Welcome to the first fucking installment of Learn Your Wine. Today, we're going to discuss betchy white wine, Chardonnay (also referred to as Chablis and White Burgundy).
Before you hyperventilate, realize that I'm here to help. We're going to get through this and when it's all over, you'll be the betchiest wine snob with the knowledge to back it up.
Chardonnay is named after the grape variety used to make it. So, Chardonnay is actually the name of a green-skinned grape that originated in France (like most great things). If you didn't know (ugh), green-skinned grapes make white wine and red-skinned grapes make red wine. Growing the Chardonnay grape is seen as the “beginner's” step into wine. Let's continue.
Chardonnay is available in three sort of “varieties”, and knowing these varieties will help next time you’re trying to describe what you want to the nice man at the liquor store/restaurant.
- The first is a crisp Chardonnay, which isn’t going to have a lot of that oak flavor Chardonnay is kind of known for. Most cheaper wines are going to be crisp since it’s like, apparently super expensive to age things in oak barrels.
- The second would be an oaky Chardonnay, which is going to have some fruit flavor but a lot of like, woodiness (lolz) from the oak barrel the wine was aged in.
- Lastly, there’s the elegant variety, which has the telltale buttery finish we all probs know, plus there’s a lot of fruit flavor that you’ll have a hard time putting your finger on. Also, more oak.
Depending on where it’s grown, a Chardonnay can taste like plum, pear, and apples (for those grapes grown in a colder climate). However, for Chardonnays made in Australia/New Zealand/warmer locales, the flavors can get more citrusy with hints of peach, melon, and even banana (ew). Also, depending on the variety, you’ll have more fruit, more oak, or more butter flavor that’ll hit your nose first.
Ok – what your bottle of Chardonnay tastes good with is going to depend on the “type” which we discussed before:
- If you buy a bottle of un-oaked or “naked” Chardonnay, it’s going to pair super well with fish, seafood, and light appetizers like cheese and crackers.
- A bottle of oaky/woody Chardonnay is going to be delish with smoked white meat or food with a bit of a bolder flavor (no delicate dishes here). Try with spicy Asian (or trashy Chinese from around the corner) or even garlic and guacamole dips.
- Lastly, a buttery or elegant type of Chardonnay is going to go well with grilled chicken, pork, and veal.
This concludes our first installment of Learn Your Wine. Stay classy.