Chardonnay: The Extrovert

Learn About Chardonnay Wine

Hello, Chardonnay. There’s no question that you are in the spotlight of the white wine world. You can be a light, apple-y thing at times, some might even call you flinty. But in your big and full-bodied wine moments no one can deny your caramel, butterscotch or vanilla notes. This full-bodied temperament, Chardonnay, might even make you a little nutty.

If you hail from the Old World, your European wine ancestry bequeaths more of the subtleness of minerals and astringency to your flavor profile. But don’t confuse this with being a weak wine. In fact, you can live well beyond your years and develop into something quite complex with age.

For you New World wine cousins, your upfront, prominent flavors of tropical fruit, baked apples, praline, heavy oak and/or low acids scream for a celebration perfect of a drink now kind of wine event. Your kind doesn’t like to linger in the bottle.

As a grape, Chardonnay, you can ripen to high sugar levels, bringing out high alcohol content in your wines. Moreover, you are naturally high in extract, enhancing your body, concentration of flavor and character. You have a tendency to remain on the palate from start to finish.

During harvest, you require careful attention as you ripen, Chardonnay, and if you don’t get it, well, you will drop acid levels faster than a hot potato. Harvesting is a wine balancing act between sugar, acid and flavor with you. Not that you are a needy wine grape, but you can become lifeless and flabby if not properly goaded. Picking your fruit at optimal ripeness and maturity is paramount to your success.

While you may not realize it, Chardonnay, you have a strong relationship to the Pinot family and Goulais Blanc. Your French Burgundy roots perform well on chalky soils and in cool climates; however, you have become quite the successful producer around the world on whatever soil or clime you grace. And even though you tend to bud early, you ripen just as fast, often sparing you of winter’s brutality.

Despite your easy green apple and mineral varietal notes, over time Old World winemakers subjected you to a plethora of wine techniques to liven you up, from malolactic fermentation and barrel aging, to sur lie aging and lees stirring. They contested that though you were fine as a lean, crisp, flinty wine, you would excel as an intense, nutty, honey-buttery varietal. This practice spread to the New World and California especially has been known to produce some assertive butter bombs.

Whatever your style of wine production, Chardonnay, you remain the number one white wine grape in the world of wine today and are often at the top of the list at wine tasting for beginners.

Varietal Styles

    Old World – France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain are the mainstream countries.
  • Lemon, Grapefruit; Citrus Fruit
  • Apple, Pear, Peach; Stone Fruit
  • Butter
  • Nuts
  • Honey
  • Minerals, Flint
  • A Little Oak or Stainless Steel Aging
  • High Acidity
  • Can Be Long-lived
    New World – U.S., South America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand…,
  • Banana, Pineapple, Guava, Kiwi; Tropical Fruit
  • Baked Apple Pie
  • Butterscotch, Caramel
  • Smoke, Toast
  • Praline, Burnt Sugar
  • Vanilla, Nutmeg
  • Heavy Oak
  • Low Acidity
  • A Drink-Now Wine; Short Shelf Life

Grape Styles
Flint/Stone | Green Apple | Citrus Pears | Melon | Pineapple | Peach | Apricot | Banana | Tropical Fruit | Nuts | Honey | Ginger | Butter | Vanilla | Smoke | Oak | Burnt Sugar | Butterscotch | Caramel | Nutmeg

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