Chardonnay: Why Chardy is Queen

  1. Chardonnay: Why Chardy is Queen
    By Contentious Character News
    05 September Chardonnay: Why Chardy is Queen

     

    It is one of the most graceful words in French, and a very popular white wine. Many have called it Queen of the Grapes (cabernet sauvignon is King). Even so, chardonnay’s image in Australia has been surprisingly contentious!

    It is called Grandma’s drink, chardy and even “really noice”, thanks to the ever-articulate Kath and Kim. (Kim pronounced it “cardonnay, because it has a silent haitch”!)

    Chardonnay has also been unfairly associated with affluent left-wing drinkers in the terms, “chardonnay set” and “champagne socialist”. Unfair to both the drinkers and the wine. Luckily this varietal is versatile, easy to manage and high yielding, and not affected by political prejudice.

    This green grape was first grown in Burgundy in France and particularly in the area of Chablis. You can now find it all over the world in Argentina, California, Chile, Italy, New Zealand and Australia. It thrives in both warm and cold climates. Many chardonnays are used to produce sparkling wines.

    So much taste

    While the grape itself has a neutral taste, soil, climate and aging in oak, create a wide range of enticing flavours. Most Australian chardonnays have plenty of ripe melon, grapefruit and ripe peach fruit. When chardonnay is very ripe, it tastes of tropical pineapple, guava and mango. When barely ripe, more like lemons and green apples.

    Cooler regions, like Canberra, Tasmania and Mornington Peninsula have more subtle characters, with a lot more grapefruit and lime. Cool climate chardonnays tend to express the site of the vineyard, region and season.

    Oaking chardonnay brings in flavours of vanilla, spice, toast and caramel. Meanwhile, the process of aging converts malic into lactic acid, which helps to add a rich buttery flavour.

    Characteristics

    FRUIT: Lime, lemon, apple, pineapple, grapefruit
    ALSO: Honeysuckle, vanilla bean, almond, jasmine
    AGING: 5-10 years in oak
    ACIDITY: Medium high (unoaked cool climate)
    SERVE: Oaked 12 degrees C, unoaked 9 degrees C

    OTHER NAMES: Chablis, Pouilly-Fuissé and Meursault

    Whether you prefer an oaked or unoaked chardonnay, it is easy to pair with your next meal.

    A young unoaked cool climate Chardonnay (like Contentious Character's 2015 Chardonnay) pairs with delicate and light foods. Choose grilled fish, chicken, prawns or sushi. Chardonnay that is well aged in oak and full bodied pairs well with cheddar, foie gras, veal chops and (for the vegetarians who are so often left out of wine pairings) pumpkin ravioli.

    Chardonnay even has its own International Chardonnay Day, on a date in late May. This could be the perfect time to enjoy one of the most expensive chardys in the world, Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet, for somewhere around $US6,000.

    If you would like to treat Grandma to a bottle of her favourite, look no further than a Contentious Character  2004 Chardonnay for $33 or a lighter more contemporary Chardonnay like our 2015 for $35. But if you visit our cellar door to taste it first, you might discover Grandma (or Kath or Kim) knew something you didn’t.

Popular Posts
  • UPCOMING EVENTS October & November
    As usual we have plenty of events to talk about, come along... 2017-09-15
  • Chardonnay: Why Chardy is Queen
      It is one of the most graceful words in... 2017-09-05
  • Contentious Chatter: Plenty of events to talk about
    Whether you come to us, or our wines come to... 2017-05-31
  • Pinot Gris – Grey is the new white
    Sometimes it seems as though a trend finds its way... 2017-05-04
  • Riesling - Let the grapes do the talking
    Riesling is a white variety of grape sadly misunderstood in... 2017-04-20
X