30
Dec
09

Mailbag

Q: Why do Chardonnays tend to be categorized as oaky and non-oaky, when other wines don’t? – Diego, Palm Springs, CA

A: Good question Diego! The Chardonnay grape is considered to be the chameleon of white wine grapes! It tends to be a very versatile and expressive grape. Many different regions of the world have their own way of making this wine. California pioneered the oaky style you’re referring to. It is also, often associated with the YUPPIE culture that dominated the 1980s.

Today, Chardonnay is made in two distinct ways – oaked and un-oaked. Typically, the New World styles (US, Australia, SA, NZ, S.Africa) tend to offer more oaked styles, and Old World styles (Europe) tend to use less, or no oak in their Chardonnays. Oaked Chardonnays are best enjoyed on their own merits – think the 1980s backyard Yuppie patio party, and unoaked Chardonnays are more harmonious with foods. Most other white wines (New World Sauvignon Blancs sometimes being the exception) are not aged in oak.

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1 Response to “Mailbag”


  1. 1 Kevin
    January 11, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Does oaking result in tannins? Is that why oaked chardonnays sometimes hurt my tummy, as do oaked reds, like cabernet


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Patrick Bartlett


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