Chardonnay is known as the winemaker's friend because this green-skinned grape is adaptable to variety of climates, hence easy to produce and produces versatile wines that come in different price ranges. It is a perfect grape to age but also very delightful at its youth.
As it comes in different expressions it can be crisp and clean or rich and oaky depending on their harvest time, climate, wine making and ageing process. However, most of the time a Chardonnay is dry, medium to full bodied, buttery wine with moderate acidity.
Chardonnay's aromas and flavours can be examined in two layers: primary and secondary. Primary flavours derive directly from the grape itself and manoeuvre depending on the climate and harvest time. It tends to carry flavours like lemon zest, apply, pear, and tropical fruits like pineapple and papaya. Early harvest and cooler climates will add to the citrusy, zesty flavour. On the other hand, late harvest and warmer climates means more sugary, less dry and less acidic wine that is high in alcohol.
The wine will get its secondary flavours from the wine making and ageing process, including the use and the origin of the oak. Chardonnay's secondary flavours include coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg. During the ageing process, when the oak comes into the picture, the wine will get its famous characteristics of "buttery" and "oaky".
Chardonnay holds a versatility in food pairing as it comes in many structure. If the Chardy is crisp, pure and unbaked it will go perfect with fresh cheeses like goat cheese, fresh oysters and delicate fishes. Medium bodied ones can be paired with firmer fishes, chicken, charcoaled spatchcock, aged cheeses. Richer, heavier, fuller Chardonnay with high alcohol will be perfect with creamy sauces and pasta like Fettuccine Boscaiola