The Somm Set by Benchmark Wine Group

Garth Hodgdon

Welcome to our newest series, The Somm Set. Each month we’ll be sitting down with a guest sommelier and uncovering their guilty pleasures, cellar staples, and everything in between! Follow as they hand-select their favorites from our warehouse, giving you the inside scoop on cellar must-haves!

This month on The Somm Set, we’re excited to feature Garth Hodgdon, Sommelier. Join us as we explore everything from his passion for wine, favorite wine and food pairing, and his newest endeavors.

Garth's Love For Champagne
Read Our Interview With Garth Hodgdon
The Somm Set Home

This week from Garth Hodgdon:

As a sommelier, I get asked all the time, "What is your favorite grape?" I think the expectation was that I was going to come up with something exotic like Malagousia or Xinomavro. Quite possibly, some people thought this question would stump me when actually it was the opposite. My answer has been the same for quite some time and, to some, may even be a bit controversial; Chardonnay. Once I offered this answer, the line of questioning always shifts as if they think maybe I don't know as much as they thought I did. Chardonnay? All of the amazing wines in the world, and he picks that one? My grandma drinks Chardonnay out of the box with an ice cube. I am here to tell you that Chardonnay is one of the most versatile and delicious grapes around.

I have run into many people that go out of their way to express their distaste for Chardonnay. As if the version they got by the glass on their Alaskan Cruise that one time and didn't like was a representative expression of all the grape can do. I have even heard of a club, albeit an unofficial one, I think, called 'ABC." Anything But Chardonnay. What you miss when you think of the one example you have had and didn't like is that Chardonnay. I keep saying it because I love it so that it can be so many wonderful things. It can be sparkling, it can be from a warm climate, a cool climate, the old world, or the new world. Without it, we would not have White Burgundy, or Chablis, or even some of the best Champagnes! Not all Chardonnay is created equal; here are some of my favorites-


I can't live without Champagne. Chardonnay makes up a large portion of the planted vineyards in the region, and it also makes some of the best wines.

White Burgundy

You can drink great White Burgundy for under $100. It's not always easy, so I did some of the hard work for you. Now you have to decide which ones to choose (or just get them all!).

Big Time White Burgundy

This may be the pinnacle, the highest expression of the world's most popular grape.

Chardonnay From All Over

Many different countries, terroirs, and winemakers. One thing in common they are all delicious. Take a tour of the world with Chardonnay as your guide.

Check out all the wines mentioned below!


Leclapart, David
7 In Stock
View All Wines
2 In Stock
This product is a part of The Magnifique Cellar
View All Wines

Benchmark Wine Group

445 Devlin Road
Napa, CA 94558

Phone: 707.255.3500
Fax: 707.255.3503
SMS: 707.200.4049


Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm
Shipping Questions?

Included in Wine Enthusiast's 50 Best Wine Retailers in America