During the Cellar Door Festival in March I overheard many people say “I’ll skip the chardonnay”, and I really don’t understand why. People were acting like they were scared of it!
It’s a free taste, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Why anyone would have an apprehension towards trying something new is beyond me. I hate to imagine living in a sad wine rut of sauv blanc and maybe rose. A quick sidenote – I try not the openly laugh when I’m told that someone likes rose. It’s a very brave statement to make considering that rose can be made out of almost any red wine grape, and made sweet or dry, but I am far too polite to point that out.
Wine changes with every season, region, year, varietal, wine making techniques, barrels, and other variables; all of which make tasting wine so enjoyable.
Looking back there was a period when chardonnay was mass produced, overly buttery, bland and okay, bad. However, many of the chardonnays I tasted at the Cellar Door Festival were unoaked, lighter, easy drinking styles which would appeal to the masses, if they would try them. That seems to be the hardest part, convincing people that its not bad, it’s not what you expect. I’ve had bad wines from every varietal, and many great ones too, I never let a bad shiraz put me off shiraz.
As much as I’d love to hear more people ordering chardonnay in restaurants, I fear were this to happen, winemakers may only produce chardonnay to drink young. Depending on the method of production, chardonnay can age quite well, but sadly people who buy cases to age are a dying breed.
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A lot of people still really like the oaky buttery chardonnay; it seems to have a cult following! Personally I have to be in the mood. Like lindt milk bunnies as opposed to MnMs. (Not so much the difference in quality but more the style). I have people at CD who sound relieved that we have both a heavy duty oaky one and a not-so one.
Interestingly, I find more women who “just want something sweet”, which we don’t have at my winery, are more receptive to an oaked chardonnay. Or maybe they lie to not hurt my feelings 😦
But yes, some do run.