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The Facts about Chardonnay 

Chardonnay Grapes Make some of the worlds greatest winesChardonnay is probably today's most popular wine grape with good reason as it produces some of the greatest dry white wines in the world. (such as White Burgundies as well as being one of the main grapes used in Champagnes)

Chardonnay vines are at home in almost every wine producing nation on the planet, for two key reasons.

1.  It is a very adaptable grape and can deal with a great deal of climatic variance.

2.  The simple fact that the name Chardonnay on a wine label is practically a guaranteed sales generator.

If you were to ask many wine drinkers who enjoy Chardonnay to describe the "taste of Chardonnay" what they would end up describing would actually be the characteristics of oak on the wine rather then the characteristics of the grape itself.  Common terms used to describe Chardonnay's include terms like toasty, smoky, spicy, vanilla and butterscotch but when you taste those it is oak you are experiencing.

Why is Chardonnay so often "oaked" as it has been termed?  There are three key answers to that question.

1.  The flavor profile of Chardonnay is very compatible with oak

2.  The most famous of all Chardonnay based wines (white Burgundy) are aged in oak.

3.  The simple fact that many wine drinkers really enjoy the flavors contributed by oak.

When Chardonnay is not oaked (such are in Chablis, Wines from Northeastern Italy and in some California Wines marketed as "unoaked") the flavors and aromas that come through include fruit such as apple, tropical fruits especially pineapple in warmer climates.  Chardonnay also can display subtle earthy aromas like minerals and mushrooms.  Chardonnay wine is generally medium to high in acidity and is usually full bodied compared to other white wines.

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