What is Chardonnay?
Learn about this famous white wine and how to pair Chardonnay with different dishes. Read up on our expert tasting notes and try out our perfect pairings
Discover more about this popular grape and the best dishes to enhance the flavours of this versatile white wine.
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What is Chardonnay wine?
Chardonnay is probably the best known and the most widespread of all grape varieties. Originally French, it takes its name from a village in the Burgundy region of France. French Chardonnay often won’t say ‘Chardonnay’ on the bottle because the specific place in Burgundy where it’s from is considered more important. In the new world (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia etc.), the bottle will say Chardonnay. Chardonnay is one of the three principal grapes of Champagne, along with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. If a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine says ‘Blanc de Blancs’, it means it’s all Chardonnay. Chardonnay is now grown all over the world, from New Zealand to England, and makes wines that can be opulent, oaky and buttery, or lean and piercing with everything in-between. If your last experience of this variety was something sweet and oak-chipped from the 1990s, think again, as there’s a Chardonnay for everyone.
What does Chardonnay wine taste like?
Fruit flavours to look for include citrus, peach and melon, moving to pineapple in warmer climates. Chardonnay has a particular affinity with oak – flavours of vanilla, cloves, coffee, coconut and hazelnuts are signs of oak influence. If you like oak, look for Californian wines or pricier Burgundies like Pouilly-Fuissé. If you prefer a more mineral style, seek out Chablis wines.
What dishes go well with Chardonnay wine?
Due to Chardonnay’s highly versatile taste, it can be paired with many different foods. Due to its strong flavour, it is good to pair Chardonnay with mild, buttery or creamy dishes – like our creamy tomato risotto. Chardonnay is also excellent paired with seafood, so why not check out our brilliant seafood recipes? To complement oaky Chardonnay, pair it with foods that have toasty flavours, such as our root vegetable tatin with candied nuts & blue cheese. Play to ripe Chardonnay’s impression of sweetness with ingredients such as corn, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and foods caramelised from roasting or grilling, like crisp-skinned roast chicken.
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