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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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  • Esser Vineyards Monterey Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Esser Vineyards Monterey Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Monterey, Central Coast, California
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  • Hanzell Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Hanzell Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
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  • Brewer-Clifton Gnesa Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Brewer-Clifton Gnesa Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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  • Saintsbury Carneros Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Saintsbury Carneros Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Carneros, California
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  • Gallo Signature Series Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Gallo Signature Series Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    • RP93
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  • Hanzell Sebella Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Hanzell Sebella Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
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  • Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
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  • Presqu'ile Presqu’ile Vineyard Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Presqu'ile Presqu’ile Vineyard Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
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  • Lynmar Winery Russian River Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Lynmar Winery Russian River Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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  • Metz Road Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Metz Road Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Monterey, Central Coast, California
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  • Brewer-Clifton Hapgood Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Brewer-Clifton Hapgood Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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  • Williams Selyem Heintz Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Williams Selyem Heintz Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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  • Bonterra The Roost Biodynamic Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Bonterra The Roost Biodynamic Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Mendocino, California
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  • Saxon Brown Durell Hayfield Vineyard Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Saxon Brown Durell Hayfield Vineyard Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
    • WS94
    • WE93
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  • Carneros Hills Winery Chardenet Durell Vineyard Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Carneros Hills Winery Chardenet Durell Vineyard Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
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  • Lemelson Chardonnay Reserve 2012 Front Label
    Lemelson Chardonnay Reserve 2012
    Chardonnay from Oregon
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  • Thomas Fogarty Damiana Vineyard Estate Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Thomas Fogarty Damiana Vineyard Estate Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
    • WE93
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  • Kumeu River Mate's Vineyard Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Kumeu River Mate's Vineyard Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from New Zealand
    • RP95
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  • Inman Family Russian River Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Inman Family Russian River Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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  • Beringer Luminus Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Beringer Luminus Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
    • RP93
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  • Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from New Zealand
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  • Williams Selyem Olivet Lane Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Williams Selyem Olivet Lane Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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  • Dutton Estate Kyndall's Reserve Chardonnay 2012 Front Label
    Dutton Estate Kyndall's Reserve Chardonnay 2012
    Chardonnay from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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  • La Chablisienne Chablis Premier Cru Montee de Tonnerre 2012 Front Label
    La Chablisienne Chablis Premier Cru Montee de Tonnerre 2012
    Chardonnay from Chablis, Burgundy, France
    • WE93
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  • Maison Roche de Bellene Meursault Vieilles Vignes 2012 Front Label
    Maison Roche de Bellene Meursault Vieilles Vignes 2012
    Chardonnay from Meursault, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or, Burgundy, France
    • WE91
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