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Last Updated on December 16, 2023
Do you love chardonnay? If you do, you surely have tried different ways to enjoy it. For instance, a glass of this versatile wine is perfect when you’re craving some chill time after a tiring day at work. It’s also a popular choice for entertaining guests whenever you have an event or celebration at home.
Chardonnay is a white grape variety with green skin, and it originally came from the Burgundy region of France. However, chardonnay wine is also currently produced in different countries including New Zealand, the USA, and Australia. Since each variety comes with distinct flavors, this means that chardonnay is quite a versatile and piquant selection.
The Different Chardonnay Styles
The taste of chardonnay vastly differs depending on where the grapes are grown. You’ll recognize how the different styles of chardonnay vary from one another if you know how they were crafted.
If you claim to be a wine connoisseur and you want to learn more about chardonnay, you should familiarize yourself with the different styles of this popular wine:
- Lightly Oaked Chardonnay: The light and quintessential creaminess of oak make this chardonnay style taste buttery, oaky, and fruity all at once. When lightly oaked, the wine is vibrantly flavored with citrus and white nectarine. You can also taste warm notes of spice and vanilla, which bring out the fruitiness and aroma of tropical fruits like papaya, lemon, mango, and pineapple.
- Unoaked Chardonnay: When Chardonnay is categorized as unoaked, it means that the wine is crafted by aging or fermenting them in stainless steel containers instead of the traditional oak barrels. As a result, its flavor will be crisper and drier than oaked chardonnay.
- Aged Or Barrel Fermented Chardonnay: When Chardonnay is aged or fermented in barrels, the flavor is gently infused with a toasty and buttery taste. When fermented in temperature-controlled barrels, the varietal character of chardonnay is retained, bringing out brighter fruit aromas.
The lightest style and taste of chardonnay will be the unoaked one, while you can expect the richest flavor and aroma from aged or barrel-fermented chardonnay.
Best Foods To Pair With Chardonnay
There’s no doubt that a glass of chardonnay can be revered depending on your mood. Drinking it while reading a book or star gazing by the porch is already pretty satisfying. However, it wouldn’t hurt to know and explore other possible ways to enjoy chardonnay on a different level.
One thing you can consider is to try different foods that pair well with chardonnay. Don’t worry because the options are practically vast and you can surely find something that you’ll fancy.
Here are some popular and great-tasting food choices that you can relish together with your sparkling chardonnay:
White wines, like chardonnay, actually prompt the beginning of a gathering or event. This means that whether or not a main dish or meal is to follow, chardonnay is already perfect when paired even with just appetizers.
If you prefer unoaked chardonnay, you might find its flavor to shine more brightly if you eat it with fresh tomatoes. Oaked chardonnay, on the other hand, often best goes well with cooked appetizers such as caramelized onion, pumpkin, and Ricotta Bruschetta.
- Cheese And Nuts
When pairing chardonnay with cheese, there’s a principle that you might want to consider. The lightest colors of cheese, such as goat cheeses, are best paired with unoaked and pale-yellow chardonnay. If you’re more of an oaked chardonnay type of person, you’ll find its flavor to be more enhanced when you enjoy it with creamy cheeses, like sheep’s milk and cow.
Depending on your preference, cheese and chardonnay can be served either before or after a meal. For most European people, the cheese is often brought out just before dessert. In the US, it’s more of a snack that’s lightly served any time of the meal. Whichever you prefer, just make sure to serve your cheese along with the best bottles of chardonnay that you have.
When it comes to nuts that go well with chardonnay, the tried and tested ones include almonds and hazelnuts. You’ll find that the fruity and rich taste of this white wine is complimented greatly by the saltiness and simplicity of these nuts, thus making them a perfect combination.
Seafood and fish are other food options that beautifully pair with chardonnay. The good thing about seafood is that they’re not as heavy as red meats, but still equally satisfying. If you need some help with what seafood and fish to serve and enjoy with chardonnay, here are some suggestions:
- Shellfish like mussels and clams
- Pan-seared salmon
- Grilled fish
- Grilled shrimp
- Crab cakes
- Seafood chowder
There are several recipes that you can find online whenever you need a quick and easy-to-prepare pairing with your favorite chardonnay wine. You can also roast vegetables like zucchini or asparagus to serve a variety of flavors and aroma.
Most chardonnay lovers prefer to drink their wine with meat dishes that are packed with proteins. A buttery oaked chardonnay will be more exquisite if you pair it with steaks, like rib-eye or sirloin. If you prefer pork, you can choose from different pork meals and recipes but roast pork is often the best pairing that goes with chardonnay.
Here are some pork recipes to check out:
- Roast pork with lemon
- White sausages
- Pork loin in apricot glaze
- Pork chops with calvados and cream
For poultry, you can go with roast chicken with herbs, turkey, chicken pot pie, pecan chicken salad, and chicken in mustard sauce.
Who wouldn’t enjoy wine paired with pasta in creamy and rich sauces? Cream-based sauces with oil and butter are usually the perfect choice when you want a pasta dish that won’t overpower the flavor of your chardonnay. Fettuccine alfredo, pasta creamy chicken sauce, and creamy pasta primavera are some of the recipes you can choose from. Tomato-based pasta will also work, especially if you pair it with unoaked chardonnay.
Chardonnay Saves The Day
Chardonnay pairs well with almost anything even when you have the most delicate palate. The key is to know which chardonnay style you prefer the most and then go from there.
There’s absolutely no judgment when it comes to your preferences. After all, wines like chardonnay are meant to be appreciated in any way possible, hence you don’t need to struggle so much when it comes to choosing the best foods to pair with it. It all boils down to what your tongue is craving at the moment.