It is interesting that Chardonnay is labeled as unoaked when it is done in stainless steel tanks. Other whites are recognized for the presence of oak rather than its absence, like the Barrel Fermented Dry Riesling from Billsboro. What makes Chardonnay different? Why is it the only white wine where we assume it has oak?
It’s because most Chardonnays do have oak, and they’ve had quite a rocky relationship with it. Chardonnay was what set California apart from France during the infamous Judgement of Paris in 1976 (where Europeans first recognized that Americans could produce amazing wine), which led to a period in the 1980s known as “Chardonnay-mania”.
This led to overproduction of Chardonnay, a shift to heavily-oaked styles that were more like butter than wine, and production of chardonnays made with oak flavoring rather than actual oak. The backlash was fierce. The new fashion was called “ABC”- Anything But Chardonnay. Despite this, Chardonnay remains one of the top wines in the world, and is often synonymous with white wine.
I’m not a fan of the oak dominated Chardonnays- they mask the delicate flavors of apple, pear and floral qualities. That is why unoaked Chardonnay is the perfect drink for a warm night like tonight.
See: Golden yellow with highly reflective surface
Smell: Aromas of pear, apple, stone and slightly floral notes.
Sip: The palate has similar notes, but with added citrus notes and minerality. It has a great cleansing acidity that makes you want another sip.
Winery: Anthony Road Wine Company
Region/Sub-Region: Finger Lakes/Seneca Lake
Wine: Unoaked Chardonnay
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay