What Color Is Chardonnay?

‍You might be wondering what color is chardonnay wine, right? Chardonnay is one of the most widely known wine grape varieties globally. While it is grown in many countries, the greatest country of production is France. Chardonnay is a semi-sweet white wine with a powerful, elegant bouquet and smooth, distinctive finish.

The name comes from the small village in the Champagne region of France where the grape was first discovered. Chardonnay is an essential component of most French wine regions and is a signature grape of several wine regions in Germany, Italy, and California. Even though it is grown in many areas, it is best suited for warmer climates and is not as common in cooler regions. This article covers the different colors and types of Chardonnay.

What Color Is Chardonnay Wine?

Chardonnay is a white wine grape variety used to make both sparkling and still wines. The vinified color for both the sparkling and still wines may be white, but the grapes can also have shades of yellow, gold, or even red due to the sandy soil in which the grapes grow.

While the Chardonnay is native to France, it is also found in other parts of the world, such as Italy, South Africa and California. It`s often confused with Pinot Blanc as the leaves of both vines have a similar shape. Therefore, it was assumed that Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc are related. Recent genetic analyses showed that Chardonnay is a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. The ancient Romans brought Gouais Blanc from Croatia to France where it was cultivated further.

White Chardonnay

White chardonnay is another name for the semi-sweet white variety. This white wine grape variety is made in different variations. The style and flavor depend on the fermentation of the grapes. Malolactic fermentation provides a round, rich buttery wine with tropical fruit aroma. In case of a normal fermentation where the grape skins are rapidly separated after the grapes are crushed a crisp wine with green apple and citrus fruit notes forms. Both wines can be turned into sparkling wines with an additional fermentation step.

Rose Chardonnay

Rose Chardonnay is yet another name for the semi-sweet white wine grape variety. The grapes are slightly red coloured and show more resistance against rot. Despite its red color the corresponding wine is a white wine with the characteristics of classic Chardonnay. Rose Chardonnay has more body and shows more complexity than white Chardonnay. This varietal is well suited for sparkling wines.

A different form of rose Chardonnay is rose wine. This wine is made as a cuvee of white Chardonnay wine and e.g. Pinot Noir to yield rose wine.

Creamy Chardonnay

Creamy Chardonnay is formed by submitting the grapes to malolactic fermentation. The crushed grapes are kept for up to 24 h with the skins. Lactic acid bacteria which are on the skins start the malolactic fermentation. In this process the malic acid is converted into lactic acid and “diacetyl” (butanedione). The malic acid is responsible for the green apple, citrus fruit notes. “Diacetyl” causes the buttery round flavor a lot of people like.

Fermentation of the Chardonnay grapes is finally responsible for the creamy, buttery taste. Therefore, creamy Chardonnay is a different description for Chardonnay which was fermented by malolactic fermentation.

Golden Chardonnay

Golden Chardonnay is yet another name for the semi-sweet white wine grape variety. It describes Chardonnay wine which is made by the Golden winery in Monterey County, California. This white wine has warm aromas of peach with green apple and buttercream. The flavor is bold with slight acidic notes.

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What Is The Difference Between Various Chardonnay Wines?

The main difference between the various Chardonnay and Chardonnay sparkling  wines is their sugar content and strength of flavor.

Sugar content:

Sparkling wines are produced by a secondary fermentation where the residual sugar is converted into carbon dioxide. Therefore, sparkling wines contain less sugar. In the case of zero dosage sparkling wines no or very little sugar is added for the secondary fermentation. Zero dosage sparkling wines are the driest sparkling wines with the least sugar content.

Flavor:

Classic fermentation: Depending on the fermentation method different flavors are produced. Classic fermentation provides crisp wines with apple and citrus fruit flavors. The crisp, green apple notes are caused by malic acid which is generated during the fermentation.

Malolactic fermentation: During the malolactic fermentation malic acid is converted into lactic acid and “diacetyl” (butanedione). “Diacetyl” is responsible for the round buttery taste and tropical fruit aroma.

How To Pair Chardonnay With Food

White chardonnay is a great choice to pair with seafood, chicken, pasta, and salads. It also pairs well with light Asian cuisines such as sushi, sashimi, and sesame chicken. For example, you can make sesame brown rice, serve salmon or tuna, and add tangelo slices and sesame seeds.

Or, you can serve pasta with marinara sauce, cut-up chicken pieces, and top it with grated parmesan cheese. The choice of dessert is up to you! You can try chocolate cake, fresh fruit, or a scoop of ice cream.

Depending on the Chardonnay you want to drink there`re different ways to pair them with food:

  • Crisp Taste – Good for paired with seafood, chicken, pasta, and salads.
  • Fresh Taste – Good for pairing with light Asian cuisines such as sushi, sashimi, and sesame chicken
  • Creamy Taste – Good for pairing with desserts like ice cream, custard, cookies, or cake
  • Complex Taste – Good for paired with stronger red wines such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and zinfandel.

Chardonnay pairing guide

You know the different kinds of Chardonnay wine and made first steps in finding the right dish to pair with. If you want to know more about the possibilities to pair Chardonnay wine take a look at our pairing guide. You`re going to be able to build an enitre meal around your favorite drink.

In case we missed your favorite food, point it out to us. Enjoy!

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Conclusion

Chardonnay is one of the most widely known wine grape varieties globally. While it is grown in many countries, the greatest production is in France. Chardonnay is a semi-sweet white wine with a powerful, elegant bouquet and smooth, distinctive finish. It`s not only a major white wine grape but also a pillar to produce Champagne and other sparkling wines.

Christina Day
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