I’ll admit, I used to be one of those people who said they didn’t like Chardonnay. Too much butter! Too many oaky tastes! I want to drink wine, not eat shortbread cookie dough! It wasn’t until I took wine more seriously that I discovered that Chardonnay is just as diverse as other wines and can have many different flavors. When I discovered this, I was able to drink oakier Chardonnays with more appreciation. In fact, there are some oaky Chardonnays that I actually like!
However, not everyone wants to spend time drinking glass upon glass of a wine varietal that they don’t enjoy (I’m talking to you, Mutti!). They would rather not drink Chardonnay at all ?! Please don’t do that, dear reader! I’m here to tell you that if you don’t like Chardonnay because of those oaky, rich, buttery notes, there are ones out there that you will enjoy!
The following Top 5 list is one for the people who say they don’t like Chardonnay. All have subtle and minimal oaky characteristics. Four of them hail from California, which I found interesting, as most of the rich, buttery Chardonnays comes from there. They would pair wonderfully with tuna/chicken/seafood salads, shellfish, spring vegetables like peas and asparagus, poultry dishes, or fresh, raw, salads. Most of these wines can be found at your local wine or grocery store.
- Black’s Station Dunnigan Hills Chardonnay, California I first posted about Black’s Station Chardonnay when I paired it with Baked Fish and Chips. Since then, I could buy stock in this Chardonnay because I have been buying it so much. To quote myself, “Yes, there are buttery, oaky components to the wine, however, it is well balanced with pineapple, stone fruit, and green apple. The oaky notes took a back seat to the flavor and accentuated the pineapple and stone fruit. It is medium bodied, and the color is of a homey, rustic straw yellow. I absolutely love this wine. It is refreshing enough to drink on its own, but the flavor profile and medium body of the wine make it an extremely versatile food pairing wine. On top of that, it is only $10.99. How can you beat that?”
- Cyprus Russian River Valley Chardonnay, California This wine had a little bit of a creamy/buttery taste, but it wasn’t overly so. It had a nice cinnamon and dried herb (maybe sage?) taste to it. The creamy vanilla came out first, but the herbs at the end made it seem fresher.
- Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay, Monterey, California Run, don’t walk to this Chardonnay! This wine was aged in a steel barrel, completely unoaked. White blossom, honey, and citrus make this wine as crisp as a Chardonnay can be. I posted about how it paired it with a stir-fry, which received 4 grapes.
- Novellum Chardonnay, Languedoc, France After sitting on the lees of Viognier grapes, this wine appears crisper due to the acidity and citrus flavors often found in Viognier. This is a fantastic pairing with a seafood/chicken/pasta salad. The creaminess of whatever salad it is makes the wine appear even more refreshing and citrusy than it seemed.
- J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay, Monterey, California This chardonnay has the most oaky and buttery flavors than the previous four. However, with shellfish, especially grilled or garlic shrimp, you won’t even care. Cantaloupe, lemon, and even some roasted hazelnut are a wonderful delight. I also enjoyed this on the beach with my sister in law this past summer, as the heat of the Hilton Head sun made anything seem refreshing, no matter how creamy the body.
Questions for you:
- Do you like Chardonnay?
- What are some of your favorite Chardonnays? Oaky or not?
- On a different note, how many posts would you like to see a week? One? Two? Comment below and let me know!