Learn about Chardonnay — taste profile, popular regions and more ...
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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Aubert Napa Valley Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
Kistler Vineyards Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
Arizona Stronghold Dala Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Other U.S.
Chanson Pere & Fils Vire Clesse 2011Chardonnay from Burgundy, France
Marcassin Marcassin Vineyard Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
Hill Smith Estate Eden Valley Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Eden Valley, Barossa, South Australia, Australia
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey St-Aubin La Chateniere 2011Chardonnay from Burgundy, France
Kistler Vineyards Cuvee Cathleen Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
Aubert Lauren Vineyard Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
Aubert UV-SL Vineyard Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
Castle Rock Central Coast Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Central Coast, California
Simonnet-Febvre Chablis Vaillons Premier Cru 2011Chardonnay from Chablis, Burgundy, France
Qupe Bien Nacido Y Block Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Central Coast, California
Iron Horse Unoaked Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
Louis Latour Marsannay Blanc 2011Chardonnay from Marsannay, Cote de Nuits, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
Banrock Station Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Australia
Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
Au Bon Climat Nuits Blanches Au Bouge Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
Roots Run Deep Educated Guess Chardonnay 2011Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California