What to Pair with Chardonnay
Jul 28, 2021
Known as the “Meryl Streep” of white wines, chardonnay is popular and versatile, and for good reason. Originating in the Burgundy region of France, some of the best chardonnay wines are sourced from different parts of the world, with each region producing a chardonnay that boasts its own unique flavor profile.
The versatility of chardonnay gives the wine a wide variety of food and flavor pairings. The real secret to pairing chardonnay is recognizing that it isn’t just one type of wine. Remember, chardonnay is not only a still wine – it is often enjoyed as sparkling wine or sweet wine as well.
Chardonnay enthusiasts can enhance their overall experience by pairing their favorite wines with the best food.
Let’s divulge into diverse flavors offered by chardonnay and the wonderful dishes that work hand-in-hand to create unforgettable dining.
How Does Chardonnay Taste?
Chardonnay is a dry, medium to full-bodied wine with moderate acidity and alcohol. It is renowned for its diversity, offering a broad range of flavors that are all determined by where the wine is made and how it is specially crafted.
The green-skinned grapes adapt to a wide variety of climates, which gives a winemaker complete creative license to produce a wine that could be light and elegant, or full-bodied and buttery.
There is far more to this decision than meets the eye. For exceptional dining, wine taste and texture are important, but pairing also depends on three fundamental factors:
- Where your chardonnay is made
- Whether it is oaked or unoaked
- How mature it is
What Pairs Well With Chardonnay
Chardonnay should be paired with meaty fish and shellfish (like lobster, shrimp, and crab). Chardonnays enhance subtle, simply seasoned dishes that are not too pungent. A broader tip is to pair chardonnay with foods that complement the wine’s rich and mild flavors. Here are some of Christner’s best chardonnay food pairings that make every bite worthwhile.
Chardonnay and crab have always been a classic pair, and for good reason. Loved for its rich and buttery flavor, the dominant element of crab combines beautifully with the dominant chardonnay grape.
In addition, the acidity of a crisp chardonnay complements the inherent sweetness of crab meat. Oaked chardonnay typically dominates the more delicate flavors of crab. Because of this, it is better to pair lightly oaked or unoaked wines when savoring in a crab cake.
As a rule of thumb, rich oily fish like salmon is a gorgeous partner for full-bodied white wines, including oak-aged chardonnay.
Oaked chardonnay has vibrant flavors that balance with the finer flavors of salmon. The oaky, vanilla tones particularly enhance salmon that is served with butter and cream.
While anchovies are known for being a difficult match to wine, full-bodied chardonnay is a fine match for the creamy dressing of a Caesar salad, eveb with salty anchovies and grilled chicken.
Lobster is famous for its mild, sweet flavor that is a perfect partner for chardonnay. It’s no wonder why chardonnay is a top choice for accompanying lobster.
Whether the wine is oaky and buttery, or crispy and fruity, a chardonnay complements the lobster’s light flavor and texture.
Henning’s Cheese Plate
Chardonnay’s rich texture and robust acidity make the wine ideal for a cheese pairing. Bonus tip: oaky and buttery wine works better with bolder cheeses like a creamy cow and sheep milk cheeses.
Pale yellow, unoaked chardonnays are best suited for light cheeses, particularly goat cheeses (that are not aged for too long). These fruitier tones of unoaked chardonnay work well with cheeses that have buttery, fruity and nutty elements.
When it comes to cheese, the versatile chardonnay is a trusted companion, whether oaked or unoaked.