I completely understand why some people don't like the super oaky, high-alcohol butter bombs of California Chards. Just know that there are plenty of great Cali whites that don't taste like a shoe tree. Australian Chardonnays are crafted to have a lighter style, more like Chablis. Look for hints of citrus and peaches that can be a delightful pairing with some curried chicken. I'm thinking Calypso Cafe takeout.
In France, the Chardonnay-based wines known as white Burgundies have long been considered the benchmark by which all Chardonnays should be measured. Full-bodied and complex, they are less flinty than their Chablis neighbors to the north. It's hard to go wrong with any of the Grand Cru Chardonnays, but you will pay for their complexity and consistency.
More enjoyable to me is to find a less expensive version of the varietal that demonstrates different aspects of the grape's flavor profile. With so many variables in the fermentation and aging processes, studying Chardonnays can become a great hobby.
A recent excellent find was a bottle (OK, a case) of 2007 Concha y Toro Chardonnay Marques de Casa Concha from Chile. For a bottle that you can buy locally for less than $15, the 2007 Concha y Toro scores very well on the national scales, with a 91 from both the Wine Spectator and Robert Parker.
Pale yellow in appearance, this wine is surprisingly full-bodied and complex for such a bargain price. Notes of peaches and tropical fruits dominate the palate with just a hint of vanilla contributed from the oak. The finish is long and smooth, finally revealing the amount of woodiness in the mix.
Concha y Toro is one of the largest producers in Chile, so that's where the great price level probably originates, but you should feel confident in taking advantage of the situation.
Match it with shellfish or chicken with a creamy sauce. I wouldn't even be scared to pair it with a pasta, as long as you used an Alfredo or brown butter sauce. Remember, drinking wine is good for your heart* so hopefully that'll cancel out the creamy death sauce.
*Yeah, I know that's red wine they're talking about. Let me live in my rainbow and unicorn world, wouldja?