(Chardonnay pronunciation: Shar-doh-nay)
Chardonnay is by far the foremost white grape of Burgundy and has become ever-present in today’s wine world. Chardonnay is also the 5th most widely planted grape variety in the world and is a frequent feature in our wine of the month clubs. Chardonnay is all over the globe, from France to California to New Zealand. Genetic studies have identified Chardonnay as a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Once again we can thank the Romans for planting the two grapes side-by-side which allowed nature to take its course. Historical references note California plantings of Chardonnay date back to the late 1800s.
Because Chardonnay comes in a wide variety of styles it is an easy wine for wine and food pairings. The Chardonnay grape itself is relatively neutral, with many of the flavors commonly associated with the grape being derived more from the specific climate and terroir or the production and aging methods than from any inherent aromatic components. In fact, the notes of butter and vanilla, so often associated with Chardonnay, are actually derived from oak and a process called malolactic fermentation, rather than from the grape itself.
Chardonnay pairs well with cheese, fish, turkey to name a few. Stay clear of overly spicy dishes and avoid dishes having heavy flavorings that upstage the delicate range of flavors in the wine. Think apples, smoked salmon, provolone, pears . . . the choice is yours. Chardonnay has been featured in each of our six Wine Clubs over our 25+ years and will continue to be a very popular featured varietal for years to come.
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