Enjoy Your 101 Crash Course on Chardonnay

Wine’s complex. We almost don’t have to drill that into your head after even learning the entire process of winemaking, let alone a specific type of white wine like Chardonnay. Does anyone even have any idea just how many types of wine there are? Literally dozens. And the odd thing is that all are simply categorized into certain colors.

White. Red. Sparkling (that’s not a color!). See what I mean? Complex.

What? You Like Chardonnay?

Then you’re definitely going to want to know everything you can about it. It’ll make you a connoisseur of coolness of the white wine variety, particularly the ever-so-popular and nostalgic white wine many sommeliers love known as Chardonnay.

What is this white wine anyway? Listen up…. You’ll know so much about this white wine originating from Burgundy, and such a workhorse of the palate pleaser that you’ll find it from Argentina to Alsace without missing a beat, that you’ll actually want to travel across the globe just to find every single brand and store it in your cellar (provided you have the income to do that — till then, settle for this info, courtesy of New York Wine Events)

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First Off, You’ll Be Surprised to Know How Many Regions Make Chardonnay

It’s a testament to just how popular Chardonnay really is — a true king of the white wine. And for the most part, the winemaking spans the majority of the globe, touching on these regions:

  • Burgundy & Champagne, France
  • Chile
  • Sonoma & Napa Valley, CA, US
  •  Yarra Valley, Australia

When those variety of grapes hit the United States west coast, reach France, and go as far as Down Under, you know you’re dealing with a versatile vine. In fact, Chardonnay covers the second largest acreage of any grape next to Spain’s Arien grapes.

Secondly, You’ll Be Even More Surprised To Know That There Are Actually Two Kinds of Chardonnay Out There

We’re not talking about brands here either. Rather, how they’re made (yes, wine even has a variety of methodology for winemaking).

Traditionally, this white wine’s made in the Burgundian style — given it originated in Burgundy. However, there’s also the naked style, which can be considered a modernized format. Burgundian style involves the wood barrel and malolactic fermentation along with some time for aging. If you’re a classic lover, you’ll want the wine this way.

However, commercialism wants to bring the white beast to the masses in droves, and sometimes efficiency calls for the naked style in a steel barrel with no secondary fermenting or time to sit needed. Just shipped out and stored on the shelves of retailers.

Which style would you like? You just might have to find out for yourself.

(Which, by the way, did you know that Chardonnay’s actually the offspring of two other wines? Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Interesting.)

Just in Case You’re at a Loss for What Your Palate’s Going to Tell You About the White Wine, Here’s a Breakdown….

Chardonnay ranges. A lot. And they’re all yummy. The white wine can sit for a very short time and acquire what’s called a lean taste to it, with hints of lime, lemon, green apple, and even wet stone(?). However, with age and a passion for the winemaking, even this crisp white wine will acquire notes of some fierce red apple along with hazelnut, brioche, other tropical fruits, and even buttered popcorn(??).

Talk about complex. Maybe that’s why Chardonnay’s so popular. There are so many facets to this fiery ivory. Of course, the palate wants a bit of complement to it, so you might be asking the question — what goes well to eat with it?

That answer’s simple — a lot. Simply put, you can pair Chardonnay with everything from chicken, to fish (steamed or grilled) to even wild mushrooms, and — get this — egg dishes? It’s true.

That Should Tell You Something….

Chardonnay will always be ripe for discovery, and this may just touch the surface for you. Hence why this is just a 101 crash course. Pass this class, and be sure to get the next one to advance into your degree on white wine excellence. But you have a long way to go.

Till then. Drink up.



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