Chardonnay grapes are the inspiration behind wines that please white wine drinkers the world over. In fact, Chardonnay remains the best-selling wine in restaurants across North America. Did you know that the most expensive white wines in the world are Chardonnay? A single bottle can fetch nearly 3,500 euros. Clearly, the reputation of this wine precedes itself. It has a lively drinkability, a ripe texture that is friendly to most foods and as a bonus, it is easy to pronounce! To the most dedicated Sommeliers and collectors, Chardonnay is famous because it is a “neutral” variety ~ it goes with everything.
Despite what sounds like a reference to mediocrity, a “neutral” wine grape variety owes its final flavour to the stylistic preference of the winemaker. Another feature of Chardonnay is its strong nod to the place where it was grown. Admiring bidders find themselves anxious to taste the Chardonnay’s roots through the artistry of the winemaker. In Niagara, for instance, limestone is a common element in our vineyards and the grapes themselves prefer limestone in the soil. In Burgundy, France, these earthy locations would be considered Grand Cru places to grow Chardonnay grapes.
These are just a few of the characteristics that help make Chardonnay the most popular white wine in the world. While the wine is dry, it is not perhaps as light-textured as Pinot Grigio. The heft of Chardonnay wine on the palate is intrinsically robust; sometimes as heavy as whole milk. This substantial texture allows it to marry with rich sauces more easily and assertively than its lighter siblings.
Sommeliers often note Chardonnay’s main flavours as pear, apple and a mild citrus, like star-fruit. When aged in oak barrels, Chardonnay easily takes on a toasted, woodsy quality from the wood. These can include the flavours of vanilla, tobacco, licorice and even dill.
More northerly vineyards have their own influence on the flavours of Chardonnay. Niagara vineyards lie along the periphery of the grape growing region and the racy minerality that Chardonnay takes from Niagara’s soil shows up vividly. In turn, this minerality and bright acidity highlight the essence of well-crafted dishes and make them taste even more vivid.
For pairing with food, Chardonnay is the most versatile wine around. Mild pear flavours enhance butter and cream sauces very easily. Spicy foods are moderated by the weight that Chardonnay brings, while more sour flavours make the wine really sing. You will find that mustards, vinaigrettes, bleu cheeses and lighter proteins make natural companions for this easy-to-love wine.
To order your own delicious Chardonnay, see our selection below: