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Chardonnay Wines

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Definition: Chardonnay, America's number one selling white wine varietal, continues to climb the production ladders to emerge as the most beloved of dry white wines in the U.S. The Chardonnay grape itself also contributes to the wine's popularity. Made from green-skinned grapes, Chardonnay is a relatively “low-maintenance” vine that adapts well to a variety of climates, resulting in fairly high yields worldwide. These high yields translate into millions of bottles of Chardonnay wines. As a result, you can buy a good bottle of Chardonnay for under $15. Burgundy is Chardonnay's motherland, with white Burgundy (aka "Bourgogne Blanc") and Chablis the common bottle label clues for the grape when place names reign.

Flavor Profile:

Chardonnays boast an impressive range of flavors from the expected buttered, oak influences to the fresh, fruit flavors of apple, pear, tropical, citrus and melon, leaving a lasting palate impression.

Food Pairing

Chardonnay will pair well with poultry dishes, pork, seafood or recipes that have a heavy cream or butter base. Also consider pairing the fresh flavor profile of an unoaked Chardonnay with guacamole, garlic, salads, grilled shrimp or even curry dishes.

With a long and distinguished following, Chardonnay enjoys a very versatile image, with vintners offering a broad range of styles and structures. From rich, buttery Chardonnays that boast power and presence to the unoaked fruit-forward Chardonnays that allow the varietal character and expression to be in the spotlight, this white wine is capable of accomodating most palates and just as many food pairing combinations.

If you prefer a big buttery Chardonnay then look for ones that have been through malolactic fermentation, as they will yield the compound diacetyl, which makes up the dominant scent of fake butter used in microwave popcorn and imitation butter flavorings used in baked goods.

Chardonnay is an international grape variety that grows well in a number of regions. Keep an eye out for Chardonnay from California, Chile, Australia, Burgundy, and South Africa to get a glimpse of the range of styles and flavors across a wide array of price points.

Key Producers

Adelsheim

Beringer

Bouchard Aine & Fils

Chalk Hill

Chateau Montelena

Chateau St. Jean

Clos du Bois

Clos Du Val

Clos Pegase

Concannon

Cono Sur

Eola Hills

Faiveley

Ferrari-Carano

Freestone

Francis Ford Coppola

Grgich Hills

Huge Bear

JJ Vincent

Kendall-Jackson

Kistler

Landmark

Lindemans

Louis Jadot Marcassin

Robert Oatley

Rodney Strong

Shafer Vineyards

Souverain

Stony Hill

Pronunciation: Shar-doe-nay
Also Known As: Chablis, White Burgundy
Common Misspellings: Chardonay Chardonnai
Examples:
Many restaurants top their white wine lists with a classic Chardonnay, a versatile wine that will complement many entrees.
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