It’s the world’s most popular white. Chardonnay’s versatile flavor profiles ensure that it is an ideal choice for wine lovers – and the perfect pair for their favorite foods! Chardonnay grapes adapt well to different climates, giving wines distinct features depending on their origin.
Why is chardonnay so popular? Because it offers something for virtually everyone.
The “Winemaker’s Grape”
Chardonnay grapes can grow in a variety of regions, from France to England to New Zealand to Chile. While generally dry with moderate acidity and a medium-full body, where (and when and how) the grapes are grown lend each a unique flavor. From lemony to tropical, the possibilities to infuse their wines with brilliant, and distinctive, taste makes this a favorite for winemakers as well as those who pour a glass of their creations.
Cooler climates produce more apparent citrus notes, as do grapes that are harvested earlier in the season. Later harvests and warmer climates lend the chardonnay a riper, richer flavor with a bit less acidity.
Secondary flavors, such as cinnamon, vanilla, coconut, etc., are introduced during the winemaking process through the use of oak. The type of wood, its origin, its shape, and how long the wine is in contact with the oak influences the flavor and gives it a round, creamy, buttery aspect. The most popular chardonnay brands have mastered the art and science of these processes. The results are wines that we can all savor.
Another reason for its popularity is chardonnay’s ability to complement a wide variety of foods. “Young,” cool climate chardonnay, for example, is perfect with raw and lightly cooked shellfish, steamed and grilled fish, pasta and risotto with spring vegetables, and creamy soups.
A fruiter, warmer climate wine makes salmon, chicken, pork, pasta in cream sauce, caesar salads, and fruity, buttery dishes (e.g. chicken makhani) sing.
As you move into full bodied chardonnays or those that are mature barrel fermented, you can increase the richness of the dishes
Or you can simply pour a perfectly chilled glass of chardonnay and enjoy it with the sunset or a good friend. Chardonnay pairs with your life. We’d still love it if it weren’t the world’s most popular white!