Cheers to the Queen of all white wines! Successfully produced and sipped around the globe, the Chardonnay grape is the most popular type of white wine. Its flavor, taste, and aroma, though, vary greatly depending on where it is grown and the styles of the winemaker. Read on for a basic introduction to chardonnay.
I’m a fan of white wines, and Chardonnays that are lighter oaked are also a favorite of mine. And of course, Chardonnay grapes are an important component of champagne and sparkling wines, and who doesn’t love bubbles? Read on for a basic introduction to Chardonnay.
Introduction to Chardonnay Wine Grape
The most popular type of white wine, Chardonnay grapes are green-skinned variety and used to make white wine. The Chardonnay grape variety originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France, but now it is grown all over the world wherever wine is produced, from the United States to New Zealand. It is also used in Italy to produce sparkling wines like Franciacorta for example.
For new and developing wine regions, growing Chardonnay is usually one of the first grapes considered due to its wide-ranging reputation for relative ease of cultivation and ability to adapt to different conditions.
Varieties of Chardonnay
Chardonnay wines come in many different styles, from the lean, crisply mineral wines of Chablis, France, to New World wines with oak and tropical fruit flavors. The flavor, taste, and aroma vary greatly based upon its location and processing methods. As the Chardonnay grape itself is very neutral, many of its diverse flavors commonly are derived from such influences as terroir and oak. When fermented and aged using oak barrels, the process brings out its well-known vanilla flavor.
The cooler zoned climate Chardonnay grapes produce an abundance of fruit flavors, and in these climates, Chardonnay tastes medium to light body (which I enjoy). The wine lover will taste a noticeable acidity with hints of green plum, apple, and pear. Warmer climates, such as Adelaide Hills in Australia, brings the flavors of citrus, peach, and melon. Other fruit notes of Chardonnay include banana and mango in much warmer climates.
Most preferred white wines are the rich and complex American and French Chardonnay. Even though it does suffer from fatigue, the flavor and richness of this wine will keep it loved by many for years to come.
Best Chardonnay Food Pairings
With its wide range of styles, Chardonnay can be paired with so many different types of food. Choose cuisine that complements its rich, mild flavors, resulting in a dish that tastes better, too. Most common pairings are chicken, seafood, and other white meats such as turkey.
Heavily oaked Chardonnays pair better with smoked fish and spicy southeast Asian dishes.
Chardonnay wines best served chilled. There are a lot of food that you can pair Chardonnay with, which is what makes it so popular. A lot of fine restaurants serve it as well, especially Italian and seafood restaurants.
The Chardonnay grape is also used to produce Champagne and other types of sparkling wines. Although Chardonnay wine is the most popular, several other uses for the grape lead to some truly fine wines. A quality bottle of Chardonnay may cost a bit more, but it will make a great addition to your wine collection.
What’s your favorite Chardonnay wine?