What’s in My Glass? Chardonnay
Chardonnay has actually been in my glass for the past 7 days, because I bought a boatload of the stuff to bribe give all my loving friends who helped me move apartments in the wake of Hurricane Sandy last week.
Why choose Chardonnay? Because it’s a damn versatile varietal (Ahem, the 2nd most planted variety in the world) and I knew there would be a range of palates to please.
Essentially, this little green grape is relatively neutral–like a naked mannequin–so winemakers across the globe have been known to dress it up by using a variety of winemaking styles. (Think: KMart vs. Macy’s NYC mannequins and everything in between.)
The first bottle we popped was Joseph Drouhin La Fornet–a 2009 from Burgundy, the alleged birthplace of Chardonnay. Strangely, for a variety I drink damn-near constantly this bottle was a true surprise. First off, it said Chardonnay on the label (in a characteristicaly un-French style). Normally, a French Chardonnay would be light and bright–lots of fruitiness without the heavy, sultry honey and spice flavors of American or Australian juice. In reality, La Fornet was super oaky, without much fruit flavor and may have surprised but didn’t delight. Instead of delivering fruity balance and harmony, this juice was like a woman who wears bright red lipstick with smoky eye makeup and false lashes–in need of a reminder that sometimes less is more.
Robert Mondavi Private Selection 2011 Chardonnay was the moving slaves friends’ California juice, and was a good example from the state that was the first to put down uppity French wines in a blind tasting over 30 years ago. Over 25% of the world’s Chardonnay vines are in California, so it’s no surprise the state has a signature super-fruit/oaky style. This $11 bottle wasn’t overly aromatic, but had very pleasant fresh apple flavors, and citrus elements that made it agreeable with all sorts of crunchy, salty snack food.
Trapiche’s Broquel 2006 Chardonnay provided a non-Californian New World comparison. The Argentine juice was a big hitter (Think: David Ortiz). Slow-moving and thick across my palate it was buttery and rich in all the right places, with bits of vanilla and ripe fruit that kept things interesting. It was a natural choice while unpacking sweaters, and also alongside roasted chicken
(And nobody complained when all 3 were served next to a mountain of kettle-cooked potato chips after they’d carried dressers and boxes up three flights of stairs. Palate pleasing variety to a T.)
Laura Loves: The fact that Chardonnay also makes fantastic Champagne and sparkling wine. (Like this one, or this one.)
This Chardonnay varietal chart from Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews:
Fun Facts: Chardonnay became SO poular, and then SO Unpopular its haters created their own acroynm, ABC: Anything But Chardonnay
Surprisingly, the domain ‘Chardonnay.com’ isn’t owned by a wine company or even grape enthusiast, but instead for private sailboat charters.
Chard in 140 Characters: Most popular grape! + or – oak/minerailty/warmth of climate=a style for every1. try 1 or 7.