine lees in Bordeaux barrels, followed by 22 months in stainless steel tanks. With an intense golden appearance, expect pretty floral and citrus notes on the nose alongside bursts of tropical fruits, chamomile, peppermint and a hint of roasted almonds and hazelnuts. In the mouth, you’ll enjoy flavors of mango, banana and melon with a touch of hazelnuts and a good dose of salty minerality.

2. Löwengang Chardonnay 2020 from Alois Lageder

Trentino Alto Adige

For buttery on the nose and mineral frutiness in the mouth, try Löwengang’s Chardonnay. It’s grown 230-330m above sea level on a sandy, gravel, and limestone soil bed. It’s got beautiful notes of pear, apricot and peach and fresh butter thanks to being kept on the lees for several months. The vineyard is in the Magrè in South Tyrol and chardonnay has grown here for around 150 years! If you are interested in trying biodynamic Chardonnay, this one ticks the box too.

3. Chardonnay Sicilia Menfi D.O.C. 2020 from Planeta

Sicily

Leaving Northern Italy briefly, this is a great Chardonnay grown in a hot climate in the south-west of Sicily! The grapes are grown between 250-415m above sea level on a limestone rich soil. The harvest is done completely by hand and kept on the lees in French wood for 11 months before bottling. Expect minerality, ripe yellow peaches, acacia honey and marzipan when drinking this one.

4. Gaia & Rey Chardonnay 2020 from Gaja

Piedmont

Back up North, but this time to the north-western part of Italy in Piedmont. Heads up – Gaja is considered one of the best wineries in the world so this comes with a big price tag. Grown in the UNESCO heritage listed Langhe region, Gaja was one of the first wineries to plant Chardonnay there. It’s aged for 12 months in barrique and another 6 months in the bottle. On the nose, you can expect notes of ripe yellow fruit, citrus, vanilla and chamomile. On the palate, it’s got a lovely velvety lusciousness about it with good acidity and a really long finish.

5. Chardonnay Cuvée Bois 2020 from Les Crêtes

Valle d’Aosta

Another Tre Bicchieri winner, this is a delicious Chardonnay to sip on from a wine region you might never have tried before – tiny Valle d’Aosta in the north. The grapes are grown on a sandy/moraine soil type at 550-750m above sea level. It’s kept on the lees for 11 months in French oak and then aged in the bottle for a year. It’s a rich golden yellow colored wine with notes of banana, candied citrus, vanilla and toasted oak on the nose and an elegant velvet richness on the palette.

6. Mains et Coeur Chardonna 2020 from Maison Anselmet

Valle d’Aosta

Grown at 880m above sea level in sandy, calcareous soil is another delicious wine from Valle d’Aosta. Surprise, surprise, it’s also on the tre biccheri list for 2023. This classic high-altitude Chardonnay has an intense straw yellow color and delicious buttery, vanilla and spice notes thanks to being aged in barrique for 18 months. Expect richness paired with mineral freshness on the palette. It’s what you might call a tasty wine thanks to its savory character.

7. C20 Chardonnay 2020 from Fletcher Wines

Piedmont

Last but not least, why not try an Australian winemaker living in Piedmont’s take on chardonnay? David Fletcher is also the principal head of wine production at Ceretto, an acclaimed winery in the Langhe, and runs Fletcher wines in Barbaresco. The grapes are fermented with native yeasts in 30% new oak and 70% old barrels and aged on the lees for 8 months. It’s rich and luscious and will make you fall head over heels for Langhe chardonnay. Expect notes of citrus, melon and stone-fruit.

Other Italian White Wines Similar to Chardonnay

Can’t find chardonnay on the menu at the Italian wine bar? Here are some other white wines to try:

  • Garganega: from the Veneto region. If you see ‘Soave’ on the wine list/bottle this is it! There’s a great resemblance to unoaked Chardonnay with notes of tangerine, melon, and peach as well as a herbaceousness which is a little different.
  • Pinot Grigio: always a fail-safe Italian white wine. Classic notes include white peach, citrus and a hint of pear.

Try Italian Chardonnay

Inspired to try Italian chardonnay? If you’re curious to learn more about Italian wines, why not join Roscioli’s wine club filled with 6 different organic and artisan Italian wines super hard to find outside of Italy. From the list above, the majority of the wines are super difficult to find or buy from the States. So make sure to try and find them on a trip to Italy or by joining an Italian based wine club.