What is Chardonnay wine?
Chardonnay is one of the most popular white wines. It is made from a green-skinned grape that can be grown in a variety of climates. As such, it is essentially grown in every wine region, and subsequently a favorite of winemakers. It can be made in large quantities, which leads to affordable prices. The wine can be made in stainless steel tanks, or aged in new or old oak barrels. It is usually a full bodied white wine that is dry to medium dry. High producing regions include Champagne, Chablis, Burgundy, Chile, Australia, Washington, and California. (INTERESTING FACT: the Chardonnay grape is the only grape permitted in Chablis.)
Style of Chardonnay wine
Chardonnay wine can be oaked or unoaked. Unoaked wines tend to be more fruity, fresh, and crisp, while the oaked versions are more rich, buttery, or creamy. New World wines (i.e. those from Chile, Australia, California or Washington) tend to be more oaked than the Old World wines. Oaked chardonnay can be subtly tannic due to the the tannins that are in the oak barrels used for aging. Most of the time, one should drink a Chardonnay immediately; however, there is some that age 5 to 10 years.
Aromas & Flavors
Of course, the aromas and flavor of Chardonnay can be affected by whether or not the wine was aged in oak. Typical descriptors of aroma include apple, pear, peach, lemon, melon, pineapple, grapefruit, banana, oak, spice, and smoke. The flavors are often described as butter, oak, tropical, citrus, melon, apple, pear, pineapple, lemon, and banana.
Food pairing does vary a bit depending on what kind of Chardonnay you are drinking. Unoaked is better with fish, seafood (i.e. shrimp, lobster, scallops), salads, light hors d’oeuvres, garlic, and curry. Oaked tends to go well with grilled chicken, smoked white meats, veal, pork roast, creamy/buttery sauces. Cheeses that can be paired with Chardonnay are Provolone, Roquefort, and Brie.
ABV & Calorie Count
The typical alcohol by volume (ABV) content of Chardonnay is 13.5% to 14.5%. The typical calorie count is around 125 calories for a 5 ounce glass.