Personally I'm a YAY when it comes to Chardonnay, always gonna try it.
I completely understand those of team Ne. A grape that arguably produces the greatest white wines on the planet can also produce wines that offend profoundly.
Chardonnay has become synonymous with the term ubiquitous. Ubiquitous in that it can be grown just about anywhere, be tampered with in all sorts of ways - filled out with oak, soured up with acid, sweetened down with sugars and even revved up with booze (Chardonnay both positively and at its own detriment, yields to the maker), and available to buy almost anywhere, we're talking corporate Chardonnay. Chardonnay on mass, crowd-pleasing Chardonnay - the stuff that I personally enjoyed once a upon a time, fairly long ago and now and again when the night should've been over, but your mind and will..... When your palate is long exhausted and your fine wine collection is at a safe distance. If we're to draw parallels, I'd say I mostly cook and eat healthily and occasionally splurge for the experiential but have no shame with the occasional junk food - and that's not your in-between glamorised and pricey burgers, no. Straight up Mcdonald's. There's a time and a place and a version of you that would be satisfied.
This is a grape that has sadly been machined and served as feed to those who are happy and willing in their buying habits. No judgement. I'm here to satisfy my curiosity and thirst of experience, which happens to be in the microcosm of wine and share that with my fellow keen palates.
Saying that, it's always good to look a little longer and ponder a little more beneath the label and superficial pleasantness of the first sip.
Chardonnay is the most planted white varietal in the world. It's is either oaked or unoaked in varying degrees... I could list you factoids - instead I'm going to channel Hippocrates theory on fluids; the four humours or temperaments that can succinctly categories Chardonnays.
The four temperaments
Sanguine tendencies: Lively, vivacious, flirty and fun. Warm-heart and optimistic in character but also flighty and changeable. At worst, poor in focus and chronically late. Oops. Unoaked Chardonnay, Macons or Chardonnays from the Côte Chalonnaise, South of Côte d'Or in Burgundy. Young, fresh and vibrant. No structure - just straight up fruit to quench your thirst. Can be tropical or show tartness of orchard fruits.
Jackhammer Chardonnay is all about this expression. Plenty of fruit with constant freshness and no oak.
Phlegmatic leanings: steadfast and consistent, thoughtful and resilient with rich souls that are significantly profound. Quietly confident and calming placid lakes with great depths. Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault 1er Cru or the Chardonnays or Hawkes Bay New Zealand or Mornington Peninsula, Australia. Chardonnays that hold an underlying richness while maintaining a strong line of acidity, strengthened by well judged-oak that gives you just a hint of butter for your toast.
Our example is Ochota Barrels from a single vineyard in Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Precise and fresh, elegant minerals and a huge depth of flavour. Creamy on the finish.
Melancholic sensibilities: shy introverts, aloof, elegant and self absorbed, mysterious and highly creative, precise and critical. Perfectionist. Chablis Grand Cru, Corton-Charlmagne or Chardonnays with little or no oak, takes a while to open up, but once does, owns you.
Choleric traits: Power driven, daring and decisive. Passionate and ambitious. Extroverted and optimistic. At worst, domineering and aggressive. The powerful and sumptuous Batard-Montrachet , Chevalier-Montrachet Grand crus or big bold oak-rich and ripe Californian Chardonnays or Aussie heavy weights with toasty oak. The type of white wines that standup to large slab of grilled steak.
Our Salamander Chardonnay by Andreas Tscheppe is bold, rich and toasty and smokey from the rather unhinged feature of reduction - something Andreas flirts with. Great with lobster but ready for you steak.