Chardonnay Wine 101 – A Beginner’s Guide

By Brian Lemay No comments

Whats is up guys? Julien Miquel here of Social Vignerons. Welcome back to another wine video. This is episode #10 of Julien’s
3.5 Minute Wine School. Today we are going to be learning
the top 5 fun, and hopefully interesting… facts you should really know
about the whole famous Chardonnay white wine grape variety. I am going to try to make this into a 3.5-minute video for once… So let’s go and jump right into it! So, Chardonnay, the grape, originates from France,
and more precisely the Burgundy area, or as we say in French: Bourgogne.
It is, or it was in fact named after a village in Bourgogne, that’s called
still this day: Chardonnay. The Romans, the ancient Romans used to
call the village: Cardonnacum, which translates into the “area of thistles”,
I guess because there was a lot of thistles at the time. “Chardon’, the world
“chardon” being French for thistle too. So the historic legend in France goes
that Chardonnay, the win,e owes its popularity to the wife of Emperor
Charlemagne, a big important Emperor, French Emperor during the Middle Ages,
who conquered virtually the whole of Europe. His wife ordered white wine
grapes to be planted in Burgundy, because… she was fed up with the red wine staining
her husband’s beard while he was drinking! So, from a winemaking standpoint
Chardonnay is a relatively neutral grape variety, flavor wise and aroma wise.
There’s not many signature aromas that come out of Chardonnay wine and Chardonnay grapes in particular. Also, because, it is so adaptable to many environments all around the world, it can virtually be grown everywhere (and it is actually
grown everywhere around the world). So, Chardonnay is somewhat a bit of a
blank canvas for winemakers to paint… into any style of white wine that they
choose, and many winemakers choose to paint it with a lot of oak ,a lot of
malolactic fermentation in new oak, often, which infuses a lot of buttery,
vanilla character into the wine. Hence Chardonnay often being associated with a rather heavy, oaky style, full of fresh tropical, ripe tropical fruit flavors. But unoaked Chardonnay
is in fact… crisp, it’s often very floral, and it can
be extremely elegant. This very style of refined Chardonnay is what’s made the
success of the crisp and refined style of Burgundy wines, and Chablis in
particular. This is actually a pretty decent
burgundy Chardonnay wine! So, Chardonnay is a grape variety behind,pretty much,
all the white wines in Burgundy, France, including some of the most famous
examples being the ones from Chablis, as we talked about, and Meursault, Puligny and Chassagne-Montrachet down in the Southern Cote de Beaune, or Corton-Charlemagne, if we talk about Grands Crus. Those are some of the most famous
Chardonnay wines in Burgundy. But what’s a a little bit lesser-known perhaps,
is that Chardonnay is also a major component in the sparkling French wines made in
Champagne. You know, the luxury, illustrious, Champagne sparkling wines?
In Champagne though, they generally blend… Chardonnay with two red grape varieties
which are Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. There are though some wines in Champagne,
that are called Blanc de Blancs, which are made from 100% everything Chardonnay
wines. I made a video explaining what are Blancs de Blancs and what it means for the taste and flavors of Champagne wines. You can go and check this out here.
Also, Chardonnay is commonly used in many sparkling wines all around the
world. That’s true for the sparkling wines… made in California, from the
Carneros for example, to the south of the Napa Valley. And I reviewed the wines from Domaine Carneros
right here… I will link to it right here. Or the wines from
the Anderson Valley, from Roederer Estate for example, just to name a couple.
Chardonnay is also behind the English sparkling wines, many Crémant wines in France,
Franciacorta in Italy, or even Cava in Spain. Virtually, only Prosecco wines never use any Chardonnay as sparkling wines are concerned. Humm! So now I’m wondering why I didn’t name one of my daughters Chardonnay!? Because yes! Chardonnay is an actual given name,
given to people, to babies. In the United Kingdom, the name became fashionable due to a character who was called… Chardonnay Lane-Pascoe in a television
series called the Footballer’s Wives, that started broadcasting back in 2002.
That particular year, 2002, from virtually no one being named Chardonnay before, 65 baby girls were named Chardonnay in the UK. Believe it or not. Crazy! Anyways that was it for me.
I hope you enjoyed this video… Tomorrow I will be releasing, the Top 5
Advanced-Facts that you should know about Chardonnay, for those of you who
want to go even further, dig a little deeper, into Chardonnay. We will be exploring the wine countries, different wines styles, and going a little bit deeper,
for those of you who want to continue expanding your wine knowledge, with the
Julien’s Wine School. So, stay tuned to the channels for this.
Or, if you’re watching this at a later date… I will link to it down in description below, and at the end of this very video.
I hope you enjoyed this video… if you did give it a quick thumbs up.
It helps me and supports my channel, it helps me producing and sharing
more of the passion and knowledge for wine. I will see you soon…
in the wonderful world of wine. Cheers! Santé!

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