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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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  • Kistler Vineyards Dutton Ranch Chardonnay 2001 Front Label
    Kistler Vineyards Dutton Ranch Chardonnay 2001
    Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
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  • Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet les Folatieres 2001 Front Label
    Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet les Folatieres 2001
    Chardonnay from Burgundy, France
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    • Domaine Laroche Chablis Les Vaudevey Premier Cru 2001 Front Label
      Domaine Laroche Chablis Les Vaudevey Premier Cru 2001
      Chardonnay from Chablis, Burgundy, France
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      • Brewer-Clifton Melville Chardonnay 2001 Front Label
        Brewer-Clifton Melville Chardonnay 2001
        Chardonnay from Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
        • WS91
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      • Rochioli River Block Chardonnay 2001 Front Label
        Rochioli River Block Chardonnay 2001
        Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
        • JS94
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