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All About Chardonnay:

Great Grape, Bad Rap

Chardonnay wine, Chardonnay ratings, Chardonnay reviews

Chardonnay is often a polarizing grape variety among wine drinkers: for some it is THE white wine, while for others they live by 'ABC': anything BUT Chardonnay. While this may be just a bit of a backlash to this wine's soaring popularity over the past 30 years, Chardonnay also has a bit of a split personality.

Chardonnay is both a noble grape variety that can be tremendously expressive at its best, and numbingly generic at its more mediocre. When grown under less optimal conditions or with less care, Chardonnay tends to have somewhat neutral flavor. This makes it a blank canvas for the tricks used to craft it, such as extended aging in heavily toasted oak barrels - or long exposure to cheaper oak chips in the case of the less expensive versions.

Although they may be from different regions, vintages and wineries these types of Chardonnays taste almost identical - heavy, oaky, and buttery. For those who want their wine to be reliable and consistent, that makes it an ideal choice. For those who prefer a little more adventure and variety, they'll choose anything else. I propose a middle ground: seeking out those Chardonnays that made the grape's reputation and enjoying them for their rich sophistication and elegance.

Chardonnay Fast Facts
- Bottled by varietal name (Chardonnay) except in France
- Bottled by regional name in France: Burgundy/Bourgogne,
- Excellent aging potential among white wines, from 3-5 years for
  better bottlings, up to 30+ in rare cases
- Delicious paired with creamy cheeses and sauces, crab, chicken
- Easy Food and Wine pairings with Chardonnay:
     Crab Cakes with Fresh Herbs & Spicy Aioli Recipe
     Chicken Breast with Mediterranean Stuffing Recipe
     Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

Here are some of our favorites:

2007 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, Napa, California ($40)
Bright and vibrant, with green apple and pear flavors,
and the hint of a spicy touch of oak.

2007 La Crema Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, California ($20)
This is a classic California buttery style,
but still with freshness, fruit and balance.

2007 Joseph Drouhin, M√Ęcon-Villages, Burgundy ($10)
Creamy and delicate at the same time,
with mouthwatering pear and apple flavors.

2006 Estancia Chardonnay,
Monterey, Pinnacles Ranch ($11)
Fresh and zesty, with a little touch of cream on the finish.
Not overly complex, but very tasty.

Next Article:
  Lake County Sauvignon Blanc
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