California

Chardonnay

Study Guides > Varieties > Chardonnay

Signature Styles & Characteristics

Although any grape can be interpreted in innovative and at times, outlying styles, the below chart/graphic represents the preponderance of what you will find in California:

  • Dryness/Residual Sugar

    Still: 30 percent on a scale from Dry to Sweet of Dryness/Residual Sugar. Sparkling: 30 percent on the same scale.

  • Acid (potential)

    Still: 55 percent on a scale from Low to High of Acid (potential). Sparkling: 85 percent on the same scale.

  • Alcohol (potential)

    Still: 85 percent on a scale from Low to High of Alcohol (potential). Sparkling: 50 percent on the same scale.

  • Body (weight on palate)

    Still: 100 percent on a scale from Low to High of Body (weight on palate). Sparkling: 50 percent on the same scale.

  • Texture

    Still: 100 percent on a scale from Lean to Smooth of Texture.

  • Tannin

    Still: 100 percent on a scale from Light to Full of Tannin. Sparkling: 100 percent on the same scale.

*Not applicable, however resulting wines can be slightly phenolic due to skin contact and/or new oak.

Aromas/Flavors

Influenced by climate, terroir, clonal selection and winemaking.

    Age
  • Np Fruit 3293668 000000

    Fruit

    Lemon, lime, grapefruit, tangerine, mandarin orange, peach, nectarine, pear, apple, pineapple, fig, guava, melon, banana, marmalade, mango, passion fruit, kiwi, quince, cucumber
  • Floral

    Floral

    Mint, lemongrass, verbena, lemon thyme, aromatic white flowers, lemon, lime, or citrus blossoms, blond tobacco
  • Icon Earth

    Earth

    Minerals, stones, gunflint, steel, mushrooms, chalk, forest floor (humus)
  • Icon Wood

    Wood (oak)

    Smoke, cream, vanilla, custard, caramel, bread crust, burnt sugar, molasses, maple syrup, honey, toast, coconut, hazelnut, almond, walnut, cashew, nutmeg, ginger
  • Icon Other

    Other

    Popcorn, butter, butterscotch, yeast, plain yogurt, cornmeal, oatmeal, flan, lemon curd

Ageability

3 to 15 years on average, pedigree-dependent; the best high altitude and cool climate bottles can live even longer