Sal from Majestic Chalk Farm takes a look at the versatility of Chardonnay…
Oh Chardonnay, a grape that causes much controversy wherever you may go. Some love it, some hate it. No it’s not marmite! It’s the grape most associated with Burgundy, its traditional homeland. It has the appeal of winemakers and wine lovers in equal regard. Winemakers appreciate the ease of growing Chardonnay in a range of climates, while drinkers can enjoy a range of styles from firm and steely to the full bodied and buttery. It’s not only grown in Burgundy, other traditional heartlands include Australia, California, Chile and New Zealand.
Chablis is a classic example of an un-oaked Chardonnay. As Chardonnay is generally associated as being oaked, Chablis is often hard to pick out as a Chardonnay! This highlights the versatility of Chardonnay and the wide range of styles attributed to a grape which in the past may have had its reputation unfairly branded by cheaper imports.
From the vast amount of flavours associated with Chardonnay there is always a hint or combination of apple, melon and citrus fruit. The final flavours are determined by the winemaker and surrounding area (terrior), both huge influences in how the wine ends up tasting.
Chardonnay is also the white grape used in Champagne which is generally blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. So next time you’re celebrating with a bottle of bubbly, looking across the table thinking “not more chardonnay”! Remember that you’re already drinking some!
My personal favourite at the moment is the Sonoma-Cutrer Coast Chardonnay from California. Full bodied, oaked and quite intense, still very well balanced with peach, nectarine, pineapple and cedar notes. Selling like hot cakes at the moment I don’t expect it to last long!