Is Chardonnay Sweet or Dry? Should It Be Served Chilled?

Chardonnay-tips

Do you want to know how Chardonnay tastes like? Should you chill Chardonnay? What should be the ideal temperature to serve or store Chardonnay?

Originally created in the Burgundy region of France, David Ramey, one of the pioneers of California Chardonnay says, “Chardonnay is the most compelling and popular white wine in the world, because it is the red wine of whites. “

This quick 5 minute read will help you answer all your queries around Chardonnay, its taste and perfect serving & storing temperature.

CHARDONNAY BASICS

DESCRIPTION

Origin

Burgundy Region, France

Color 

Pale to Deep Yellow

Acidity

Moderate

Ideal Serving Temperature

45-50 Degree Fahrenheit

Taste Profile

Dry & Sweet both

Recommended Flavors:

Cool Climates

  • Apple

  • Citrus

  • Pear

  • Flinty

Moderate Climates

  • White Peach

  • Melon

Warm Climates

  • Pineapple

  • Banana

Ageability

2-5 Years, with some exceptions up to 10

How does it taste – Sweet or Dry?

So...Chardonnay is generally Dry, but depending on the wine producers & their methods, it can also taste sweet.

During manufacturing, some Chardonnay’s go through a process of malolactic fermentation giving the wine a creamy/deserty texture which can be associated with sweetness on the palate.

Perhaps, the most common reason for Chardonnay tasting sweet is that a lot of cheap brands add sugar making it taste more like an alcoholic cordial than wine. While dry Chardonnay has 0 to 4 grams of carbs, the sugary one can contain more.

We strongly recommend, you to spend some extra bucks and lay off the sugary stuff. If you prefer a sweeter taste go for a “late harvested” Chardonnay, which is basically naturally sweet.

Primary and Secondary Flavors

The harvest season of grapes and the climate decide the primary flavors.

Climate & Time of Harvest

An earlier harvest or cooler climate creates more citric notes with higher acidity. Sweetness and fruity flavors in Chardonnay is attributed to warmer climates or later harvests.

Method of processing-

The winemaker’s method of processing the grapes gives it secondary flavors, also called notes. For instance, aging the Chardonnay with Oak gives it a hint of Vanilla, Nutmeg or Cinnamon. Things like shape and the origin of wood (French or American, barrels or chips) also adds to the flavor.

The second, ‘buttery’ flavor comes from diacetyl, a result of malolactic fermentation – meaning the malic acid in grapes that create the green-apple taste is converted into lactic acid. 

Oftentimes, winemakers use steel to ferment or age their wine, giving it a crispy hint and hence calling it ‘unoaked’ Chardonnay.

Varieties of White Wine

Though Chardonnay is the most popular amongst the array of white wines, there are numerous other varieties to choose from. Explore the wide varieties of white wine available and choose the one that suits you best.

Check out the complete list of Sweet White Wines and Fruity White Wines. If you prefer a dry white wine explore all its varieties.

Serving Chardonnay

Should you chill Chardonnay?

Yes. Chardonnay should always be served chilled.

If served warm, the flavors get mixed up; too cold and they die out, so the best way is to serve it chilled.  Generally, this would mean a temperature range of 10 – 13 degrees Celsius or 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit, easily achievable by an hour or two in the refrigerator. An unfinished bottle should be corked and put back in the fridge to keep it fresh for another 2 – 4 days.

Alternatively, you can add some table salt to a bucket of ice to quickly chill your bottle. The salt acts as a heat-absorption agent, bringing the temperature down within a few minutes!

Pairing with Food

Matching the weight of the wine with that of the food is the rule of thumb.

Pure, Dry Chardonnays like most Chablis are best enjoyed with delicate fish, fresh goat cheese and oysters while the medium-bodied ones go well with aged cheese like Gouda or white meat like chicken. The ‘heavier’, high alcohol Chardonnays can be paired with foods high in fat, served with thick sauces.

Most people who confess their dislike for Chardonnays, forget that some of their favorites - Montrachet, Chablis, Pouilly-Fuissé and Meursault, are forms of Chardonnays!

If you're not a Chardonnay fan, don't worry, we have options available. Check out our latest blog on "What does Pinot Noir taste like?" and know everything about it.

Did You Know? Chardonnay is also a variety of Champagne

Its shocking but true!! As a true Chardonnay connoisseur, wait no further and explore all about this. Check out our blog on this unique combination.

Hitesh

Doctoral candidate in International Tourism. Loves to write about Food, Travel, Lifestyle and everything in between.

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