Should You Give Chardonnay Another Chance?
There are so many reasons to love Chardonnay. In fact, we’ve serenaded the “king of white wine” often over the years, from its fascinating journey to South Africa to notes on how to pair Chardonnay with food and even asked why it’s still the most eligible bachelor. Yet despite the many things this buttery delight has going for it, Chardonnay is still one of the most controversial white wine varietals. For some reason, like Merlot after the release of the film Sideways in 2004, Chardonnay fell out of favour with the popular crowd, possibly sometime after the release of the first Bridget Jones film (more on that later). It seems that for some people, Chardonnay is a bit like coriander. You either love it or you hate it. But when last did you ask yourself, do I still feel so strongly about it?
To give you a bit of background, let’s jump into Chardonnay’s origins. The term Bourgogne Chardonnay refers to Chardonnay from this varietal’s historical heartland, which is also the home of the equally complex Pinot Noir varietal.
Outside of France’s Burgundy region, Chardonnay tends to be more heavily oaked, like in California and Australia. South African Chardonnay also errs on the side of overpronounced oak, although unoaked Chardonnay has become increasingly popular. In essence, oak doesn’t define Chardonnay, which is often what puts people off.
A TWIST OF THE ARM
Because this isn’t like deciding whether to move house, you’re not exactly going to draw up a pros-and-cons list to decide whether to give Chardonnay another try. But why give it the time of day? Well, Chardonnay has a lot going for it:
· It’s one of the few age worthy white wines, especially when it’s good.
· It’s totally appropriate for any season, because of its varied and nuanced flavour profile, which could elicit descriptions like lean and mineral, zesty and vibrant, creamy and buttery, toasted with whispers of vanilla, aromatic and floral, or a combination of all of the above.
· Saying you don’t like Chardonnay is like saying you don’t like soup. Which soup?
A QUICK QUIZ
To establish your position on Chardonnay, this quiz was designed as a short conversation about this revered and reviled varietal. Even if you love a Chardie, playing devil’s advocate by running through the varying opinions on the topic, you might pick up a few things you never knew, which might even deepen your relationship with your favourite white wine. Start at the top and work your way down. Above all, have fun!
THE LAST STAND
In the end, Chardonnay is one of the most complex and multi-layered varietals – and deserving of so much more than a thumbs-up or a thumbs down. Whether you’re a lifelong groupie, a recent convert, or never-to-be-convinced, at the very least, Chardonnay is worthy of a passionate conversation around the dinner table.