Chardonnay is the world’s most popular white grape variety.
This grape adapts to a variety of climates and produces a wide range of styles, which is why it is beloved by winemakers.
Chardonnay has a long, noble history, which starts with its Old-World roots in Burgundy. Some of most coveted, and therefore expensive, Chardonnays in the world come from this region in France. Eventually Chardonnay made its way to the new world, and here in Niagara is the second most planted white vinifera vine.
Ontario’s cool climate produces world class Chardonnays. Often referred to as the winemaker's grape, Chardonnay is relatively easy to grow and ripen, but it also has a versatility that allows winemakers the ability to showcase their artistic expression. Chardonnay can taste different depending on where it is grown and how it is made, from light and elegant to full bodied and buttery and often somewhere in between.
Typical Ontario flavour characteristics include apple, pear, peach, citrus and minerality. Un-oaked styles are often lighter bodied, crisp, and bright while oaked styles are often fuller bodied with secondary flavours of vanilla and spice. There is also the option of malo-lactic fermentation which softens the acids, and a by-product of this process produces diacetyl which gives that buttery character. Another winemaker tool is to age the wine on its lees (dead yeast cells), and often stir these lees back into solution which creates texture and adds a “leesey” flavour profile to the wine.
Like all whites, Chardonnay should be served chilled. To ensure optimal flavour, full bodied Chardonnays should be served at around 13°C. If the wine is too warm, the alcohol tastes hot while the flavors are muddled. If it is too cold, the aromas and flavors are muted.
Wines produced from this variety: