By Kori ~ March 12th, 2008.
Over the years, I have tried a number of Chardonnays. Truth be known, it might have been the first wine that I ever tasted. Since it is generally the white wine offered at banquets, weddings, and the like, there is a good chance that it was the first white wine that you tasted too. Even so, as Iâ€™ve mentioned before, I am not a fan of Chardonnay, especially very buttery, oaky Chardonnay which is the most common style in the United States.
This story by Lynn Hoffman sums up the irony of Chardonnay:
â€œAt a wine tasting, I asked the nice young sommelier with the perfectly shaven head what he thought of Chardonnay. He pursed his lips and said, â€˜I sell a lot of Chardonnay, but I never drink it.â€™ He drew out the word â€˜neverâ€™ to make sure I understood.
At a charity dinner, I asked a beautiful brunette the same question. â€˜Chardonnay,â€™ she said. â€˜It reminds me of my ex-sister-in-law.â€™ Howâ€™s that? â€˜Boring and a little bit sour.â€™
I asked the man in the wine shop what his best selling variety is. â€˜Chardonnay, hands down.â€™â€
So whatâ€™s going on? Why are all these people buying Chardonnay, even those who donâ€™t really like Chardonnay? I believe many wine consumers buy Chardonnay because they think theyâ€™re supposed to buy it. Itâ€™s what they think knowledgeable, sophisticated white wine drinkers buy. Maybe it is, if you are talking about high-end White Burgundy (Chardonnay) from France that most of us cannot afford on a regular basis. But most of the American Chardonnay Iâ€™ve tasted in the mid to lower price range is very mediocre.
One of the reasons that Chardonnay is so common is that it is a very versatile grape that grows well in many places throughout the world. Chardonnay grapes themselves have fairly neutral flavors which is why I believe many winemakers tend to over-oak their Chardonnays in an effort to get something out of them.
While Chardonnay may be known as the Queen of white grapes, I believe that there are a number of other white varietals that have more to offer the average white wine drinker.
With all that said, I am happy to report that I have finally found a Chardonnay that I like, the 2006 Yalumba Y Series Unwooded Chardonnay from Australia. The key for me is the â€œunwoodedâ€ part. Without oak aging, Yalumba is forced to be more diligent in their winemaking to capture the true flavors of the grape.
From the Yalumba website:
â€œOur unwooded chardonnay style is captured by picking the grapes when the flavours are fresh and lively, and the vineyards chosen for making this wine are those possessing lifted tropical flavours.â€
2006 Yalumba Y Series Unwooded Chardonnay: Bright with tropical fruit aromas. Refreshing, pineapple and grapefruit flavors, crisp acidity, and a nice, lingering finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: WebWine.com (California), $9.90
Filed under: Australian Wine, Chardonnay, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, White Wine, Wines Under $10