often a polarizing grape variety among wine drinkers: for some it is THE white wine,
while for others they live by 'ABC': anything BUT Chardonnay. While this may be just a
bit of a backlash to this wine's soaring popularity over the past 30 years, Chardonnay
also has a bit of a split personality.
Chardonnay is both a noble grape variety that can be tremendously expressive at its best,
and numbingly generic at its more mediocre. When grown under less optimal conditions or
with less care, Chardonnay tends to have somewhat neutral flavor. This makes it
a blank canvas for the tricks used to craft it, such as extended aging in heavily toasted oak
barrels - or long exposure to cheaper oak chips in the case of the less expensive
Although they may be from different regions, vintages and wineries these types
of Chardonnays taste almost identical - heavy, oaky, and buttery. For those who want their
wine to be reliable and consistent, that makes it an ideal choice. For those who prefer a little
more adventure and variety, they'll choose anything else. I propose a middle ground: seeking
out those Chardonnays that made the grape's reputation and enjoying them for their rich
sophistication and elegance.
- Bottled by varietal name (Chardonnay) except in France
- Bottled by
regional name in France: Burgundy/Bourgogne,
- Excellent aging potential among white wines, from 3-5 years for
better bottlings, up to 30+ in rare cases
- Delicious paired with creamy cheeses and sauces, crab, chicken
- Easy Food and Wine pairings with Chardonnay:
Crab Cakes with Fresh Herbs
& Spicy Aioli Recipe
with Mediterranean Stuffing Recipe
Lobster Macaroni and
Here are some of our favorites:
Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, Napa, California ($40)
Bright and vibrant, with green apple and pear flavors,
and the hint of a spicy touch of oak..
2007 La Crema Chardonnay,
Sonoma Coast, California ($20)
This is a
classic California buttery style,
but still with freshness, fruit and balance.
2007 Joseph Drouhin,
Mâcon-Villages, Burgundy ($10)
Creamy and delicate at the same time,
with mouthwatering pear and apple flavors.
2006 Estancia Chardonnay, Monterey,
Pinnacles Ranch ($11)
Fresh and zesty, with a little touch of cream on the finish.
Not overly complex, but very tasty.
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