Chardonnay is a wildly popular wine in the United States and has been the nation’s leading varietal wine for the last decade.
While originally produced in France, it didn’t take long for the rest of the world to discover this gem, and chardonnay quickly became one of the most popular wines in the world.
Whether you’re a beginner or a wine connoisseur, the complexity and compelling characteristics of chardonnay wine will likely win you over. Here’s a little background on this famous wine and how to choose the best one for your palate.
Why is Chardonnay So Popular?
Chardonnay is perhaps the most popular wine in the world for a variety of reasons. First, the chardonnay grape is relatively easy to grow in many climates, so it is abundantly available worldwide.
Its wide range of flavors, from buttery to fruity, makes it easy for everyone to find a flavor they love.
Chardonnay Tasting Notes
Chardonnay is a medium-bodied wine that is typically on the dry side with a moderate level of alcohol. The tasting notes generally include a selection of pear, apple, pineapple, and fig, though it depends greatly on the winemaking process.
For example, a chardonnay aged with oak barrels will have a more toasted and buttery flavor. While some people enjoy this taste, others still prefer the unoaked versions that retain a lighter, fruitier flavor. Therefore, if you prefer a crisper flavor, you might want to try an unoaked chardonnay.
Is Chardonnay Good For Beginners?
As chardonnay is the most common white wine in the world, most beginner wine drinkers will experience a chardonnay within their first wine tasting session. If you enjoy drier wines with a fruity taste more than sweet wines (such as a port wine), a chardonnay is an excellent choice. It also pairs well with a variety of different foods and is a relatively low-calorie wine, so it’s easy to use for various occasions.
How Do You Choose Chardonnay?
When choosing a chardonnay, consider whether you prefer a crisp (fruity) or oaky (buttery) wine. If you prefer crisper wines, choose an unoaked chardonnay.
The region also significantly impacts taste as cooler climates tend to produce more acidic (crisper) wines. However, a warmer region like California often produces buttery chardonnays.
In addition, each winemaker's process affects the final result of the wine, so read reviews from experts to learn more about an individual chardonnay's taste.
Chardonnay Food Pairing
Chardonnay is easy to drink on its own, though it also pairs well with a variety of foods. If you chose an unoaked chardonnay, you might consider pairing it with fish such as cod or shrimp.
However, if you chose an oaky chardonnay, you can complement its toasty flavors with grilled foods or toasted nuts. Creamy foods are also ideal for full-bodied chardonnays, and you might want to add a sweet side like butternut squash or corn.
Try a Chardonnay Today
If you're new to wines, it won't be long before you try a chardonnay. If you tried a chardonnay and didn't like it, consider trying a different chardonnay from a different region and winemaking process. The sheer volume of chardonnays created each year presents a unique challenge for winemakers to produce a unique flavor, so there's undoubtedly something available that you will enjoy.
If you're still unsure where to start, you can always contact one of our wine experts for recommendations.