What Is A Chardonnay?

What is a chardonnay? Chardonnay is a white grape variety. It is one of the full-bodied white grapes grown extensively throughout the world. Chardonnay is a popular white grape variety in America and throughout...

Chardonnay is a popular white grape variety in America and throughout the world. It is considered to be one of the greatest white wine grapes out there because of its versatility. Widely planted and fairly successful in many areas of the world, it is one of the full-bodied white grapes grown. "In cold climates, it has certain characteristics and if it grows in a hot climate, it is completely different," says Brian Hay, a chef and culinary instructor at Austin Community College. He has taught at ACC for the past nine years. He states that in cold climates such as France, it is a really clean tasting grape, meaning that you get lots of soil content coming up in the flavors of the grape. If it is grown in California, it gets lots of tropical flavors and can start to taste almost like a pineapple.

The white classic grape has huge production levels in Australia, America, New Zealand and South Africa, according to the website allhlwines.com. The website is dedicated to Israel Kosher fine wines and other drinks. The grape originated in the Burgundy and Champagne regions of France. One of the great characteristics of chardonnay is its ability to take oak flavors well. So many higher priced chardonnays are typically fermented and aged in oak barrels. By aging the wine in oak barrels the flavor gets dry overtones, vanilla and butter aromas, and caramel flavors. If it is produced without using oak then its taste resembles fruity, mineral flavors. Historically, oak and malolactic fermentation was not typically used and was unpopular. "Sometimes tart like a green apple, Chardonnay achieves great popularity when it tastes of warm-weather fruits like pineapple and mango," says Ray Johnson, a judge for The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, at winejudging.com. "With a kiss of oak and a dab of butter, the wine can become quite rich and mouth filling."

It ages well in the bottle, though it will not age as long as many red wines, according to CellarNotes.net, a website dedicated to wine information. Another characteristic of chardonnay grapes is that the grapes take to slightly cooler climates and develop less acidity than Sauvignon Blanc. Some wine makers put their grape through malolactic fermentation, which reduces crispness and brings out a rich, buttery taste. "Part of the attraction of Chardonnay, for wine makers and lovers alike, is its versatility," says Hays.

Chardonnay seems to excel in California where it is largely planted in both Napa and Sonoma because of its climate. It is a wine that is usually served chilled and always pairs well with chicken and dishes that are served with butter or cream sauce. Chardonnay is also the most important component used when making champagne. There are a couple of products that are 100% Chardonnay Champagnes, labeled Blanc de Blanc. Sparkling wine producers who want a Champagne-flavored wine product also use chardonnay.

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