I always smile when someone tells me they don’t like chardonnay. “So, you don’t drink champagne?”
Chardonnay is of course one of the 3 dominant grapes used in Champagne production.
Whether it was the character on Footballers Wives (other crap 00’s TV series are available) or the abundance of baby girls being named Chardonnay throughout the 90’s, the popularity has been on decline over the last 20 years.
And when you ask an ABCer they don’t really have an answer…
But there is some depth to the divisive nature of the variety. Chardonnay is one of the most abundantly grown grape varieties and so the net result is a lot of mass-produced wines. Particularly from Australia and the US.
These vineyards cover thousands of acres of land and produce identical grapes in high volume and low-quality grapes. The large growing area mean that grapes are machine picked.
Winemakers producing familiar low priced supermarket wines use higher quantities of chemicals to ensure consistent flavour. In mass produced chardonnay, the use of wood chips rather than oak barrels leads to an artificial tasting oakyness. Perhaps this could be the turn off.
However, some of the best wines in the world are from Chardonnay. You only need to visit Burgundy and discover the rich, creamy wholesome beautiful ageable Chardonnay wines (can you tell I’m a fan?).
Perhaps an introduction to Chardonnay would be a Chablis, an area of Burgundy where the only permitted grape variety is Chardonnay but they aren’t allowed to be matured in oak.
For a cheaper wine with similar style to a Burgundy white, try Montsablé from Languedoc in the South of France. It is a clean wine with complex fruit flavours and hints of toffee and vanilla.
“Tastes like a fruit salad sweet with a creamy cinnamon frosting”
This full-bodied wine partners perfectly with rich food such as roast chicken. The oak flavours also pair beautifully with a creamy smoked fish pie.
Let us know if we convert you…
Photo credit - Tim Mossholder, Chardonnay Lane in California.