As one of the most popular grapes for growing and consuming, Chardonnay can be made in a wide range of styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. These styles can vary from a sparkling Blanc de Blanc, or fresh fermented in stainless steel, to rich and creamy white wine aged in oak barrels. While Chardonnay can flourish in many environments, in its homeland of Burgundy it can produce some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. Whereas from California it can produce both oaky, buttery styles as well as leaner, European-inspired wines. A Somm secret: the Burguny subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style with high levels of acidity. Most people who do not like oaky/buttery Chardonnay may likely enjoy Chablis.
Notable regions for this grape include Burgundy (and Chablis) in France, Central Coast, Napa, and Sonoma in CA, and Western Australia.
When pairing with meals, consider the characteristics, flavors, and acidity of your food first. You always want to try to match the same characteristics and intensities with your wine. No brainer pairing options include seafood, salads, and white meat. Chardonnay, with its vast versatility, is everyone’s best friend.