For The Love Of Chardonnay

To celebrate World Chardonnay Day, we thought it was high time to shine a spotlight on this exquisite, yet seemingly polarising varietal.

A Sip Back in Time

First things first, let’s talk history. Chardonnay, like a fine wine, has a rich backstory. Originating from the Burgundy region of France, it’s been cultivated since the Middle Ages. Back then, it was known simply as “Pinot Chardonnay,"  a nod to its genetic connection to Pinot Noir.

Fast forward to the modern era, and Chardonnay has spread its vinous wings across the globe, from the sun-drenched vineyards of California to the rolling hills of Australia. An esteemed member of the ‘noble grape’ society, Chardonnay is one of the most widely planted varieties, at just over 210,000 hectares (520,000 acres) worldwide.

What to Expect From A Chardonnay

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty – the taste!

Chardonnay grapes yield well, ripen early, and provide fertile ground for a plethora of different winemaking techniques. Many of the flavours commonly associated with Chardonnay are actually a result of outside influences such as oak and terroir (environmental factors). 

Chardonnay is a chameleon of a grape, capable of producing wines that run the gamut from crisp and refreshing to rich and buttery. Picture this: a sip of Chardonnay and you’re transported to a sun-drenched orchard, where notes of ripe apple, citrus, and tropical fruits dance on your palate. But wait, there’s more! Some Chardonnays undergo malolactic fermentation, giving them that luscious, creamy texture reminiscent of a velvety custard. It’s like a liquid hug for your taste buds!

Oak vs. Stainless Steel

One of the most significant decisions in crafting Chardonnay is whether to age it in oak barrels or stainless steel tanks. This choice can dramatically alter the wine's flavour profile. Oak aging lends Chardonnay a luxurious richness, with notes of vanilla, caramel, and toasted nuts, while stainless steel preserves the grape's natural fruit flavours, resulting in a crisper, more fruit-forward wine. Each method has its devotees, and the debate between oak and stainless steel is as old as winemaking itself. Some prefer the creamy texture and complexity imparted by oak, while others relish the purity and freshness of stainless steel-aged Chardonnay. It's a matter of personal preference, but one thing is certain – whether it's kissed by oak or kept pure and stainless, Chardonnay never fails to delight.

Our Chardonnay:

Chardonnay holds a very special place in our hearts here at Witches Falls. Not only was it the first white variety produced in 2003, but it also became the pioneering variety in our exceptional Wild Ferment Collection a few years later.

Fast forward to today, we now produce two delightful and decidedly different Chardonnays. By employing two distinct and separate winemaking techniques upon a single varietal, we are able to demonstrate Chardonnay’s immense capacity for diversity. Soft, golden, and buttery; our Wild Ferment Chardonnay has been matured in French oak which contributes to is rich texture and delicate balance. Aged in stainless steel, our Provenance Chardonnay is its zesty counterpart. Herbaceous aromas and a bright, citrusy palate afford this Chardonnay an easy-drinking freshness and fruit-driven palate not often seen in the Chardonnay varietal.

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Pairing Perfection

Let’s talk food – because what’s wine without a delectable dish to accompany it? Chardonnay is a team player, ready to complement a wide array of culinary delights. Feeling fancy? Pair it with a buttery lobster bisque or a creamy risotto loaded with wild mushrooms. Craving something lighter? Opt for grilled chicken or a fresh salad dressed with citrus vinaigrette. And let’s not forget everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure – a plate of buttery popcorn. Yes, you heard that right! Chardonnay and popcorn are a match made in snack heaven.

To Age or Not To Age?

Ah, the age-old question: to cellar or to drink immediately? While some Chardonnays benefit from a few years of aging, many are best enjoyed young and vibrant. That’s the beauty of Chardonnay – it’s versatile enough to please both the impatient and the patient among us. So, whether you’re cracking open a fresh-off-the-shelf bottle or dusting off a vintage from the depths of your cellar, rest assured Chardonnay has your back.

For our Chardonnays, the Provenance is best enjoyed while young and fresh and while our Wild Ferment drinks incredibly now, it will continue to mature and develop with careful cellaring for up to 8 years. 

In Conclusion

In the world of wine, Chardonnay reigns supreme as the queen of versatility. From its humble beginnings in Burgundy to its global domination, this grape has captured the hearts (and palates) of wine lovers everywhere. So, the next time you find yourself perusing the wine aisle or planning a dinner party, remember to reach for a bottle of Chardonnay. Your taste buds will thank you!

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