Illustration by Amber Day
Chardonnay’s aroma and flavor profile spans the fruit flavor spectrum—from green and citrus fruits in cooler climates (like the light-bodied wines of Chablis) to stone and tropical fruits in warmer regions (like the fuller, rounder expressions from grapes grown under the California sun).
But beyond the wide array of primary fruits, Chardonnay—considered a neutral, non-aromatic grape variety—lends itself to a host of ‘other’ aromas and flavors, speaking to both site-specific terroir and the winemaking process
Smells and tastes like a struck match that was quickly dispelled. This is often purposefully created by the winemaker by putting the wine in a reductive environment (i.e. decreased oxygen exposure). For example, wine will see less oxygen when stored in a closed-top stainless steel, concrete or clay tank than it would in oak barrel.
Smells and tastes like wet river rock or, for city people, cement after a big rain. This quality is commonly found in cooler climate regions and is sometimes said to be an effect of the soils in which the vine is planted.