Everyone has their own personal tastes, so if you prefer one wine to another, that a wine expert has recommended, then just go with your preference.
I now know that for rosés I prefer Côtes de Provence, and for whites, I like those from the Loire valley such Muscadets and Touraines. (I am still learning more about reds.) So when I had a friend, Sahar, over who prefers white to red, I had one of my favourites whites, the Clos de Beauregard, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine nicely chilled. If you read my post on wine sweetness charts, you may remember that Muscadet was top of the ‘dry’ chart for white wine. However Sahar is not a fan of dry whites, and was not keen on it. So next time over, I had a Chardonnay chilled and ready.
So next time over, I had a Chardonnay chilled and ready. But first what is a Chardonnay?
Like many people, I know it is a white wine, but don’t know much else. Is it a region (like Bordeaux) or a grape (like Merlot)?
It is a grape, but like Malbec and Sauvignon blanc wines, there are good Chardonnays from lots of different parts of the world. But it does originate from an area of France. Search for Chardonnay on Google Maps, and you find a specific place.
This area of France is known, in France. as Bourgogne. This may be based on the town Bourges, which is in the centre of this region Bourgogne translates in English as “Burgundy” and this term may be more familiar to many of you. Note that it translates differently in other languages “Burgund” in German and “Borgogna” in Italian.
My wine books have whole sections on this, and I am currently looking at Oz Clarke’s ‘Red and White’ that I partially reviewed here. He says to always remember that Chardonnay is a grape, and many are from Australia and California. It is now one of the most popular grapes for wine, but this was not always the case. According to Oz, Chardonnay was barely known before the 1970s. He says that Chardonnays make some of the best dry white wines, but also some of the dullest, and everything in between. According to Oz, the better ‘Chardonnay’ wines from the ‘Burgundy’ region are not from the village of Chardonnay, but further north, in the villages of Meursault, Puligny, Chassange, and Aloxe-Corton. These are not labelled as Chardonnay, but the name of the village. A quick internet search on these wines and they are not cheap, from £30 to £130 a bottle. So let us see what this more reasonably priced ‘Bourgogne Chardonnay’ is like.
- 2016 Chardonnay
- €7-€8 from Auchan
Aroma: Subtle, but maybe a bit non-descript.
Taste: Not too dry (or not dry enough/too sweet for me). A delicate edge but maybe a bit sour. Went well with the chicken spring rolls.Me
Aroma: Delicate and smooth.
Taste: Enjoyable soft delicate, a slight fruity tang, sour grape. Good with fish, chicken rolls.Sahar
Just goes to prove, everyone has there own preferences. I still prefer the drier Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, whilst Sahar really liked this Bourgogne Chardonnay. Maybe I am just now used to the even drier white wines, and found this not dry enough for my liking. Interesting that Oz Clarke refers to Chardonnay as a dry wine, and it is 4th on the dry list in the wine sweetness charts (Muscadet if 1st). I would liked to have compared this Chardonnay to the ones that I tasted before with Fiona and Duncan way back in my December 2018 post, Some Whites. They were also mainly Chardonnay wines, and with the exception of the very cheap Auchan own brand Chardonnay, were generally well liked. Seeing the prices for the better wines from this region, maybe one does have to spend a bit more to get a good one.