A Look at Chardonnay

A Look at Chardonnay

A Look at Chardonnay

Whatever you call it, they refer to the same wine but then again, maybe not. One thing's for sure, Chardonnay is the undisputed King of white wine, the most noble white grape in the world. To some, Chardonnay taste of butter and hazelnut but to others, it taste of tropical fruits. The difference can be attributed to the region where the grape is grown as well as the method of making the wine.

Chardonnay, Chablis, Bourgogne or Montrachet

In general, Chardonnay made in the cooler climate tends toward apple or lemon flavors while those made in the warmer climate would have tropical flavors like pineapples and peaches. The winemaking methods would then contribute to the wine's flavors of oak, butter or sweetness. Let's focus on Chardonnays in three different countries.

AUSTRALIA (New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia)
Color Pale to straw yellow
Taste Rich, medium bodied. Usually dry with medium acidity. Has a citrus hints of lemons or grapefuit. May be oaky or buttery depending on the producer.
Notes Australian Chardonnays are usually very consistent from year to year but should be drunk young. Unlike lean and unoak style of Chardonnay found in France, the Australian Chardonnay tends to be fat, fruity and rich, which is why it is becoming such a popular wine among Asians.
Producers Some popular wines producers available in Australia include Arrowfield, Lindemanns, McWilliams, Tyrrell, Wyndham, Brown Brothers, Seppelt, Orlando Jacob's Creek, Penfolds, Hardys and Wynns.


AMERICA (California, Oregon and Washington)
Color Light to medium yellow
Taste Rich, dry with medium acidity. Usually has a rich apple-like taste with toasty oak. In some wines, it is buttery with vanilla bouquet.
Notes California Chardonnays, like their Australian counterparts, are usually full bodied, fruity and rich. Almost all California Chardonnays are oaked, resulting in flavors of vanilla and spices. They are also typically have higher alcohol content, a result of using very ripe grapes.
Producers Some popular wines producers available in the U.S. include Fetzer, Forest Glen, Kendall Jackson, Robert Mondavi, Sebastiani, Wente, Gallo, Ravenswood, Shafer, Simi and Stag's Leap.


FRANCE (Burgundy)
Color Straw yellow with a hint of green
Taste Buttery with hints of oak, nuts or apples. Usually full bodied, medium acidity, rich with a long lingering aftertaste. The really good ones has a creamy texture with complex aromas and flavors.
Notes Some say the greatest Chardonnays are from Burgundy. There are four main district in Burgundy that produces Chardonnays. They are : Chablis, Cote d'Or, Cote Chalonnaise and Macon. However, when people refer to white Burgundy wines, they usually refer to wines from Cote d'Or (or rather, Cote de Beaune, a sub-district of Cote d'Or). Of course, the name Chablis by itself has become a popular wine name. The section below will focus more on Chablis and Cote de Beaune.


Bouchard Père et Fils, Domaine Caillot, Domaine J. M. Boillot, Domaine Pierre Matrot


Chablis (Northern Burgundy)
Color Pale yellow with greenish tint.
Taste Dry, mildly oaked with a flinty bouquet. Crisp acidity with apple like flavors.
Notes Chablis has become such a popular wine name that many other producers from other countries have a special "Chablis" wine under its name. But real Chablis is from Burgundy and there are four main categories : Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Chablis and Petit Chablis. There are only 7 grand cru vineyards : Blanchots, Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Les Preuses, Valmur and Vaudesir. There are also 40 over Premier Cru vineyards.
Producers To drink Chablis, stick to the Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines. Popular producers here are Domaine Laroche, J Moreay et Fils, Louis Jadot and Francois Raveneau.


Cote d'Or (Burgundy)
Color Straw yellow with a hint of green
Taste Medium to full bodied with firm acidity. flavors of hazelnuts, almonds, vanilla, apples, lemons and honey may abound.
Notes Cote d'Or wines can be classified into 5 categories (from moderate to best): Regional (eg Bourgogne Blanc), District (Cote de Beaune), Commune/Village (eg. Meursault), Premier Cru, Grand Cru. The three most important communes for premier and grand crus wines are Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet. Wines from these regions are expensive but can't go wrong. If you can afford it, the grand cru vineyards are : Carton-Charlemagne, Le Montrachet, Batard- Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet, Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet, Crots- Batard-Montrachet, Corton and Musigny.
Producers The producers available here are Louis Jadot, Louis Latour, Leroy, Domaine Leflaive and Verget.

Chardonnay is a popular wine because it is enjoyable on its own as well as with many other food. Excluding spicy foods, Chardonnay is suitable for many foods like fish, seafood, oysters, poultry and other white meat.

Of course, with a classy wine like Chardonnay you'll want to incorporate class into every aspect of enjoying it. Find some high quality glassware to pour your Chardonnay into. Custom wine glasses are becoming increasingly popular, and compliment a fine Chardonnay quite well. Personalized wine glasses can be engraved with your name or any other text, or even images and corporate logos.