Chardonnay is pure vibrant richness shimmering gold in colour, great Chardonnay is like liquid sunshine. It is grown all over the world, and bottles of wine made from Chardonnay can range in price from a few dollars to many hundreds. Though wonderful Chardonnay can come from a number of countries, nowhere else in the world can you find so many different expressions of the same grape as in France.
Chardonnay flavour profile
Compared with other white wine grape varieties, Chardonnay is quite rich and full-bodied. Depending on how and where it’s made, though, it can present widely varying styles. It generally shows flavours of apples, pears, and honey, and it can also develop flavours of spice, oak, and butter.
Chardonnay is also one of the primary components of many sparkling wines, and blends that lean heavily on Chardonnay can range from more delicate, floral wines with lemon curd and orange blossom notes, to sturdy wines with notes of bread dough, and minerally richness.
Much of the difference in styles of Chardonnay is a result of the oak treatment of the wines. Oak-aged Chardonnay tends to be richer, heavier, and rounder in style, while steel-aged wines are leaner, showing higher acidity and lighter body.
Like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay’s finest expression is found in Burgundy. A range of styles is produced from the limestone soils here, from the deep, complex styles of Montrachet and Meursault to the racy, mineral-laced unoaked wines of Chablis.
Also like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay is grown in Champagne to produce stellar sparkling wines. In addition to Champagne, sparkling wines containing Chardonnay are produced in the Loire Valley (called Crémant de Loire) and in the Languedoc (called Crémant de Limoux.) Sparkling wines from other regions of France often contain other grapes in addition to Chardonnay.
Still wines are produced from Chardonnay grown in a number of other French regions, including Jura, Alsace, and Ardèche. The grape’s flavours vary depending on soil composition and winemaking decisions like oak treatment.
Chardonnay Food Pairings
Chardonnay is one of the more versatile grapes in terms of food pairings. Rich, oaky Chardonnays are divine with lobster, cream sauces, and even with earthy mushrooms. Racy Chablis and lively Champagne works beautifully with oysters and can even balance a salad course, as the acidity levels of these wines tend to be high. Simple, inexpensive Chardonnays pair with a host of different foods and flavours, and they’re also ideal as a cocktail wine that requires no food at all.
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