Drinking and Pairing Chardonnay with FoodChardonnay is an extremely popular white varietal, grown in every wine-growing country in the world. It is the classic white grape of Burgundy and Champagne, and a major varietal in the New World. Because it is grown in such varied climates, the character of Chardonnay can be difficult to summarize. In cooler locales such as Chablis, Chardonnay produces wines of higher acidity, a sleeker and more linear profile, and green apple and lemon flavors and aromas. But near the town of Beaune and just south of Beaune in southern Burgundy, Chardonnay shows melon, hazelnut, and lemon custard flavors and aromas, and tends to be broader and more textural, especially when aged in small oak barrels, which lends notes of toast and vanilla. In warmer regions, New World Chardonnay displays increased alcohol and will sometimes contain some sweetness. For example, California Chardonnay is typically broad and rich with butterscotch, coconut, and pineapple flavors and aromas.
Cool-climate Chardonnay pairs well with light fish, shellfish, and can counterbalance cream-based sauces. Oak-aged Chardonnay from warmer climates lends itself well to grilled fish, starches, butter, and toasted nuts.