Chardonnay

Chardonnay (pronounced shar-dun-nay) is known as one of the world’s most popular white wines. It is made in a broad range of styles from sparkling to lean and rich to creamy. The typical flavors of Chardonnay include vanilla, yellow apple, pineapple, butter, and starfruit. Its taste ranges from medium-body to dry and non-tannins. This white wine is best served under 45–55°F / 7-12°C. Chardonnay wine is best consumed when paired with Brie-style cheeses. 

Make sure that the flavor and intensity are kept low. At the same time, increase the creamy and buttery textures of the wine.

Chardonnay wines can also be paired with linguini vongole or clams, crab cakes, halibut, and pork tenderloin. Wine lovers who are also vegetarians can try pairing the wine with the corn, squash, mushroom, and pumpkin.

While the no oak type of Chardonnay is exceptional when paired with seafood, such as sushi, vegetable risotto, oysters, pâté, sautéed fish, Chicken Piccata, or vegetable risotto.

Interestingly, Chardonnay also became famous as a baby name in 2002 in the United Kingdom because of a character in “Footballer’s Wives,” according to Wine Folly.

Across the world, Chardonnay is named the most commonly planted white grape variety. 

Chardonnay even surpassed Airén of Spain and Trebbiano of Italy. In sparkling wines like Champagne, Chardonnay is a widely used grape. It is also used in other wines, such as Trento, Franciacorta, and Crémant.

The grape first came in France’s tiny village of Chardonnay. The name was first known as “thistle covered place” or “place of thistles.” According to experts at Wine Folly, if the label reads “Chablis,” it is absolutely Chardonnay. Moreover, if you read “Blanc de blancs” on a Champagne bottle, you are assured that it contains 100 percent Chardonnay.

“Chardonnay is said to be ‘made in the winery,’ as it gets most of its hallmark tasting-notes of butter from winemaking methods. Even though Chablis and cool climate areas tend to show wines with bright acidity, the natural acidity in the grape is actually moderately low,” an article from Wine Folly said.

Two glasses of white wine with cheese

Why is Chardonnay wine so famous around the world?

Chardonnay is regarded as the best white wine. While it originally came from France, Chardonnay is the top base grape for Blanc de Blanc Champagne and one of Champagne’s three sources of grapes.

As it dominated the winemaking industry, Chardonnay eventually arrived in the United States of America and other parts of the globe. In California state alone, Chardonnay is the most widely cultivated grape variety. The people of America adored this white variety of wine because it attracts all types of wine drinkers and lovers.

What is oaked and unoaked Chardonnay?

Winemakers and wine lovers can find the immense difference between oaked and unoaked Chardonnay as they experience the texture of the wine. For those winemakers who like their bottle of Chardonnay into bright and crisp, they use stainless steel for the fermentation. They store the wine in the said container before they put it into a bottle.

This method minimizes the control of oxygen and retains the original freshness of the wine.

On the other hand, to create a fuller-bodied wine with additional flavors of spice and vanilla, the winemakers can ferment and mature the wine in oak. They can also ferment the wine in stainless steel and age it in oak.

White wine with grapes on old wooden table

Where can you find the best Chardonnay in the world?

There is no such idea as the “best Chardonnay.” The ideal question should be: what style of Chardonnay do you love to consume?

“The differences between wines of different regions are largely due to climate and winemaking traditions. Thus, we can break down Chardonnay between cool versus warm regions and old world versus new world, within that context,” according to the Wine Mag.

Chardonnay cultivated in a cooler climate automatically contains more citrus flavors, mineral texture, acidic, elegant and lighter in alcoholic content, and lighter-bodied.

For warm climate Chardonnay, the wine has minimal acidity, ripe fruit taste, fuller-bodied, abundant, and increased alcohol.

For Chardonnay in the Old World, they are in Northern Italy, Germany, Burgundy (France), Austria, Champagne (France), Spain, and southern Italy.

For the New World, the Chardonnay is Tasmania (Australia), Ontario (Canada), Anderson Valley (California), Sonoma Coast (California), Mornington Peninsula (Australia), Willamette Valley (Oregon), New Zealand, Casablanca, Leyda Valley (Chile), South Australia, California, and South Africa.

Does Chardonnay contain sugar?

Traditionally, Chardonnay has a dry style and texture. The grapes are usually pressed, with the grape’s sugar turned into alcohol by yeast.

As the sugar is converted, it forms a dry wine. Sometimes, a few sugar known as residual sugar is left behind.

The reason for doing this is to give a hint of sweetness to the wine. A minimal gram per liter of residual sugar is still accepted as a dry wine.

“Of course, a wine without sugar doesn’t equate to a wine without calories. Alcohol has calories,” the Wine Mag said.

Glass of white wine on a tropical vacation

What foods pair best with a bottle of Chardonnay?

The ultimate reason why people love Chardonnay is that you can always pair the wine with any range of food or dish around.

The versatility of the wine makes it more attractive to wine lovers and winemakers. The unoaked and pure Chardonnay goes best with oysters, fresh cheeses, delicate fish, fresh fish, or shellfish.

For the medium-bodied wine, you can serve it well with white meats like pork tenderloin and chicken, swordfish, and mature cheese like gouda and gruyere and gouda. 

On the other hand, the oaky, rich in alcohol Chardonnay, is best with more sauces or cream dishes. These foods include grilled meat with more fat content and some game birds.

“The key is to match the wine’s weight with the weight of the food,” Wine Mag recommended.

Chardonnay is unmistakable in the mouth because of its impeccable sugar/acid balance, full-body, smooth, and ripe flavors. It often smells like apples, lemons, peaches, or tropical fruits.

Chardonnay pairs well with seafood and poultry dishes.

Chicken Scaloppini with Pepper Sauce

 Savory Cabbage Rolls

 Baked Swordfish with Vegetables

 Guinea Fowl with Grapes

 Lemon and Black Pepper Grilled Chicken Legs

 Roast Veal with Lemon and Aniseed

 Oven-roasted Whole Fish

Also, it’s perfect with Ina Garten wedding soup.

Frescobaldi wines to pair with the above dishes include:

 Castello di Pomino Benefizio