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Chardonnay or Chard-Oh-Nay?

Chardonnay or Chard-Oh-Nay?

Chardonnay or Chard-Oh-Nay?

Chardonnay or Chard-Oh-Nay?

A person orders a glass of white wine in a bar but when offered a Chardonnay as the choice replies with "I'm not drinking that stuff" and asks instead for a glass of chilled Chablis.

What's wrong with that scene?

Apart from the fact that the person has an attitude problem it's pretty obvious to a wine-lover that they clearly know little about wine.
Before I go further I'll explain to those who don't know that Chablis is made from the Chardonnay grape.

I hear people revolting over Chardonnay (or Chard-Oh-Nay!) all the time and to be honest it makes me a bit mad.
Firstly, it's the rude "I'm not drinking that" attitude. As if their rudeness makes them an expert. Take a seat, there's loads of people who really do know a lot about wine and most of them would never speak like that.

And secondly, I get it, you're not a fan of Chardonnay but if you actually tried and tasted some of Chardonnay's many faces you may actually have a pleasant experience and loose the attitude. There's never an excuse to be rude!

So why the rant?

To let you know that all Chardonnay's are not created equally and there should be no need to hear the Chard-Oh-Nay cry ever again.
Bare with me, I'll explain and it might make it easy the next time you're choosing a glass.

Chardonnay or Chard-Oh-Nay?

Chardonnay - A white grape variety, grown all over the world.
Producing a high yield it grows super easily with an ok resistance to rot and mould.
So, wine makers love Chardonnay for obvious reasons.

The thing about Chardonnay is that it's a bit of a chameleon.
Chardonnay is a very neutral grape that easily adapts to the characteristics of where it is grown.
It grows well in both cool and warm climates, thrives in all types of soils and depending on how it's vinified (made) it may or may not have been shown some oak and therefore gone through a secondary (malolactic) fermentation that leaves the wine with softer acidity, stronger fruit flavours and with a buttery mouth feel.
So "Chards" from different regions are rarely the same.

For example:

In cool climates (such as Chablis in Burgundy and the Carneros AVA of California), Chardonnay tends to have a medium to light body with noticeable acidity and flavours of green plum, apple and pear. 

In warmer locations (such as the Adelaide Hills and Mornington Peninsula in Australia and Gisborne and Marlborough region of New Zealand) the flavours become more citrus, peach and melon while in very warm locations (such as the Central Coast AVA of California) more fig and tropical fruit notes such as banana and mango come out.
(Quote from Wikipedia)

So that makes sense but here's the problem with Chard-Oh-Nay:

Because "Chard" is so adaptable and grows like a weed, it's been used....all over the world, and not all the results have been good ones.
The wine making world has progressed so much in the last 20 years, there have been lots of growing pains and because it's so adaptable "Chard" became a victim of that growth.
It's been experimented with in most countries especially the US and Australia where it was heavily planted and shown a heavy amount of oak leaving wines so syrupy and "thick" that many found the wine hard to drink.
Therefore a bad reputation followed and quality Chardonnay was hard to find and expensive when you did.
Things have changed fortunately, new controls are in place and the heavy use of oak is seen less and less although some "Chards" are still ridiculously priced.

Chardonnay or Chard-Oh-Nay?

But don't forget where "Chard" originates from. 

Burgundy in France is the home of "Chard" where it is the primary white grape for world renowned Grand Cru wines such as Chablis, Montrachet and Mersault. It is also the white grape variety used  in Champagne. I'd find it hard to believe that anyone has ever turned their nose up at a glass of either. If you have, you need your head seeing to!!

In future, before you go all Chard-Oh-Nay, ask a couple of questions.
Ask where the wine comes from, take note of the info above and use it to your benefit.
Today's "Chards" are nothing like the wines that brought on their bad reputation and rarely are they as bad as you think they are.
If in doubt ask for a quick taster, you might be surprised.
If you want a real "Chard" treat splash out on one of the Premier or Grand Crus from Burgundy, it'll be worth it..

Drink This: 

If you like New World Chards try this Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chard...It's one of my absolute favourites.

Chardonnay or Chard-Oh-Nay?
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