Of course, the world’s most popular white wine has an entire day dedicated to it.
It’s not only popular because its grapes are easy to grow, but it’s a wine loved for its delicious flavor. Chardonnay originated from the wine region of Burgundy, Eastern France. Taking its name from a small town in the Maconnais, this area of France makes a high-value Chardonnay. These days, the grapes can grow almost anywhere. It peaked in popularity in the 1980s and has since kept up its reputation with 900,000 bottles consumed annually.
Unlike other white wines such as Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay is loved because of its blank canvas. This factor allows winemakers to give their twist on the wine and use different techniques.
Chardonnay tends to have a fruit and citrus-forward profile like yellow apple, starfruit, pineapple, and vanilla. There are two different styles of Chardonnay wine: oak-aged and un-oaked. Oak-aged will bring a creamy and rich flavor while un-oaked has a lean and more dry taste. Depending on the ripeness of the grapes will depend on the flavor as well. A very ripe Chardonnay will have more tropical fruit flavors, and a barely ripe Chardonnay will have green apple and lemon flavors.
Oaked Chardonnay is grown in warm climate wine regions like Southern and Eastern Australia, Napa Valley, Mendoza, Argentina, and Italy. Unoaked does better in cooler climate regions like Sonoma, Western Australia, Chile, and Oregon.
Have you ever heard of buttery Chardonnay? The texture of oak-aged Chardonnay can give it a creamy, oily, smooth, or waxy feel. This technique gives it that buttery taste with the smell of vanilla, butter, and coconut. There is even such thing as black Chardonnay.
When pairing this indulgent wine with food, seafood, or any light meat is a good option. Soft cheese like cow’s milk or goat cheese tends to work very well, and for veggie lovers, summer vegetables tend to be a go-to. Yellow squash, zucchini, and sunchokes accompany the wine nicely.
Next time you’re in the mood for a crisp glass of Chardonnay, you’ll be an expert.