The Chardonnay Collection

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What is Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a widely known white grape variety around the world. A Chardonnay wine has the exceptional ability to express both the land where it's grown and showcase the style of its winemaker. This is why Chardonnay wines have a full spectrum of flavours which can suit your taste.

Chardonnay is often called "the winemaker's grape" as its defining character is amplified or reduced depending on the winery where it's from.

What is Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a widely known white grape variety around the world. A Chardonnay wine has the exceptional ability to express both the land where it's grown and showcase the style of its winemaker. This is why Chardonnay wines have a full spectrum of flavours which can suit your taste.

Chardonnay is often called "the winemaker's grape" as its defining character is amplified or reduced depending on the winery where it's from.

History of Chardonnay

Chardonnay was first believed to be planted in Chablis by the Cistercians at Pontigny Abbey in the 12th century. Now, Chardonnay made in the Chablis region is considered to be one of the purest expressions due to the simplistic style of winemaking in the region.

Chardonnay has been grown in France's Burgundy region for the better part of the millennium, especially in Côte de Beaune, where wine professionals agree that the best of them are made. Depending on the wine district in Burgundy, Chardonnay wines can give out different flavours from the mouthwatering acidity and chalky minerality in Chablis to the rich and buttery in Côte Chalonnaise.

The most revered Chardonnays can be found in the Burgundy region of France, but they can also be found in other parts of the world.

Chardonnay has also been popular in vineyards in South Africa since the 1980s with the white grape variety planted in South Africa's wine regions from Hemel en Aarde to Stellenbosch. Chardonnay wines from winemakers in the Western Cape, on the other hand, showcase the exotic and rich tropical fruit flavours of the region. South African white wines have also won awards in the 2022 International Wine & Spirit Competition.

Chardonnay is also one of the three main grape varieties permitted in Champagne, along with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Taste Profile

Chardonnay is known for its flavour range and versatility which can be attributed to the winemaking techniques based on the vineyard, district, or winery it's from.

Moreover, the complexity of a Chardonnay can be attributed to oak ageing. Different types of oak give different flavours. American oak gives coconut flavour profiles, while French oak gives subtle spicy nuances. Hungarian oak, on the other hand, is balanced between the two.

Chardonnays can have crisp versions to full-bodied, oak-aged versions and even, sparkling blanc de blancs.

Unnoaked Chardonnays can have green apples, pears, and citrus with chalky aromas or fragrant notes. Oaked Chardonnays, on the other hand, will present fragrant notes of peach, mango, and lemon.

Chardonnays can offer different taste experiences. Unoaked ones are typically crisp and lean with high acidity, often resembling Sauvignon Blanc.

On the other hand, oaked Chardonnays are creamy and full-bodied with moderate acidity with butter, vanilla and baking spices overlaying flavours.

Food Pairings

Due to its range of flavours, Chardonnay can be paired with almost anything.

For lean and sparkling styles of Chardonnay, the acidity can be high so it can be paired with creamy dishes or seafood. Oaked Chardonnays can be paired with richer foods, including crab cakes, halibut or pork tenderloin.


How is Chardonnay best served?

Chardonnay, like other white wines, is best served chilled, preferably around 45–50°F / 7-10°C. You can leave it in the refrigerator 2 hours before serving or 30-40 minutes in an ice-water bath. South Africa has almost a 400-year-long history in winemaking and wines produced from there boast the region's indigenous and unique, exotic and tropical flavours. Message In A Bottle has a full collection of South African wines you can choose from to help you know South Africa's rich and beautiful winemaking.