Finding the Perfect Food Pairing for Your Favorite Chardonnay

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Pairing the right food with your wine can be the difference between a good meal and a great one. Some wines are perfect alongside a nice, juicy steak with mashed potatoes, while others are more suited to a nice lean piece of white fish and some fresh vegetables.

If you love Chardonnay, there are lots of foods you can enjoy with your next bottle. Here are some tips for pairing a nice glass of chardonnay with the right food.

Types of Chardonnays

Even though all chardonnays have some basic things in common, they are nowhere near all the same. Chardonnays can have various different flavors depending on how they’re made and how ripe they are. A chardonnay that’s very ripe, for example, will tend to have more tropical fruit flavors, while its less-ripe counterparts are more likely to have simple fruit flavors, such as lemon or green apple.

Chardonnay often gets part of its flavor profile from oak aging. When the wine reacts with the oak barrels it’s kept in, it often gets very dessert-like flavors, such as vanilla, butter, sugar, coconut and praline.

Like with any bottle of wine, serving temperature is important when it comes to enjoying a good glass of chardonnay. An oak-aged chardonnay should be served at about 54 degrees F, while others need to be chilled to about 48 degrees F. These are all important things to consider when deciding what to pair your next bottle of chardonnay with.

What to Pair Chardonnay With

The foods you pair your chardonnay with will ultimately depend on what kind of Chardonnay you’re drinking. Here are some foods tips for pairing each type of chardonnay.

For a chardonnay that isn’t oak aged, such as a young white burgundy, you’ll want to serve something light and fresh feeling to match the flavor of the wine. White meats like fish and chicken are great choices, as are pastas and dishes where fresh vegetables are the standout. The right salad can also make a wonderful pairing with an unoaked chardonnay, as can other seafood such as oysters.

For lightly oaked chardonnays, step up the richness of your food pairing. Think the same things with a rich element added, such as fish or chicken in a cream sauce, or meat and cheese based salads.

Oaked chardonnays which are full-bodied are great for even richer dishes. A good eggs benedict or some late summer vegetables are always promising choices, as is a solid cheddar cheese.

Mature chardonnays often have a creamy taste, so they need dishes that are a bit more refined to match. Look for dishes with plenty of umami flavor, including shellfish, roast chicken, and dishes that make use of mushrooms. This will accentuate the creaminess of the wine and complement its flavors.

Some chardonnays, such as Jordan Winery’s best chardonnay, fall somewhere in the middle of all of these and can be paired with nearly any food that goes with Chardonnay, from rich creamy chicken dishes to fresh vegetables and cheeses.