Cards of Wine

Chardonnay (USA)

Chardonnays from USA tend to be more fruit forward,
buttery and oaked than French Chardonnays.

Profile

Body
Sweetness
Fruit
Acidity

Flavors

Less ripe (cold climate) Chardonnays tend to be light bodied with crispy acidity:

Citrus. Lemon. Lime. Orange.
White Fruit. Green Apple. Pear. White Peach. Honeydew Melon.
Mineral.

More ripe (warm climate) Chardonnays tend to be medium to full bodied with high alcohol:

Citrus. Orange. Tangerine.
Yellow Fruit. Yellow Apple. Peach. Apricot.
Tropical Fruit. Melon. Pineapple. Banana. Mango.

Oak Aged Chardonnays tend to be full bodied with high alcohol:

Butter (Malolactic Fermentation). Vanilla. Toast. Nuts. Coconut. Wood.

Food Pairing

Unoaked Chardonnay pairs best with:

Oysters. Shrimps. Scallops. Crab. Fish.
Chicken. Salads.

Creamy cheeses: Brie. Camembert. Chèvre.

Oaked Chardonnay pairs best with:

Anything with Creamy or Buttery Sauce.
Lobster or Salmon with Drawn Butter.
Pasta in Creamy Sauce. Risotto.
Lobster. Salmon. Tuna. Fish Cakes.
Chicken. Poultry. Pork.
Roasted Veggies. Pumpkin. Mushroom. Onion. Garlic.
Dried Fruit. Hazelnuts. Cashew. Pecans. Coconut.

Aged, salty, or nutty cheeses:
Cheddar. Comté. Gruyère. Manchego. Parmigiano. Pecorino.

Serving temperatures:
Unoaked 8-10°C (46-50°F)
Oaked 10-12°C (50-54°F)

About Chardonnay

Chardonnay is village in South Burgundy, and Chardonnay is the most popular white wine grape in the world.

Chardonnay is a grape with a limited (not very aromatic) taste. It produces neutral wines that need help to become interesting.

This can be done in several ways. One common way is to ferment or store the wine in oak barrels.

Chardonnay also easily absorbs the taste of the soil (terroir), and this is consciously used to complement Chardonnay's taste profile in Europe.

Quality Chardonnay wines always have a round character, a great length, and a rich after-taste, but Chardonnay shows a multitude of styles all over the world, from totally uninteresting, strong alcoholic wines with artificial fruit aromas, to the world's most sublime, perfect balanced wines.

In cool climates, Chardonnay can have a light body with noticeable acidity and flavors of citrus, green apple, and pear.

In warmer locations the flavors are more yellow apple, peach, melon, and tropical fruit such as pinapple and mango.

Chablis vs California

Chablis in France and California in USA are good examples of two very different expressions of the same grape.

Chablis is best known for producing excellent, fresh, and light wines with appealing apple and citrus aromas

California is best known for power, heavy oak, and tropical aromas.

People who like Californian Chardonnay with low acid and high alcohol, may say that a young Chablis is too acidic, and some people may say that they don't like the taste of Chardonnay, because they don't like the taste of oak.

Sparkling Chardonnay

Chardonnay is an important component of many sparkling wines, including French Champagne and Italian Franciacorta.

Why so Popular?

Chardonnay is popular for 3 important reasons:

Chardonnay wines have no sharp edges and no high acid content. The grape produces large crops and it is not picky about soil and climate. The fact that the wines are easy to sell, also contributes to the grape's popularity among the wine producers.

Chardonnay in USA

California is a southerly, hot growing region with plenty of sunshine and little rain. Soils are warm and fertile, derfor is ripening accelerated: it`s not uncommon to harvest grapes in August. It`s even blessed with weather predictability!

Russian River Valley, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties (apples, pears, peaches)
Carneros, Sonoma and Napa Counties (flinty)
Monterey County (citric, lemony)
Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County (pineapple, tropical)
Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo County (apricot, fleshy).

In Washington State is Chardonnay second only to Riesling as the most planted wine grape. The climate is colder than in California and results in bright fruit and tropical flavors both in stainless-steel and oak-aged styles. Winemakers here have a tendency to use french oak barrels and the result is very elegant and very "french".

In Oregon big winemakers from California and Burgundy (France) have invested in new Chardonnay vineyards.

New York State has a similar climate to Rhine region in Germany: the area remains cool due to proximity of 11 deep glacial lakes. This results in a Chardonnay with brisk acidity and clean aromas of apple, pear, white stone fruit and melon.

Read More

Chardonnay is the most popular white wine grape in the world.

You can read more about the Chardonnay grape at Chardonnay Grapes.

You can read more about the world wide production of Chardonnay at Chardonnay Regions.

The Ideal Glass

The shape of a wine glass does in fact change the taste!

There are 2 types of Chardonnay glasses.

One for non-oaked (most of Chablis) and one for oaked (Meursault, Montrachet, most Americans) Chardonnay.

Unoaked Chardonnay (steel aged) is crispy, fruity and young.

The best choice is a smaller U shaped bowl that keeps the aromas inside, takes your nose closer to them and directs the wine in the middle of your mouth, avoiding the sides, where acidity is emphasized.
Unoaked Chardonnay is more acidic on the palate and using this tulip glass your tongue forms a U shape and naturally guides the wine right down the center.

The narrow rim helps also to tilt your head back which accelerates the speed of the wine hitting your tongue.

A smaller bowl helps to serve smaller quantities so the wine keeps a cooler temperature. Remember to hold your glass by the stem!

This wine glass is called Montrachet.
Ideal for oaked creamy, buttery and aged Chardonnay.
The larger bowl directs the wine to the sides and the back of your mouth.
This wide rimmed glass makes you lower your head, slows down the speed and extend the area where the wine hits.
This glass is perfect for full-bodied, oaked white wines such: