Chardonnay Wines: the wine that’s more versatile than a Swiss army knife.
It’s the white wine that’s been there for us through thick and thin, from celebrations to breakups, and from fancy dinner parties to Netflix and chill nights.
It’s like that reliable friend who can dress up or down, and always knows how to have a good time.
But let’s be honest, sometimes Chardonnay gets a bad rap. It’s like that one friend who always gets blamed for everything “Oh, it’s just another buttery, oaky Chardonnay.”
Well, Benchmark Wines, the best wine shop in Singapore, has decided to shed some light on the versatility of Chardonnay, as it’s time to give it the credit it deserves.
Let’s explore the many faces of Chardonnay.
From Versatility to Popularity
Chardonnay is definitely one of the most beloved white wine grapes in the world, and you can find it growing in many different wine regions, from sunny California to the rolling hills of New Zealand. What makes Chardonnay so special is how versatile it is – it can be crafted into a whole range of wine styles, from zingy and acidic to lusciously full-bodied.
One thing you’ll often find with Chardonnay wines is that they’ve been aged in oak barrels, which can lend the wine subtle flavors of vanilla, spice, and toast. In fact, Chardonnay is even used to make some of the most famous sparkling wines in the world, including Champagne.
Winemakers also love to blend Chardonnay with other grape varietals, like Pinot Blanc or Viognier, to create more complex and interesting wines. And the great thing about Chardonnay is that it pairs so well with a wide range of foods, from seafood to creamy pastas.
When it comes to the flavors and aromas of Chardonnay wines, it all depends on where the grapes are grown. Cooler climates tend to produce wines with more acidity and minerality, while warmer regions will often give you wines with more ripe fruit and richness. Some of the most sought-after Chardonnays in the world come from the Burgundy region of France, where the grape is said to have originated.
The Chablis Dilemma
When we talk about the many faces, one dimension points out Chablis, a type of Chardonnay wine that is grown in the Chablis region of France, and is known for its unique flavor profile and characteristics.
We have heard enough that people like Chablis but dislike Chardonnay, and vice versa.
It’s not uncommon for people to tell us that they’re not fans of Chardonnay, and we often find that it’s because they had a bad experience with a particular style of the wine. Back in the 80s and 90s, there was a trend of producing Chardonnays in South Australia that were sold cheaply and had an overpowering oak and astringent flavor. This was achieved by adding wood chips to the vat rather than the traditional process of barrel ageing, resulting in a subpar quality that earned the wine a bad reputation. The movement that came out of this was even given an acronym: ABC, or “Anything but Chardonnay”. As a result, the grape fell out of favor with many wine drinkers and critics.
But here’s the thing: Chardonnay is such a versatile grape, and there really is a style of the wine to suit every palate. It’s grown in vineyards all over the world, and produced in so many different ways that it’s impossible to write it off completely.
We always encourage people to give Chardonnay another chance, and to try different styles to see which one they like the most.
The Three Styles of Chardonnay
When it comes to Chardonnay wines, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Chardonnay can be majorly categorized into three different styles: Unoaked, Oaked, and Blanc de Blancs.
1. Unoaked/Lightly Oaked Chardonnay
Unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay is fermented in stainless steel tanks, giving it a clean, bright taste with a citrusy or tropical fruit flavor, making it quite crisp and light. Lightly oaked Chardonnay is fermented in oak barrels for a shorter period, giving it a more delicate oak flavor. These Chardonnay wines are perfect for those hot summer days and pair beautifully with light seafood dishes, salads, and cheeses.
Unoaked and lightly oaked Chardonnay wines are best consumed young, as they do not benefit from extended ageing. They are generally more affordable than their heavily oaked counterparts, making them a great option for those looking for a delicious, delicate wine at an accessible price point. These wines are perfect for hot summer days, as they are refreshing and easy to drink.
2. Creamy, Oaked Chardonnay
Creamy and oaked Chardonnay wines are a style of wine that has gained immense popularity over the years, particularly among those who love rich and full-bodied white wines.
It is aged in oak barrels for extended periods, giving it a rich, creamy taste with hints of vanilla and butter. These Chardonnay wines are often referred to as “buttery” or “oaky.” The oak ageing process imparts a distinct flavor to the wine and adds depth and complexity to it. These wines are perfect for pairing with decadent dishes like lobster, scallops, or pasta in cream sauce.
The flavors of creamy, oaked Chardonnay can vary depending on the type of oak used, the degree of toasting, and the age of the barrel. French oak is often preferred for its subtle flavors and aromas of vanilla, toast, and spice, while American oak is known for its stronger flavors of coconut, caramel, and dill. The degree of toasting can also have a significant impact on the flavor of the wine, with lighter toasts imparting more subtle flavors and heavier toasts providing a more pronounced, smoky flavor.
3. Blancs de Blancs Sparkling Chardonnay
For special celebrations, Chardonnay fits itself to Blancs de Blancs Sparkling Chardonnay. Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes using the traditional method of Champagne, it is a pure and refined wine and is a great alternative to Champagne.
Unlike other sparkling wines, Blanc de Blancs is made using the traditional method of Champagne, where the wine undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle. This process gives the wine its signature bubbles and a rich and complex flavor profile.
It is known for its crisp acidity, light body, and refreshing taste. It has a citrusy and floral aroma with hints of apple, pear, and lemon. The flavors are delicate and refined, with a long and satisfying finish.
These wines pair well with light appetizers and seafood dishes. It is also a great wine to enjoy on a warm summer day, as its refreshing and light taste is perfect for outdoor gatherings.
Concluding this, Chardonnay wines are truly versatile and are sure to satisfy the different needs of different drinkers.
Are you ready to explore the many faces of Chardonnay and looking forward to buy wine Singapore? Visit Benchmark Wines, the best wine shop Singapore, to experience the versatility of Chardonnay for yourself. Our extensive collection of Chardonnay wines and a sound delivery system enable you to buy wine online with much more ease.