Chardonnay – is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced. For new and developing wine regions, growing Chardonnay is seen as a “rite of passage” and an easy entry into the international wine market.
The Chardonnay grape itself is very neutral, with many of the flavors commonly associated with the grape being derived from such influences as terroir (earth, sky, climate) and oak. Due to its versatility chardonnay is a grape that lets you taste the winemaker’s skill. In cool climates, Chardonnay tends to be medium to light body with noticeable acidity and flavors of green plum, apple and pear. In warmer locations the flavors become more citrus, peach and melon while in very warm locations more fig and tropical fruit notes such as banana and mango come out.
Chardonnay lends itself to most any style of wine making. The two winemaking decisions that most widely affect the end result of a Chardonnay wine is whether or not to use malolactic fermentation and the degree of oak influence used for the wine. Malolactic fermentation helps create the “buttery-ness” that is associated with some styles of Chardonnay. The wines that do not go though MLF will have more green apple like flavors. Oak can be introduced during fermentation or after in the form of the barrel aging. Depending on the amount of charring that the oak was treated with, this can introduce a “toastiness” and flavors that many wine drinkers mistake as a characteristic of the grape itself. These flavors can include caramel, cream, smoke, spice, coconut, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla.
At Four Leaves Winery we do a few things to help make our Chardonnay special. First we lightly oak the Chardonnay and introduce pear during fermentation. We also add a small amount of lemon peel to give the wine a nice crisp finish.
We encourage you to give our Chardonnay a try. Some consider it one of our signature wines. We hope you agree.