5 Reasons Why We Should All Drink More Chardonnay


Following a Chardonnay 101 tasting –  a beginner’s guide to the world’s most famous white grape  –  I was reminded just how good it can be, from various places and at all sorts of prices.

Here are 5 reasons why we should all drink more Chardonnay:

1. Chardonnay loves food

Almost as much as I do. As Charles M Schulz might have written “Happiness is… a glass of buttery Chardonnay and a simply roast chicken”. Or Blanc de Blancs Champagne and a plate of Colchester Natives. Or 1er Cru Chablis and poached sea trout. Or… you get the idea.

2. It’s the terroir, darling

Variety is the spice of life and all that. Chardonnay is planted all over the world but is far from being boring and samey no matter where it is from.  As the unimpeachable Oxford Companion to Wine says “at its best, Chardonnay, like Pinot Noir, is merely a vehicle for the character of the vineyard in which it is grown” – and for the best evidence of this see the next point…

3. Burgundy Rocks

I am a fully signed up member of the ‘Burgundy is Best’ brigade. A shameless apologist for thin weedy wines that cost the same as a weekly Zone 3 travel pass, who is never happier than poring over a map of the Cote de Beaune’s crus.

Burgundy is the spiritual home of Chardonnay, where the terroir speaks louder than anywhere else; a mosaic of vineyards each with their own tale to tell. The lows might be incredibly frustrating but the highs make it all worthwhile. If I were a rich man, I’d drink nothing else. Well, almost nothing else.

4. It’s not like it used to be

The bad old days of sweet, butterscotch Chardonnay that taste more like a Werther’s Original than wine are long gone. If last week’s tasting taught me anything it is the gap between the Old World and New World has never been closer. We tried wines from places like Western Australia and Walker Bay in South Africa, they were as cool, calm and collected as anything from France.

5. It’s deeply unfashionable

It is always good to swim against the tide.

Gareth Groves
17th March 2011

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