Chardonnay Wine Grape Flavors & Aromas Hot

Chardonnay
Chardonnay Wine Grapes
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Grape Facts

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Chardonnay is the most common and well known variety of white grape in wine production today. The most prominent flavor in Chardonnay wine comes from oak used in the wine production process. Other flavors and aromas include fruit, lemon, melon, grass, and vanilla. Some other characteristics of Chardonnay wines are high acidity, golden colors, and a velvety feel in the mouth.

One reason why Chardonnay wine is so popular is because Chardonnay grapes are grown nearly everywhere that wine is produced. Chardonnay grapes are relatively hardy and are able to survive in a variety of environments. Chardonnays have also become very popular, probably the most popular of all white wines today. It thus for good reasons that Chardonnay is regarded as the "king" of white grape varieties.

Chardonnay is used in so many different places to produce so many different wines because the Chardonnay grapes themselves are relatively neutral in flavor. Most of their flavor is derived first from the conditions in which the grapes are grown and second from the conditions of the wine production. This makes it easier for different wineries to produce markedly different Chardonnay wines.

Another reason why Chardonnay does so well is that is an aggressive plant, quickly growing very large leaves to take in the sun's energy. The production of large leaves, though, takes energy away from the production of grapes, so vintners have to be aggressive themselves in trimming back the leaves and stressing the vines so that they produce more and better grapes.

Chardonnay Wine & Oak

Chardonnay wines may be best known for being "oaked," which means being treated with oak flavoring. People who like Chardonnay are often focusing on the oak flavors and some confuse the flavor of oak for that of Chardonnay itself. There are several different ways wine producers can treat Chardonnay grapes with oak:

  • Aging in expensive French oak casks
  • Aging in cheap oak casks
  • Soaking oak chips in the wine
  • Pouring liquid "essence of oak" in the wine

The first options produce better, more expensive Chardonnay wines while the latter options allow for the creation of cheap, mass-produced Chardonnay wines.

Not every Chardonnay is treated with oak. If the bottle of Chardonnay wine doesn't say anything you can assume that it has been oaked in some fashion, but you can find "naked" or unoaked Chardonnays. These are common in a few regions, like northeastern Italy, but they are produced elsewhere.

Unoaked or less heavily oaked Chardonnays tend to have lighter, delicate flavors which can be matched with a fairly wide variety of dishes. If you find an unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay that you already enjoy, you should try experimenting with different dishes.

Wines Produced with Chardonnay Grapes

It's common for wines produced with Chardonnay grapes to simply be called Chardonnay wines, there are several important wines which have names that don't reveal this origin. These wines may be produced entirely with Chardonnay grapes or they may be blended wines in which Chardonnay is the primary component.

  • Chablis
  • White Burgundy
  • Champagne

Video

Types of White Wines: Chardonnay White Wines

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