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So, what is a Chardonnay? Where did it originate from?
Some people believe that the Chardonnay wine originated from Lebanon, Syria, and Cyprus – however, there’s little evidence to support this theory.
It comes from eastern France, in a small beautiful city known as Burgundy. The region is famous for a wide range of things including food, dining etiquette, and of course, wine.
Out of all the white wines, Chardonnay is by far the most widely planted white wine in the world. You can find them everywhere – from France, South Africa, and California, Chile to Australia.
Did you know that in Australia, about 21,440 hectares of land area is devoted to the growth of Chardonnay grapes? Or, that its grapes are also used to make Champagne?
Our wine guide will teach you all you need to know about Chardonnay and maybe even, help you impress your friends.
It’s really hard to describe the taste of a wine beyond sweet or dry. That’s because, everyone has his or her own set of taste buds, each preferring their own subtle differences, textures, and flavors.
Describing the taste is no doubt complex, and in itself, an art. Here are how some experts describe it:
Winderlusting: “Chardonnay is known to be a relatively dry, medium-bodied white wine emanating fresh, crisp notes of pear, guava, lemon-peel, and apple.”
French Scout: “Typical taste of the different types of chardonnay: voluptuous. Chardonnay wines are often wider-bodied (and more velvety) than other types of dry whites, with rich citrus (lemon, grapefruit) flavors.”
Bon Appetit: “Chardonnay from cooler climates like the Sonoma Coast or Edna Valley are generally crisp and precise like apple-pear ballerinas dancing with a citrus … Chardonnay from warmer climates like Napa or Paso Robles, on the other hand, is boisterous and tropical, like pineapples and peaches.”
With reddish-brown soil, a mix of cool breezes and high-heat, the Upper Hunter Valley has the perfect conditions to grow Chardonnay grapes. This unique mix, helps the vines retain water, preventing the roots from being oversaturated with water and nutrients.
You might be thinking, what makes a Hunter Valley Chardonnay so special? Well, it really comes down to one key component, “neutrality.” Chardonnay is a neutral dry white wine, versatile in flavour - ranging from crisp and fresh, to smokey and textured.
At a base level, it is inherently a very neutral grape, providing winemakers the opportunity to instill their craft and personality into their wine. The Chardonnay varieties can offer a wide range of flavours from light and fresh, to full-bodied.
You could think of a Chardonnay as the “blank slate” in wine making. It does not have a specific trademark feature to fully define and distinguish the wine, but instead, relies heavily on a winemakers ability to express its terrior.
Terrior, “refers to the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate.” This is what makes Hunter Valley wines so special, as they are highly regionally based, offering winemakers the ability to express their local cues within the wine.
Some of the most famous Hunter Valley wineries include Tyrrell's Wines, McGuigan Wines, Mount Pleasant, Rothbury Estate, Brokenwood Vineyards and Tempus Two.
Want to tour the Hunter Valley vineyards in style? Try something different and take a wine Chevy tour with your friends. It will make your next outing feel that much more special!
When it comes to finding a nice white to pair with your food or cheese platter, look no further than a nice bottle of Chardonnay.
Chardonnays are a fantastic match with a large range of cheeses. They are ideally suited with foods like pork, poultry, seafood – or dishes with a creamy base.
Chardonnay is a subtle wine, with no overwhelming aromatics that jump out at you. So this allows it to easily match with most foods making it ideal for all types of finger food catering.
If you’re feeling extra fancy, try pairing arugula salad and chopped pistachios with your bottle. Trust me, it’s even more delicious than it sounds.
Chardonnays can be aged, but surprisingly the majority are not meant to be. What this really means is that if you leave your Chardonnay too long, it will go off.
According to VinePair, “Most of the wine we buy in a store is meant to be drunk immediately, with a shelf life of only about 3-5 years.”
VinePair points out there are two golden rules of thumb for knowing if/when a Chardonnay should be aged. It comes down to these two things:
1 ) Price: If the bottle costs less than $30, it’s highly likely that it’s ready to be consumed early on.
2 ) Acidity: If the Chardonnay is ‘highly acidic,’ than it should be aged, and if it’s not, then it shouldn’t.
The Wine Bandits are proud to offer some of the best cellar door Chardonnays from the Hunter Valley region.
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