Happy International Chardonnay Day!
Happy Memorial Day weekend ! And what a perfect weekend to celebrate International Chardonnay Day, it’s one of the most recognized grape varieties in the world – and for good reason! To help the celebration, French Corner Cellars would like to give you a little background on what is very likely to be in your glass as you read this.
Chardonnay is a grape that is literally grown in every country that makes wine and known under various, obscure names such as Morillon (Austria), Gamay Blanc, Melon d’Arbois (Jura) or Petite Sainte Marie (Savoie). That being said (and we know we say this all the time), the grape has its origins in France, more specifically Burgundy where it is supposed to be a crossing between Pinot Noir and Gouais.. For many people reading this, wines made from Chardonnay are always big, oaky, buttery, and loaded with tropical fruit, and so many people think that’s what all Chardonnay taste like. But what many people are beginning to discover is that Chardonnay is more of a grape (much like many grapes) whose flavor profile depends on how it produced and where its grown.
Take a thin-skinned grape like chardonnay and grow it in a cooler climate, with elevation, and age it in steel or concrete (e.g. Northern Burgundy), and you will get a wine that bears little resemblance to its warmer climate siblings (e.g. California). The big, round, oaky, and tropical fruit laden wine that everyone knows is presented with much more crisp acidity, fine mineral notes, floral notes, orchard fruit, and a kiss of tropical fruit. Now these are both extreme ends of the chardonnay spectrum, once you get into fermentation in oak vs. aging in oak, using older barrels, aging in partial oak, partial steel, etc., the wines are more varied then most people give credit towards. As Chardonnay is a very subtly-flavored grape, winemaking will have a significant impact on the final product.
The takeaway of all this is never stop tasting wines, never say you dislike a grape variety, because there are far more to them than you can imagine, try different countries, different regions, different terroirs and different producers. Do this as much as possible, and we guarantee that you will be surprised at what you find. As Chardonnay shows a large range of flavor profiles, serving temperature will vary. Unoaked Chardonnays or with a higher acidity (Chablis for instance) will be served around 52*F, while oaked wines that have undergone a malolactic fermentation (creating the creamy, buttery flavors) will show well around 58*F. The best companion to your Chardonnays would be our DIVA Evolution or Revolution range that allows the wine to be kept at the perfect temperature never compromising on the experience!