Perfect Chardonnay Food Pairings with Recipes
As America’s favorite white wine, chardonnay graces every restaurant wine list and many dinner tables across the country. This versatile grape can be fashioned into endless wine styles, from unoaked to heavily oaked and all in-between. Each style cozies up to different dishes, but numerous factors determine the success of a chardonnay food pairing, from alcohol levels, acidity and even the amount of oak aging.
First off, not all chardonnays are created equal when it comes to serving with a meal. Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein, in his book Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food, writes that crisp acidity is the most crucial factor when pairing any wine with a dish, not just the queen of white wine. Acid can be a contrasting element by cutting through a rich, buttery or oily sauce; or a complementary nod to a tart dish, matching acid to acid. Oak usage in chardonnay is an age-old winemaking question but, with food match-ups, there is a definitive answer. “Lightly oaked wines,” Goldstein writes, “are the easiest to pair… I prefer wines that are low in oak [since] this creates a level playing field, allowing you more flexibility in matching your wine with different foods and methods of preparation.”