Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It is believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced. The Chardonnay grape itself is very neutral, with many of the flavors commonly associated with the grape being derived from such influences as terroir and oak. It is vinified in many different styles, from the elegant, “flinty” wines of Chablis to rich, buttery Meursaults and New World wines with tropical fruit flavors. It is widely known for producing excellent full-bodied wines. The cooler zoned climate Chardonnay grapes produce an abundance of fruit flavors. You can pick up apple, pineapple, or the hint of peach. The warmer climate Chardonnays may have less of the fruits but develop wonderful honey, vanilla, and roasted flavors that really fill the mouth. While many examples of Chardonnay can benefit from a few years of bottle aging, especially if they have high acidity, most Chardonnays are meant to be consumed in their youth. A notable exception to this is the most premium examples of Chablis and white Burgundies. Due to the wide range of styles, Chardonnay has the potential to be paired with a diverse spectrum of food types. It is most commonly paired with roast chicken and other white meats such as turkey. Heavily oak influenced Chardonnays do not pair well with more delicate fish and seafood dish. Instead, those wines tend to go better with smoked fish, spicy southeast Asian cuisine, garlic and guacamole dips.
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