Chardonnay is undoubtedly the most famous white grape variety in the world. Unparalleled in taste and structure, Chardonnay has won the hearts of wine enthusiasts and sommeliers across the globe, establishing its position as one of the most widely planted as well as favoured grape variety.
Chardonnay is typically a green-skinned grape used in the production of white wine varietals and blends. Believed to have originated and initially cultivated in France’s Burgundy region (hence its very first name being White Burgundy), the grape has now become so popular that it is grown in every region where wine is manufactured. Owing to the appreciation and love it has received, Chardonnay grapes have become the prime candidate for crafting white wines, sparkling wines, dessert wines as well as Champagnes.
Chardonnay wines are primarily of two different styles – oaked and unoaked. People who like the idea of having buttery texture in their glass would love the taste of classic oak aged Chardonnays. For people who prefer the taste of Pinot Grigio wines, unoaked Chardonnay wines would work better.
Chardonnay grapes make some of the best white wine in Australia, filled with juicy fruit flavours of apple, pear, lemon, pineapple, passion fruit, fig, peach and jackfruit. Subtle nuances of apple blossom, vanilla bean, beeswax, almond, jasmine, honey suckle and celery leaf are integrated into the palate, making the wine richer and more elegant. In oak aged Chardonnays, one can feel the burst of baked tart, pie crust, coconut, butter or caramelized sugar, allowing for a smoother and creamier mouth feel. Chardonnay wines generally show medium acidity, which gives the wine a dry yet refreshing finale.
Oaked Chardonnay wines often portray a creamy or buttery texture. This occurs due to the process of malolactic fermentation. After primary fermentation of grapes takes place, malolactic fermentation is performed on the fruit to convert the malic acid present in the fruit to smooth lactic acid. This provides the wine a smooth and creamy texture, giving a rounder and suppler feel.
Chardonnay can be styled in various forms and flavours. This allows the wine to be paired with various kinds of foods too. Meats like pork loin, chicken breast, lobster, cod and clams are great food choices with Chardonnay wines. Moving to the greener spectrum, herbs like thyme, lemon zest, white pepper and parsley, as well as vegetables such as white mushrooms, truffles, almonds, asparagus and peas are wonderful Chardonnay wine accompaniments. Semi-soft cheeses like cow’s milk cheese and goat cheese can be consumed as light snacks with fruit-driven Chardonnay wines. Serve the wine slightly chilled to enjoy your evening meal to the fullest!
If you want to experience some of the most loved Australian Chardonnays, do try to get your hands on Heathridge Platinum Chardonnay, Three Mile Lane Chardonnay, De Bortoli Accomplice Chardonnay, Sun View OH Reserve Range Chardonnay, McWilliams Hanwood Estate Chardonnay or Queens Pinch Chardonnay.
Brands like Marcassin, Gregory Graham, Cakebread, Evening Land, Wishing Tree and Montevina also make some very interesting Chardonnay wines.