You can’t go wrong with the classics – especially when you are building a wine list for a restaurant, selecting wines for your store or just a wine for your friends coming over to dinner. Chardonnay is a classic crowd pleaser. With warm summer days here, it is time to transition from red wine focus to white.
Now… not all Chardonnays are created the same. The 2 main styles of Chard to be aware of are: Crisp & Clean and Oakey & Rich. Let’s explore them a bit more …
Crisp & Clean Chardonnays
Fresh, fruitier and zesty, this style of Chardonnay is a lesser known gem. Pure and unoaked, this style of Chard is great for wine lovers who prefer Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.
My ideal pairing for crisp and clean Chard is a beautiful summer salad with grilled chicken, strawberries, mandarin oranges and a zesty salad dressing.
Where you can find great Chards like this? Oregon! Oregon has been turning out some great, unique Chardonnays that contrast the mainstream trend of Chardonnay.
A part of what gives this style of Chardonnay the crisp, clean flavor is where the grapes are grown. Cooler climates produce clean, green flavors with the colder growing seasons.
Additionally, when the grapes were harvested determines the flavor of the wine. According to our friends at Wine Folly, the earlier in the season the grapes are harvested you will experience lemon and green apple notes. While the Chardonnay grapes are harvested later in the season so they are very ripe, flavors of pineapple and fig.
Oakey & Rich Chardonnay
Bold and beautiful, this bodacious style of Chardonnay is a crowd pleaser. Aged in oak barrels this wine delivers a sense of vanilla, baked apple, toasty oak, cinnamon, clove and coconut.
Excellent when paired with rich, creamy meals or an excellent stand alone as a treat. Personally I enjoy pairing creamy pasta dishes or rich risottos. When I am cooking dinner and have an oaked chardonnay planned, I work in toasted almonds into the dish to compliment the wines flavor.
Where can you find mouth watering oakey and rich Chardonnays? New world regions with a lot of sun and warm growing seasons make outstanding. California has established a reputation for bold, beautiful Chards that everyone enjoys.
Want to Learn More About Chardonnay?
Here are some terrific resources that we sampled as we prepared for our Chardonnay blog.
First two are from Wine Folly:
Curious about Other Wines to Pair with Summer? Here are some suggestions from our CKJY Exports team …
American Chardonnay for Export?
No surprise, right? Our CKJY Exports team has several different styles and price points we can help you import to enjoy. Contact us with questions –