Why LOVE Chardonnay?
Question from Anita: Why can one Chardonnay taste entirely different from the next. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it so I find myself avoiding Chardonnay all together.
In a nut shell: Chardonnays can taste widely different because of different winemaking methods and the ripeness of the grape.
In a clam shell: You should love Chardonnay because there is definitely one that’ll suit your palate. Promise! The best thing about Chardonnay is that it can be planted just about anywhere and it’s location will change it’s flavour. If you plant Chardonnay is a cool climate you’ll get apples, pears and citrus, not dissimilar to a dry Riesling. If you plant it in a moderate climate you’re looking at more of a peachy taste with perhaps a little melon and citrus. If it’s hot think tropical fruits like banana, pineapple, mango and fig. Now if that hasn’t sold you (if you don’t enjoy at least one of those flavours, you probably don’t like white wines) this next bit should.
In addition to Chardonnay’s impressive flavour profile, different winemaking techniques will change the wine dramatically. If oak is added to the grape juice during fermentation the wine will take on toasty, vanilla flavours but if it’s a crisp Pinot Gris you’re more accustomed to then stick with an unoaked Chardonnay.
Lastly, if you like that buttery, oily, creamy texture that some Chardonnays have then you’re looking for a wine that’s undergone malolactic fermentation. WTF, you say?!? This is where special yeast is added to soften the harsh malic acid (the acid in apples) into softer lactic acid (found in milk). Yum yum!
So when picking your next Chardonnay combine all that new knowledge – climate, oak or no oak and malolatic fermentation (or not) and you’ll end up with your perfect drop! Yahoooo!
And if you want to read a little more on oak ageing and malolactic fermentation click here.
Image from http://blog.cosentinowinery.com/2012/05/323/