When it comes to chardonnay, there are two different types: oaked and unoaked. Both have their own unique flavor profiles that make them ideal for different occasions. Oaked chardonnay is known for its buttery, creamy texture, while unoaked chardonnay is known for being lighter and brighter. So, which one should you choose? Here's a look at the different styles of chardonnay to help you make the best choice for your next glass.

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OAKED OR UNOAKED?

There's a lot of debate in the wine world about whether oaked or unoaked chardonnay is better. Some people prefer the fruity, fresh flavors of unoaked chardonnay, while others find that oaked chardonnay has more complex flavor profiles. So, which is better? It really depends on your personal preference. 

‘Oaked’ chardonnay is a rich, full-bodied wine with a complex flavor profile. It is often described as having a "buttery" or "creamy" texture, due to the influence of oak during the winemaking process. An oaked chardonnay is when the wine is stored in oak barrels after the fermentation process. Oak barrels add both flavor and structure to wine. The tannins in oak help to round out the wine, while the oak itself imparts a subtle flavor. Chardonnay is a particularly good candidate for barrel aging, as it can handle the strong flavors that come from oak.

Barrel aging chardonnay can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. The longer the chardonnay ages in oak, the more pronounced the flavors will be. If you're looking to add some complexity to your chardonnay, barrel aging is a great option.

But unoaked chardonnay can be just as delicious – and sometimes even more so. If you’re looking for a chardonnay that is light, fresh, and crisp, then an unoaked variety is definitely worth trying. One of the great things about unoaked chardonnay is that it allows the true flavor of the grapes to shine through.

The common flavours often found an un-oaked chardonnay

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Green Apple

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Pear

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Floral

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Mineral

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Chalk

The common flavours often found an oaked chardonnay

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Yellow Apple

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Butter

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Vanilla

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Citrus

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Pineapple

CHARDONNAY GROWING REGIONS

There are many different chardonnay wine regions, each with their own climate and soil. The Burgundy region in France is one of the most well-known for its chardonnay wines. The climate is cool and the soils are rich in clay.

Loire Valley in France is another popular region for chardonnay wines. The climate is moderate and the soils are rich in limestone. The Champagne region in France is also known for its chardonnay wines. The climate is cool and the soils are rich in chalk.

The New World regions of Australia, California, and New Zealand are also becoming increasingly popular for their chardonnay wines. The climate in these regions is generally warmer than in Europe, and the soils vary depending on the location.

No matter what region it comes from, a good chardonnay should have a balance of acidity and fruitiness, with a creamy texture and a long finish. When shopping for chardonnay, look for labels that indicate the style of wine, such as "oaked" or "un-oaked." Oakier chardonnays will have more of a buttery flavor, while un-oaked chardonnays will be more fruity.

THE HISTORY OF CHARDONNAY

The Chardonnay grape is thought to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France. The first documented mention of the grape variety was in the 1530s, in the Martinière Dictionary of the French wine writer François Rabelais. It is believed that the grape was created by crossing a Pinot Noir with a Gouais Blanc. The grape quickly spread to the rest of France and eventually to other European countries like Italy and Spain. In the 17th century, the grape variety was brought to the New World by French settlers. It quickly became one of the most popular grapes in North America, especially in the United States. Today, Chardonnay is grown in almost every wine-producing country in the world.

CHARDONNAY FOOD PAIRING

A great chardonnay will generally harmonise and amplify the taste of these foods.

Cream Sauce

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A crisp and fruit forward style Chardonnay, this wine is smooth, easy drinking and oh-so-satisfying. Light straw in color, her alluring aromas of juicy mango, pear and honeydew melon accentuate mouthwatering flavors of nectarine, freshly cut apple and crème brûlée.

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