Chardonnay! ~What word did you think I meant? Probably one of the most ubiquitous and popular varieties, Chardonnay is being celebrated today. So in honor of Chardonnay Day, I wanted highlight some of the wonders of this familiar, yet kicky little grape.
One of the seven ‘noble’ varieties, Chardonnay, with it’s higher alcohol and low acidity makes it very easy to drink ~ refreshing with maximum buzz. Its flavours can range from green apple, pear, and citrus (cooler climates) to stone fruits like peach, apricot and nectarine. Cultivated in warmer climates, it tends towards tastes of tropical fruits such as banana, pineapple, mango and kiwi. An oaked Chard may reveal essences of vanilla or coconut if lightly oaked. Heavier oak gives flavours of toast, smoke, and yeast. Malolactic processes bring out the attributes of butter, cream and hazelnut. Mmmhmmm, that’s a lot of taste sensations to pack into one medium sized glass. Maybe we should have two. When paired with the playful and talented Pinot Noir grape, it’s the basis for Champagne.
According to Jancis Robinson, Chardonnay can be aged from between 2-6 years. Chards with that buttery, malolactic vibe have a shorter life span, so it’s best to consume quickly, about a year or so after the vintage date. The ideal serving temperature is lightly chilled; 10-13C (50-55F).
It’s a tough little berry but because of its early bud break, it runs the risk of frost damage in the cooler regions of Canada, New York and Ohio. So tender loving care must be used in nurturing this noble grape.
Although not generally a Chard drinker, I didn’t want the day to pass by without paying a little homage .After reading about the interesting tastes headed my way, I may have been a bit hasty in my bias. A little attitude adjustment can be a good thing. I found a ’10 Cameron Hughes Chard from Napa tucked away in my cellar. It boasts ‘riveting aromatics and unctuous textures of orange blossom, lemon curd, toasted almond and honeysuckle.” It’s the wine that drinks like a meal! But I’m really looking forward to what I experience in my glass.
Happy Chardonnay Day!