Chardonnay has a bad rep... is it deserved? We’re asking you to think again about this wine staple with fresh, ravenous, eyes.
Chardonnay is the common white grape that has had its name dragged through the mud. Due to its ease of cultivation and adaptability, it received the negative reputation of being the catalyst for the globalization of wine. Wine growers – particularly in Australia – flooded the world with cheap Chardonnay in an often sickly, overly oaked style. However, people are often unaware that Chablis, with it’s crisp, clean, mineral palate and high-brow reputation, is actually made entirely of Chardonnay, along with all the white wines from Burgundy.
So let's think again about this versatile and popular grape, without the stigma attached to it. Here’s our rundown of everything you need to know about delicious Chardonnay:
- Originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced
- The grape itself is very neutral, with many of the flavors commonly associated with the grape being derived from such influences as terroir and oak
- The grape is used to make such notable wines as Chablis, white Burgundy and Champagne.
- Generally dry to medium-dry with pear, apple, tropical or citrus fruit flavors
- In cool climates, Chardonnay tends to be medium to light body with noticeable acidity and flavors of green plum, apple, and pear
- In warmer locations, the flavors become more citrus, peach and melon
- In very warm locations more fig and tropical fruit notes such as banana and mango come out
- Chardonnay has a more subtle and muted nose with no overwhelming aromatics that jump out of the wine glass. The identifying styles of Chardonnay are regionally based.
- When little to no oak aging occurs, Chardonnay tends to be more crisp and fresh
With extensive oak aging, they become creamy and buttery with vanilla, spice and oak flavor
- North America
- Australia and New Zealand
- South Africa
- Virtually every wine producing region
- Young, unoaked, cool climate Chardonnay’s good matches: Raw and lightly cooked shellfish, steamed or grilled fish, fish pâtés, fish, chicken or vegetable terrines and pasta or risotto with spring vegetables
- Fruitier, unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay’s good matches: Fish pie and fish cakes, chicken, pork or pasta in a creamy sauce, chicken, ham or cheese-based salads, mild curries with buttery sauces
- Full bodied, oak-aged Chardonnay’s good matches: Eggs Benedict or steak béarnaise, rich fish such as turbot, grilled veal chops with mushrooms, vegetables such as red peppers, corn, butternut squash and pumpkin, cheddar cheese
- Mature barrel fermented Chardonnay’s good matches: Umami-rich dishes such as grilled, seared or roast shellfish, simply roast chicken such, guinea fowl, dishes that include wild mushrooms and slow roast tomatoes, white truffles