CHARDONNAY – Varietal Overview

Chardonnay is the most popular international white grape variety, and the third most planted white in Argentina. It grows in every major wine region of the world, adapting well in different growing environments.

Chardonnay originated in Burgundy, France, where it is known as White Burgundy. The grape itself is neutral, and the flavor profiles commonly associated with it are usually reflective of the terroir and the use or absence of oak. It can be made in a variety of styles, from crisp and mineraly, to fruity notes as varied as tropical, stone-fruits and citrus. In Argentina, Chardonnay does especially well in high elevation vineyards. It is also used as the basis of many sparkling wines.

Chardonnay grows in almost all of the wine regions of Argentina. There are over 15,000 acres of Chardonnay, which comprises of 15% of the total white variety plantings. Along with Sauvignon Blanc, these two white varieties have increased the most in plantings since 2000.

While Chardonnay was once very popular and well-loved, it fell out of favor from many due to over-use of oak. While a little oak can give it a luscious mouthfeel and a hint of vanilla, too much can cause it to have an overpowering buttery flavor. Winemakers have since re-adjusted how they use oak — or skip it all together — resulting in Chardonnays that reflect its terroir.

For fruitier, unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnays, ideal food pairings can range from light and delicate dishes such as carpaccio, grilled fish or vegetable risotto to those slightly richer like salmon with cream sauce, pasta or grilled chicken.

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Art by Bridget Gleeson for Vida Wines
Photos by INV