What is Chardonnay

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Chardonnay is one of the most popular white wines in the world and has some distinct qualities that separate it from other vintages.

What is Chardonnay?

Chardonnay is a versatile green grape with a neutral flavor. Although it originated in the Burgundy region of France, it is now grown all over the world. The grape is used as a key ingredient in sparkling wines, including champagne. However, when processed alone, it produces a dry white wine by the same name, often with characteristic flavors of apple, melon, or butter.

The adaptability of the grape makes it highly sensitive to the area and conditions in which it is grown and produced, environmental factors that are known in the wine world as ‘terroir‘. This makes for a range of flavors and characteristics in the final product as per the research by RR Walker from the Cooperative Research Centre for Viticulture. It is one of the few white wines that are aged in oak, which can often be a key factor in the flavor palette. This popular white wine tends to be at the higher end of the alcohol content spectrum, at 13.5%-15% ABV.

A glass of white wine with a bunch of white grapes, placed on a wood barrel with blurred trees at the back.

A bubbly for a special occasion. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition

A single serving of this wine contains approximately 112 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates. A glass also contains small amounts of potassium and trace elements of zinc and iron.

Benefits

According to research, when consumed in moderation, the potential health benefits of this white wine include:

Chardonnay vs Pinot Grigio

Let us take a look at the difference between these two drinks.

  • Texture: Chardonnay is a richer and more full-bodied wine than the light and crisp Pinot Grigio. Chardonnay tends to be drier of the two wines.
  • Varieties: As a more sensitive grape variety, there is greater variation in the Chardonnay wines than in the Pino Grigio wines.
  • Alcohol content: Chardonnay often has a higher alcoholic content than Pinot Grigio.

Moderation is key. Alcoholism and binge drinking is detrimental to your overall health and can undo any possible good things that moderate amounts can impart.

Uses

This white wine variety should always be served cold. Due to the richness of flavor, it is well-paired with complex and rich meals such as the following:

Risks & Side Effects

It’s always best to drink any alcohol in moderation to avoid intoxication and other unpleasant side effects, such as the following:

  • Sickness
  • Headaches
  • Impaired decision-making

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who should not drink alcohol include women who are pregnant, individuals younger than 21 years of age, and people who are recovering from alcoholism or cannot control the amount they drink. Also, it should be avoided by people who are planning to drive or any other activity that required focus and skill. However, different countries have different rules on alcohol purchase and consumption.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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