Wine 101: Chardonnay & White Burgundy

Chardonnay—grown in almost every wine-producing country in the world—is a ubiquitous grape that creates widely varied wines.

Chardonnay is originally from France’s Burgundy region, where the best white Burgundies are powerful and rich, with complex fruit flavors and notes of earth and minerals. More affordable Chardonnays from Burgundy—for instance, those simply labeled Bourgogne Blanc—are crisp and lively, with apple and lemon flavors.

Chardonnays from America, Australia and Chile tend to be ripe and full-bodied, even buttery, with higher alcohol levels and vanilla notes from oak aging. Recently, however, more and more wine regions have been experimenting with fruity, fresh Chardonnays produced with very little or even no oak aging.

Pair Chardonnays in the leaner Burgundian style with roasted chicken or seafood; the more voluptuous New World Chardonnays pair well with pasta dishes made with cream or cheese, with lobster or other rich seafood and with Asian dishes that include coconut milk.

Rich, Complex White Burgundy

Pasta with Salmon Caviar

Top Bottles

  • Olivier Leflaive Meursault-Charmes 1er Cru (France)
  • Leroy Bourgogne Blanc (France)
  • Deux Montille Meursault (France)

Recipe Pairings

Light, Crisp White Burgundy

Halibut with Mixed Beans and Lemon-Butter Sauce

Top Bottles

  • Oliver Merlin Mâcon La Roche Vineuse (France)
  • Dominique Cornin Domaine de Lalande ?Mâcon Chaintré (France)
  • Domaine William Fèvre Chablis (France)

Recipe Pairings

Ripe, Luxurious Chardonnay

Boudin Blanc with Leeks and Mustard Sauce

Top Bottles

  • Ramey Carneros (California)
  • Penfolds Thomas Hyland (Australia)
  • Shingleback (Australia)
  • Kumeu River Maté’s Vineyard (New Zealand)

Recipe Pairings

Fruity, Low-Oak Chardonnay

Grant Achatz’s Mac and Cheese

Top Bottles

  • Nozzole Le Bruniche (Italy)
  • Yalumba Y Series Unwooded (Australia)

Recipe Pairings

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