Originating in Burgundy, France, the Chardonnay grape is considered the “Queen of white grapes” because it is very versatile, since it can be cultivated and ripened without much difficulty by almost everyone. As it does not have a strong flavor, and a very striking personality, it responds well to fermentation and aging in oak (different from aromatics), thus easily assuming the personality desired by the winemaker and / or winemaker. Depending on how it is treated, it can generate simple wines for daily consumption, even long-guard and very complex wines, whose organoleptic characteristics (those that are perceived by the 5 senses – color, aroma, taste …) are extremely variable and may be light or unctuous, with floral or fruity tastes.
Among all the chardonnays, the most prominent, whose style has not been reproduced anywhere else, is Chablis, made in its region of origin, Burgundy. The specific characteristics of this wine are most likely associated with the terroir from the region, and for their very specific personality, the Chablis are very much appreciated and a little more expensive. In general, they do not pass through oak, and are quite fresh, and their mark is the mineral notes they present due to the soil very rich in limestone in which they are planted. Here, a highlight is the Grand Crus Chablis (facing the south and west of the region), whose wines produced have the richest flavors, and are aged for at least 10 years, while the simplest can be kept for a maximum of 5 years. Chardonnays made in the northernmost region of Burgundy are simpler, and are often called “white burgundies”.
Another super famous wine composed of chardonnays grapes is Champagne (remembering that this name can only be given to sparkling wines made in the Champagne region in France). The only white grape allowed in the composition of these wines is chardonnay, which can be accompanied by Pinot noir and / or Pinot Meunier reds, or when 100% chardonnay, are called Blanc de Blancs.
In Italy, the wines made with this grape are elegant, fresh, aromatic and with balanced acidity. Chile wines (one of my favorites) are rich in fruity and woody aromas, often referring to passion fruit, green apple and pineapple, with an emphasis on those from the Leyda and Casablanca regions. Argentine chardonnays, especially those from higher altitude regions, are surprisingly thin, with very woody notes! Other chardonnays that have been attracting attention are exotic Australians due to their freshness and structural complexity. In New Zealand, a country with a talent for white strains, chardonnay is gaining more and more space every day, especially in the plantations of the Hawke’s Bay region, which brings potent and intense wines!
It’s in Brazil? Well, this is a very delicate subject! Our producers have not yet found the terroir perfect for this strain here in Brazil, mainly due to the hot climate here … Not that there are no good varietals, however, most of the chardonnays grapes planted here are intended (and very well intended, by the way) for the our sparkling wines!
Despite the tips I gave here, try to remember not to generalize… You may one day have tasted a chardonnay wine that you didn’t like (or did), try to understand why this… What region was this wine in? Taller? Colder? From some tropical country? Was he aged? Was it organic? If you do not pay attention to these characteristics, it may be that next time you buy another chardonnay from the same region, or that has similar characteristics, and again do not enjoy it … Remember that a wine is influenced by several factors that will alter its aroma , taste, acidity, color, minerality … So, run and call your friends for a tasting of different chardonnays, and then you can have a (small) opinion formed (forming) about the grape !!!
- Pasta with white sauces or cheese-based
- Pasta stuffed with cheese and herbs
- Creamy or half-cured cheese
- Sharp matured cheeses (Port-Salut and even blue, Gorgonzola, Roquefort)
- Fish with butter or passion fruit sauces
- Duck and game birds