"You know, a lot of people consider Chardonnay to be a safe bet, something light and easy and comfortable," Jenkins said, "but in reality, it's a lot more full-bodied and aggressive than you may think. And the profile can also vary greatly depending on the region. There's a lot to be considered, here."
Chardonnay is thought by many to be "standard" white wine. On the whole, it will usually be fruity, velvety, and full. But American Chardonnay will typically be creamy, and more "buttery" than blends that come from the Burgundy region of France, for example (which will be a little more pointed, and will cut through some softer foods). And for what it's worth, an "unoaked chardonnay" -- meaning not aged in oak barrels -- will often have a much lighter body, and carry some stronger, fruitier flavors that might be absorbed during the process.
"Chardonnay can be a safe bet, a crowd-pleaser, especially if it's an American blend. But make sure you also find out where it's actually from, before you make any assumptions," Jenkins added.
Best Foods to Pair It With?:
New-school, American Chardonnay will definitely pair well with anything creamy, or packing plenty of umami.
"A really rich, mushroom-centric dish that would be ideal there," Jenkins said. "A Chablis, on the other hand, is super light and mineral-y, and would be better served as a companion to oysters."
Make sure to read your labels, potential wine-drinkers!