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5 Tips For Choosing a Chardonnay
By Michael S Hutchins
Selecting a chardonnay is a fundamental challenge for any white wine drinker. We all know chardonnay, the undisputed champion of white wines. However, many of us would like to know a little bit more about the qualities and characteristics of chardonnay that would help us select this wonderful creation. This article will focus on 5 elements of chardonnay that will help in the selection and enjoyment process.
The most fundamental characteristic of chardonnay is that it should be served COLD! Chardonnay served at room temperature, while palatable, is far too bold. The intense flavors at room temperature tend to overwhelm us and any food we might be consuming. As it decreases in temperature, the flavors are toned down, and the flavors are more easily differentiated. So, the colder the chardonnay, the better.
It is important to determine the flavors you prefer in your chardonnay. Younger wines tend to be less complex than older varieties. It seems to take time for all the complexities of the flavors to unfold. Flavors such as pineapple, melon, lemon and pear can all be detected in varying amounts in chardonnay. When we speak of a "balanced" wine, we are referring to the ratio of oak and wood flavors to fruit flavors. To determine which flavors you prefer, try a blind taste test. Simply select 3 different chardonnays and apply a blindfold. Make sure that each bottle is the same temperature. Taste each wine, making sure to cleanse your palate after each taste. Voila! you can now select your preference!
Good chardonnays can now be grown in many countries. Australia, Chile, South Africa, Argentina, France, and the U.S. lead the way. French chardonnay tends to be subtle and silky, while Australian chardonnays tend to be big and bold. They are highly acidic as well. Possibly the best value can be found in California chardonnays which are nicely balanced and reasonably priced. Generally speaking, your best wines are found in sub-regions of countries, as opposed to major regions. The Loire valley in France is a good example of a sub-region
Chardonnays can be successfully served with a variety of foods. The more balanced Chardonnays goes beautifully with shellfish or pasta. Fruitier varieties are fabulous with chicken and fish. No hard and fast rules apply, trial and error are your keys to success! Hopefully these tips will help the next time you choose a chardonnay. The most important factor is to let your taste buds be your guide!!
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