Chardonnay (Shar-doe-Nay) is the popular grape variety in the US. It can be oaked (in wood barrels) or unoaked (steel barrels). Oaked Chards are rich, full bodied with vanilla and caramel flavors. Unoaked will have more citrus flavors. Cool climate chards have higher acidity and are likely to taste like tree fruits (apples, pears, peaches). Warmer climate chards will have more tropical fruit flavors. Regardless of oak/climate Chardonnay is classified as a dry white wine with the exceptions of late harvest chards (dessert wines). Chardonnay is meant to be served slightly chilled. Oaked should be served closer to room temperature and unoaked should be served around 48 degrees.
Pale yellow or gold.
Flavors And Aromas
Chardonnay spans the wine-tasting palate, from bright and fresh to buttery, rich, and oaky. From bottle to bottle you might find flavors and aromas including restrained apples, lemons, and riotous tropicals, such as mango and banana.
- Toasted nuts
- Rich dishes (a robust corn chowder or halibut in cream sauce, for example)
- Young, unoaked, cool climates, go well with shellfish, steamed or grilled fish or chicken and spring vegetables.
- Fruitier, unoaked or lightly oaked pair with chicken or pork in a buttery sauce or pasta in a creamy sauce, chicken or ham based salads with creamy dressings and nuts. These kind of chardonnays come from warmer climates.
- Full bodied, oak aged would pair with grilled veal with mushrooms, late summer vegetables such as corn, butternut squash, and pumpkin. It also goes well with cheddar cheese.
Things to Avoid
- Smoked fish or meats
- Chinese food
- Light fresh cheeses
- Tomato based dishes
- Overly spicy dishes
The grape is used in many sparkling wines, including Champagne.
It’s grown all over the world. California, New York, Oregon, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
“Chardonnay Day” is the Thursday before Memorial Day.
It owes most of its popularity to Emperor Charlemagne’s wife! She had white wine grapes planted because she was tired of the red wine stains in his beard.