Chardonnay, it’s the wine people seem to love to hate, and yet, Chardonnay is still the most popular grape variety in the United States, and the most widely planted white wine grape across the world. It seems, for as much as Chardonnay may have it’s haters, there are just as many people who absolutely love this white wine. Whether oaked or unoaked Chardonnay is a white wine that is just as perfect on a beach in the summer as it is relaxing by the fire in the winter.
Yet as much as we love or hate Chard, there’s still a lot many of us don’t know about it. Here’s 6 facts about Chardonnay everybody – whether they love it or hate it – should know.
Chardonnay Was Born In France. Burgundy To Be More Specific
That’s right, the ancestral home of this grape is in Burgundy, where the wine the region makes is simply known as white Burgundy, because while there are other white wines made from other white grapes, Chardonnay is the one most prized and seen as truly capturing the region’s incredible terroir.
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Not All Chardonnay Is Buttery
Buttery Chardonnay has nothing to do with oak and everything to do with Malolactic Fermentation. That’s a process where Malic acid, derived from the latin name for “apple” converts to Lactic acid which is derived from the latin name for milk. If the winemaker allows this fermentation to occur – which happens after all the sugars have been converted to alcohol – you get a more buttery and rounded texture. If they don’t, the wine is much more tart and crisp.
If You Don’t Like Flavors Of Vanilla And Toasted Oak, Buy An Unoaked Chardonnay
In the 80’s and early 90’s as the U.S. was going crazy for Chardonnay, California really did a number on the wine, aggressively oaking it, creating wines that were big on flavors of vanilla, toasted marshmallows and wood. People loved them, and some still do, but tastes have changed. If you want something a bit more refreshing and crisp, go unoaked, or try Chablis.
If You’re Drinking Blanc de Blancs Champagne, You’re Drinking Chardonnay
Chardonnay Is Incredibly Easy To Grow
Chardonnay is the most planted grape variety around the world and much of that has to do with its ability to grow almost anywhere. While Pinot Noir – its sibling from Burgundy – can be incredibly fickle, Chardonnay seems to find a home almost anywhere.
Chardonnay Can Pair With Steak
That’s right, if you’ve got a big, rich, California Chardonnay, fire up the grill and throw a few steaks on. You’ll be blown away by how well the wine and the meat work together.