Are you one of the “ABC” club – anything but Chardonnay. Well I hope I can make you reconsider. Chardonnay is a grape that can be a winemakers dream. Think of it as a blank canvas. It will soak up the influence of the local climate or the techniques of the winemaker, transforming like a chameleon depending on these factors.
So sometimes it means it is crisp and cool with refreshing minerality. For example, when made with no oak, in a cool climate region, like Chablis with its chalky soils.
Winemakers who use oak then transform it into a richer style with hazelnut and butter flavours. Then a warm climate like California or Australia will create bolder, tropical fruit as a base for the flavour profile.
Early ripening grape, semi aromatic, moderate acidity and alcohol. Fruit flavours range from citrus & apple to mango & banana. Combines well with oak, typically fermented in barrel. Malolactic fermentation gives mild yoghurt-y notes. Lees stirring in barrel gives more texture and nutty richness. Some winemakers block malolactic to retain a firmer acidity giving a more zesty finish.
Chenin Blanc, Grillo, Godello, Chasselas
France: Chablis (typically unoaked), Burgundy, Limoux, Jura, Champagne
USA: Napa Valley, Russian River, Monterey
South America: Mendoza (Argentina), Casablanca (Chile)
Australasia: Gisbourne (NZ), Adelaide Hills, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley (Australia)
For unoaked cool climate, try seafood, white fish.
For oaked, try salmon, roast chicken, nut roast, hard cheeses.