One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes ...
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.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay 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.
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.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.
Domaine Matrot Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru Les Chalumeaux (375ML half-bottle) 2005Chardonnay from Puligny-Montrachet, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
Jermann Dreams (375ML half-bottle) 2012Chardonnay from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
Frederic Magnien Morey St. Denis Les Larrets (375ML half-bottle) 2000Chardonnay from Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru (375ML half-bottle) 2012Chardonnay from Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
Domaine Matrot Meursault (375ML half-bottle) 2005Chardonnay from Meursault, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
Dom. Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet Hameau de Blagny (375ML half-bottle) 2004Chardonnay from Burgundy, France