Chardonnay is America’s fastest growing varietal. Considered to be a low maintenance grape, is grown in a multitude of climates and produces high yields. But what should we know about this renowned white wine?
Chardonnay is probably one of the most renowned white wines, followed by its cousins, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer , Pinot Grigio, Semillon Viognier and Chenin Blanc. Serve these wines in glasses that have a smaller bowl that tapers in at the top. This will help concentrate their more subtle aromas.
Served at a cool 9-10 °C, Chardonnay features quite a separate range of impressive flavours, from its expected buttered, oak overtones to fresh, fruity flavours of apple, pear, citrus and melon. Chardonnay that has undergone malolactic fermentation will yield diacetyl, giving it a big buttery taste. The Chardonnay is then transferred to oak barrels where it will develop that signature oak flavour. These wines will pair excellently with pork, seafood, and chicken dishes that also have heavy cream or buttery bases. Lovers of Italian food will be glad to note that Chardonnay goes very well with Pasta carbonara, alla vongole, lobster, crab or scallops.
The more citrus, unoaked Chardonnay is stored in steel containers which impart the more citrus, fruity flavours. This version of Chardonnay goes better with lighter meals, smaller dinners or appetizers. Think Caesar salad, omeletes and quiches, ham and bacon.
Unoaked Chardonnay goes especially well with grilled or roasted salmon. These are merely suggestions for pairing some foods with Chardonnay. Although the often quoted rule of thumb is “red wine with red meat, white wine with fish or fowl,” a better rule is “A good paring is when the food and wine do not overshadow each other”.