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Chardonnay

Learn about Chardonnay — taste profile, popular regions and more ...

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

Tasting Notes for Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a dry, white wine. When Chardonnay grapes are planted on cool sites, the resulting wine's flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.

Perfect Food Pairings for Chardonnay

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.

Sommelier Secrets for Chardonnay

Since the 1980s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy this lighter style.

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  • Domaine Jean-Marc Morey Chassagne Montrachet Premier Cru Les Caillerets 2011 Front Label
    Domaine Jean-Marc Morey Chassagne Montrachet Premier Cru Les Caillerets 2011
    Chardonnay from Chassagne-Montrachet, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
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  • Christian Moreau Chablis Valmur Grand Cru 2011 Front Label
    Christian Moreau Chablis Valmur Grand Cru 2011
    Chardonnay from Chablis, Burgundy, France
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  • Novellum Chardonnay 2011 Front Label
    Novellum Chardonnay 2011
    Chardonnay from Vin de France, France
    • RP90
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  • Jean-Paul Brun Domaine des Terres Dorees Beaujolais Blanc 2011 Front Label
    Jean-Paul Brun Domaine des Terres Dorees Beaujolais Blanc 2011
    Chardonnay from Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
    • RP92
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  • Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 Front Label
    Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Chardonnay 2011
    Chardonnay from Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
    • RP93
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  • Etude Carneros Chardonnay 2011 Front Label
    Etude Carneros Chardonnay 2011
    Chardonnay from Carneros, California
    • W&S91
    • RP90
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  • Vasse Felix Chardonnay 2011 Front Label
    Vasse Felix Chardonnay 2011
    Chardonnay from Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia
    • RP91
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  • Christian Moreau Chablis Vaillon Premier Cru 2011 Front Label
    Christian Moreau Chablis Vaillon Premier Cru 2011
    Chardonnay from Chablis, Burgundy, France
    • RP91
    • WS90
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  • Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2011 Front Label
    Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2011
    Chardonnay from Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia
    • RP93
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  • Christian Moreau Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru Clos des Hospices  2011 Front Label
    Christian Moreau Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru Clos des Hospices 2011
    Chardonnay from Chablis, Burgundy, France
    • RP92
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  • Christian Moreau Chablis Vaudesir Grand Cru 2011 Front Label
    Christian Moreau Chablis Vaudesir Grand Cru 2011
    Chardonnay from Chablis, Burgundy, France
    • RP91
    • WS90
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