Chardonnay vineyard

Chardonnay vineyard

  • Chardonnay is the most popular white wine in California.
  • In France, the great white Burgundies are made with the Chardonnay grape.
  • The Chardonnay grape is one of the primary grapes used in the production of Champagne.
  • Chardonnay is a medium to heavy bodied wine with fruit flavors of apples and pears. Vanilla and buttery flavors are imparted during the winemaking process. Chardonnay often has a creamy feel in the mouth. Other fruit flavors that may be present are peach, pineapple, floral, and lime.
  • Chardonnay matches well with grilled chicken, salmon, shellfish, halibut, and pastas served with a cream sauce such as Fettuccini Alfredo.  Fresh cracked crab with Chardonnay is a terrific match.
  • The vanilla flavors in Chardonnay are the result of aging in oak barrels. The buttery favors of Chardonnay are the result of a secondary fermentation known as malolactic fermentation.
  • Some winemakers choose to avoid or limit malolactic fermentation in order to make the chardonnay a bit softer and fruitier.  This seems to be more the norm these days, as winemakers choose to make a food friendly Chardonnay. Chateau Montelena is an example of a winery that does not allow malolactic fermentation to occur. Their Chardonnay is aged in French oak barrels for 6 to 8 months.
  • A few winemakers may choose to make a non-oaky and non-buttery Chardonnay by aging the Chardonnay grapes in stainless steel tanks with no malolactic fermentation. Hendry Winery in Napa bottles a Hendry Ranch Chardonnay made in this manner.
  • The best Chardonnays come from the cool growing climates such as the Green Valley or the Carneros Region.
  • The best Chardonnays have a delicate balance of fruit flavors with a soft oak flavors.

Visit these Wine Trails to find great Chardonnay Wine