The Best Chardonnay Wines: A Sommelier's Guide

Delve into the world of Chardonnay wines, exploring the differences between new and old, and tips on how to fully enjoy this exquisite wine...
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Chardonnay, one of the most popular white wine varietals, has captivated wine enthusiasts for centuries. With its diverse range of flavours and styles, Chardonnay offers a delightful experience for both novice and seasoned wine drinkers. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of Chardonnay wines, exploring the differences between new and old Chardonnays and providing tips on how to fully enjoy this exquisite wine.

What makes Chardonnay wines unique?

Chardonnay grapes are known for their versatility, allowing winemakers to produce a wide array of styles. From crisp and unoaked to rich and buttery, Chardonnay wines can cater to various palates. The primary flavours found in this exquisite wines include apple, pear, citrus, and tropical fruits, with secondary notes of vanilla, butter, and oak.

Understanding the difference between new and old Chardonnays

New Chardonnays, also known as unoaked or stainless steel Chardonnays, are fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks or neutral oak barrels. These wines tend to be lighter, crisper, and fruit-forward, allowing the natural flavours of the grape to shine through. On the other hand, old Chardonnays, often referred to as oaked Chardonnays, are aged in oak barrels, resulting in a richer, creamier texture and flavours of vanilla, caramel, and toast.

How to enjoy Chardonnay wines

1. Serve at the right temperature: Chardonnay is best served chilled but not too cold. Aim for a temperature between 7°c and 13°c (45°F and 55°F) to fully appreciate its aromas and flavours.

2. Use the right glassware: Opt for a medium-sized, tulip-shaped glass to enhance the wine's aromas and concentrate the flavours.

3. Take your time to swirl and sniff: Before taking a sip, gently swirl the wine in your glass to release its aromas. Take a moment to inhale the scents, identifying the various fruit and oak notes.

4. Savour the flavours: When tasting Chardonnay, let the wine linger on your palate, allowing the flavours to unfold. Pay attention to the balance between fruitiness, acidity, and oakiness.

5. Pair with complementary foods: Chardonnay pairs well with a variety of dishes. For unoaked Chardonnays, try pairing with seafood, salads, or light pasta dishes. Oaked Chardonnays complement richer dishes like roasted chicken, creamy pasta, or buttery seafood.

6. Experiment with different styles: Explore the world of Chardonnay by trying wines from different regions and winemaking techniques. Each bottle offers a unique experience, showcasing the diversity of this beloved varietal.

Whether you prefer the crispness of a new Chardonnay or the complexity of an old one, there is a Chardonnay wine out there to suit your taste. By understanding the differences between new and old Chardonnays and following these tips, you can fully appreciate the nuances and pleasures that these great wines have to offer. Cheers to exploring the world of Chardonnay!

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