What Is A Good Chardonnay
Best Chardonnay Under $30 Chateau Ste Michelle Chardonnay. 4.5 out of 5 stars. Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay. 4.8 out of 5 stars. J Lohr Chardonnay Riverstone. 4.4 out of 5 stars. Cambria Chardonnay Katherines Vineyard. Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. La Crema Chardonnay Sonoma Coast. River Road Chardonnay Sonoma. Bogle Chardonnay.
What’s The Difference Between An Oaked And An Unoaked Wine
Hello there! I’m Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don’t worry, I’m no wine snobyou can also ask me those “dumb questions” you’re too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don’t forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q& A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
What is the difference between an unoaked wine and an oaked wine, besides the fact one was aged in oak?
Julie, Oshawa, Ontario
Well, that’s the biggest difference, sure. Keep in mind that an oak influence can come from oak barrels or barrel alternatives that are exposed to a wine while it is fermenting and/or aging.
The most obvious influence of oak is that it imparts flavors and aromas to a wine. Toast, vanilla, cedar, spice and smoky notes are common oak influences . Barrels are also credited with giving wine a richer texture, adding to the belief that oak adds complexity.
An unoaked wine is more likely to be lighter-bodied than its oaked counterpart, with more fresh fruit flavors and less of any cedary, toasty, vanilla character.
What Is The Flavor Profile Of Chardonnay Wine
In cooler climates, chardonnay grapes tend to produce medium to light-bodied wines with high acidity and essence of green apple, pear, and plum. In warm climates, chardonnay varietals tend to be more medium-bodied, with heavier fruit flavors, like peach, melon, and tropical fruits.
Californias warm climate, particularly Napa and the Sonoma Coast wine region, often produces unoaked chardonnays, which are known as naked Chardonnays. These new world California chardonnays are lighter, fresher-tasting wines that are not matured in oak barrels and have notes of apple, citrus, lime, and peach.
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Oaked Chardonnay Worth Another Chance
Oaked chardonnay is a great option for those who enjoy smooth, rich wine. Since the over-oaking follies of decades past, most oaked chardonnay is now more balanced and drinkable while preserving its signature smoothness.
How to Find Oaked Chardonnay by Region
A good chardonnay usually comes from warmer wine-growing regions. Look for your next bottle of oaked chardonnay from southern or eastern Australia Napa Valley or Lake County, California Mendoza, Argentina Burgundy, France or Puglia, Italy.
Oaked Chardonnay Pairing Options
Oaked chardonnay is complex, and pairing it with a dish thats too sweet, too spicy, or too salty is a fast way to make your wine tasting experience less than ideal. One way to make sure your meal and your wine shine is to stick to simply prepared seafood. Try seared scallops or other mollusks, or shellfish prepared as plainly as possible. The complexity in the wine will support the restrained approach to the meal, and the flavors of the food and wine will pop.
Oaked Chardonnays: Our Recommendations
- Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay The chardonnay grapes from the Casablanca Valley in Chile are aged in oak for a delicate sweetness balanced with a touch of minerality.
- Alamos Chardonnay Concentrated flavors of apple and pear are complemented by rich vanilla and spice evidence of malolactic fermentation in the oak aging process.
Kumeu River 2018 Estate
Liquor.com / Laura Sant
Kumeu River is another winery producing wines of exceptional quality in a country more commonly recognized for value. New Zealand is also much better known for sauvignon blanc than chardonnay, but dont let that deter you. If you like the cool, crisp citrus notes of a New Zealand sauv blanc, youll appreciate the same qualities in this approachable food-friendly chard.
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What Are The Characteristics Of Chardonnay Grapes
The chardonnay grape is green-skinned and grows on a sturdy vine with ample leaf cover. This prevents the white grape from receiving too much sun. The chardonnay grape is characterized by its malleability, meaning it can effectively take on the influences of its terroir and different winemaking techniques.
For this reason, different varieties of chardonnay can taste very different according to where the grape was grown and how the wine matured.
What Does Each Chardonnay Pair With
While both oaked and unoaked Chardonnay are still the same drink at their core, the wildly different flavor palates of both wines mean they pair with different foods.
For example, unoaked Chardonnay is an incredibly versatile food that pairs well with rich flavors, especially meats. If you do plan on drinking unoaked Chardonnay aim for strong seafood such as oysters or shellfish, and for grilled meats like chicken. Chardonnay also pairs well with pasta that comes in a rich sauce, red or white.
As for cheese selections unoaked Chardonnay goes best with more wild, natural flavors. Look for cheeses made from roaming and grazing cattle, instead of more confined herds. Alpine cheeses like emmental and challerhocker work quite well in this regard, but so do most strong, natural cheeses.
In regard to food pairings, oaked Chardonnay is perhaps as far from its unoaked cousin as possible. The sweet, creamy, and altogether mellow flavors of oaked Chardonnay are extremely pleasant on the palate but are easily overpowered by strong foods. Care must be taken when selecting food pairings for oaked Chardonnay.
Look for less flavorful meals like mollusks or scallops, prepared as plainly and simply as possible. If you feel the need to pair cheese with you Chardonnay aim for mild cheeses Cream Havarti or Bel Pease. What option that will always pair wonderfully with oaked Chardonnay, however, is a rich and decadent dessert, the sweeter the better.
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Trail Marker Wine Co 2017 Manchester Ridge
Liquor.com / Laura Sant
If you like your white wines bone dry with searing minerality, this one by Trail Marker is for you. Pure and saline but with deliciously ripe fruit, it spends some time in previously used oak barrels, which lend lovely texture but dont impact the flavor of the wine. The moment you pop it open, it begs to be paired with freshly shucked oysters and lots of them.
How To Tell If Chardonnay Is Unoaked
Theres no labeling system for whether chardonnay is oaked or unoaked. This is unfortunate, since people often favor one over the other. They often dont know until they drink it whether they bought unoaked white wine or not. How can you figure your way through this when youre looking for a moderate unoaked chardonnay?
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Pairing Chardonnay With Dishes
Chardonnay is tricky, and pairing it with dishes that are too sweet, too spicy, or too salty is a quick way to make your wine taste imperfect. Although too much acid will completely destroy the taste of aged Chardonnay, it is possible to add some acidity to the uncoiled bottle.
This wine has a slight sweetness and a long lasting aroma of juicy ripe poached pears. This is a medium-bodied wine, elegant and balanced, with crunchy lemon and green apple flavors, fine and spicy texture.
For less than ten dollars a bottle, you may sound suspicious , but Meridian has a consistently fresh character, citrus, green apple and tropical Chardonnay notes with a balance of just a little oak .
Cooler wine climates such as Sonoma, California Loire and Chablis, France Western Australia Colchagua and Casablanca Valley, Chile and Oregon are famous for their high quality unbaked chardonnay. In general, with many exceptions, Chardonnay from some regions is usually raw , while others tend to have a fresh oak influence .
When you look at it on the shelf or on the Internet, you are looking for certain keywords that tell you that Chardonnay is not made. Their bottles are a mix of woody, micro woody and non-woody varieties, so everyone can find something that suits them. Ask our in-store experts which Rodney Strong Chardonnay wine is best for you.
Oaked Vs Unoaked Chardonnay
Oaky Chardonnay is aged in an oak barrel.When Chardonnay spends time or being aged in oak barrels instead of steel or plastic tanks, this oak imparts flavors into the wine that gives it a buttery and creamy finish with vanilla, cedar, and smoky notes and sweet aromas of vanilla and butterscotch.
It has an image of both good and not so good because in the 1980s, it developed a bad reputation for being too buttery and sugary, and wine lovers started saying that they could drink anything but not Chardonnay. After this reaction, the wine producers took heed and found other ways to make wine according to the drinkers perspective.
On the other hand, unoaked Chardonnay is usually aged in steel tanks instead of oak barrels.Thats is the reason behind its light body, bright color, and minerality. Its nose has citrus aromas with some hints of apple, lime, and peach.
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Domaine Rolet 2015 Arbois
Liquor.com / Laura Sant
When talking about French chardonnay, Burgundy tends to get all the attention, but the Jura region in eastern France is a hidden treasure for lovers of light-bodied reds and richly flavored whites. Here, chardonnay often is made in an intentionally oxidative style, giving it a unique and delightful savory and nutty character. This one by Domaine Rolet is marked by a pleasing hint of hazelnut, with minimal use of oak to add texture.
Food Pairings For Unoaked Chardonnay
If you have a bottle of unoaked Chardonnay, you will want to play off the bright, minerally, and acidic qualities in your wine. Here are some of our favorite pairings for unoaked Chardonnay.
Lightly herbed foods
Remember, it can be easy to overwhelm delicate Chardonnay grape flavors. As such, a crisp Chardonnay is best paired with simply prepared foods like baked white fish or poultry in butter and herbs. Tarragon, basil, dill, mustard, and pesto sauce are all fabulous flavors to play with in your pairings. A simple pasta or chicken in mushrooms and herbs will be an absolute success with your unoaked Chardonnay.
Bright, acidic foods
While too much acid can completely ruin the flavor of your oaked Chardonnay, an unoaked bottle can truly be complemented by a bit of acidity. Try an appetizer with fresh tomato, or poached chicken in a lemon and tarragon sauce.
Youll want to keep your cheeses like and refreshing like your wine. Try pairing your unoaked Chardonnay with goat cheese, brie, or fresh mozzarella. A mushroom and brie pizza is a sure pairing with an unoaked Chardonnay taste.
The flavors in your unoaked wine will sing best with spring vegetables. Think green peas, asparagus, edamame, white beans, and spinach. Try a spring vegetable risotto or soup to bring out the best flavors in your glass.
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Petit Chapeau 2017 Bourgogne Blanc
Liquor.com / Laura Sant
Burgundy isnt exactly known for its value-priced wines, but this bottle is here to show you that great and affordable wine is indeed possible there. Created by superstar sommelier Daniel Johnnes in collaboration with producers in Burgundy, this characterful gem is bright, vibrant and easy, made without a hint of oak. Theres full malolactic fermentation here, but in this case it adds texture and appeal without veering into buttery territory.
Is Oaked Or Unoaked Chardonnay Cheaper
Sometimes the world of wine is shrouded in a blanket of ambiguity and no absolutes. Quality and price are two wine topics that typically fall under this shroud. Just considering unoaked Chardonnay from Sonoma, California it is possible to debate the question of which is cheaper?.
Still, it stands to reason that unoaked Chardonnays should always be cheaper and here is why: barrels! Unoaked Chardonnays do not require oak barrels. That alone is a major cost saver, then you can add in the time saved by a shorter production process. The environmental impact of unoaked Chardonnays is even better than oaked when you consider the implications of transporting oak barrels around the world.
In terms of production costs, money and time are saved by not fermenting Chardonnay in oak barrels, ideally, these savings should be passed down to the consumer as reflected in the price per bottle. You should be able to get a cheaper bottle which is ultimately more sustainable, win-win!
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Whats The Difference Between Oaked And Unoaked Chardonnay
The differences between oaked and unoaked chardonnay are determined by how the wine is aged. If the wine is placed in oak barrels and subjected to a process called malolactic fermentation it is considered oaked, otherwise, if the wine is stored in stainless steel containers, plastic tubs, or concrete vats it is said to be unoaked. Its just that simple! The differences in the flavor profiles are quite different, however.
While oaked Chardonnays are known for being buttery or creamy the unoaked Chardonnays are more fruity, minerally, and dry, same grape varietal different process. The new oak barrels, as opposed to more aged oak, also contribute a unique toastiness to the oaked Chardonnay which is reminiscent of certain dessert spices, vanilla, or browned butter. These wide-ranging differences in Chardonnay make for a wine that can appeal to most tastes and preferences. If you havent tried it you most certainly should!
Unoaked Vs Unoaked Chardonnay
If Chardonnay is the popular sorority girl who everyone knows, unoaked Chardonnay is its artsy sister. But whats the difference between them? Oaked Chardonnay is aged in oak barrels, whereas unoaked Chardonnay is aged in neutral oak barrels or stainless-steel tanks the type of vessels affects the final flavor. Neutral oak barrels have generally been used three to four times previously, which means the most pronounced oaky flavor is absent, allowing for a leaner tasting wine. Chardonnay is such a neutral grape, you can pretty much do anything to it to develop the characteristics that you like to drink, explains Elise Cordell, brand ambassador for Perrier-Jouet.
What this means is that the type of barrel will ultimately determine what the wine will taste like. Oaked Chardonnays tend to have rich, buttered popcorn flavors, while unoaked Chardonnays tend to be more fruit-forward with flavors of green apple and citrus, explains Lexi Jones, director of imports for Argaux & Amlière Imports.
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Final Thoughts On Unoaked Chardonnay
After learning how great an unoaked Chardonnay can be for your next Wine Wednesday, we leave the last few tips with you. Before enjoying it, remember that white wines always need to be cold when youre drinking.
Putting it in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes will do the trick. If you did not drink the whole bottle in one sitting, you can cork it again and put it back in the refrigerator, and it will still be good for two to four days.
And lastly, if you wait too long to drink the rest of it, use it the next time you cook!
Your Guide To Unoaked Chardonnay
Its Wine Wednesday you have the glasses, friends, and charcuterie board, but youre missing the most important thing. Which bottle of wine do you want to drink? Its been a long day, and youre looking to unwind, but you dont know what to have?
To enjoy the best white wine to drink, choose an Unoaked Chardonnay.
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What Is Oaked Chardonnay
Oaked Chardonnay is a wine that has undergone the process of aging in oak barrels. It is one of the most popular white wines in the world and has many sub-categories. The flavor profile is dependent on where it was grown and the winemakers method. If you are looking for a great bottle to enjoy during the winter months, look no further than this list!
How Does Unoaked Chardonnay Taste
It would almost be more apt to compare unoaked Chardonnay vs Sauvignon Blanc than vs oaked Chardonnay. Unoaked Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc share a number of similar flavor profiles and textures, though the Sauv Blanc is a bit more acidic and vegetal. Unoaked Chardonnay is bright and crisp, with a lean mouthfeel that sits on the center of your tongue. This is in stark comparison to its oaky sister, which covers the entire midsection of the palate with its robust, buttery texture. How is this distinctly different Chardonnay made? In stainless steel tanks. Stainless steel is impermeable, creating a space free from oxygenation or temperature fluctuations. This means the wine is blocked from malolactic fermentation, and the pure fruit character of the Chardonnay is preserved. The resulting wine sings the pure song of its homeland. An ode to the soil and sanctuary of its birth.
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What Is The Difference Between Chardonnay And Sauvignon Blanc
Chardonnay is the more neutral grape than sauvignon blanc, with slightly lower acidity and aromas of apple, lemon, and pineapple.
- 1. Chardonnay takes on oak flavors readily when aged in barrel, producing a full-bodied, vanillic, and sometimes buttery style.
- 2. Sauvignon blancs aroma is more floral and green, and it is usually not treated with oak.
- 3. One exception is fumé blanc, as some sauvignon blanc wine is labeled in California, which gains richness and smoky depth from oak aging.
What Is Oaking And Why Is It Done To Wine
Oaking is the process of aging or fermenting wine in oak barrels, and the practice of oaking actually started by accident. Before oak, the main winemaking vessel was a clay amphora, which was exceedingly popular in Europe and West Asia up through the Roman Empire. Clay was a wonderful wine vessel because it was airtight, but unfortunately it was also incredibly heavy and difficult to transport. Eventually the Romans came across the Gauls, who were using wooden barrels to transport beer. The Romans decided to try it for their wine. They determined that oak would be the best medium because it was not only plentiful, but soft and easy to bend into barrels. These lighter, waterproof vessels soon replaced the clay amphora in most of Europe, although the clay vessels are still used in Georgian winemaking today.
The Romans started to notice a change in the quality of their drink, after using these oak barrels to transport their wine for quite some time, . The wine had more flavor complexity and textural interest!
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