For at least two centuries, many wines have been kept in French oak barrels while they are fermenting. That explains why some wine tastes a bit “oaky.” Typically, this is the case with Chardonnay.
The characteristic flavor of Chardonnay is often associated with oak. But some winemakers are now using stainless steel vessels during the fermentation process, yielding an “unoaked” or “unwooded” wine.
With the oak, the result is a lighter, fruitier Chardonnay without the flavors of oak taking over. The flavor of the wine emphasizes the tastes of the grapes themselves and the soil where they were grown.
Select from these varieties of Unoaked Chardonnay and many others at Roche Bros. stores in Norton, Sudbury, Westwood, Marshfield and Wellesley:
Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay
Mer Soleil Silver is produced in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation in Monterey County, California. The region benefits from cool morning fog and afternoon breezes that result in a long growing season, producing intense fruit flavors balanced with vibrant acidity. The grapes that go into this Chardonnay are of the highest quality due to the unique climate, the vineyard location on east-facing slopes, vine-to-vine uniformity, low-yields and grapes picked at peak ripeness.
The resulting wine brings together the flavors of the vineyard and the grapes themselves. You’ll find pink grapefruit and key lime on the nose, followed by lemon zest and stone fruit. The mid-palate displays notes of lemon meringue, quince and citrus, complemented by a crisp acidity that carries through from start to finish. The higher acidity in this wine makes it an excellent accompaniment to a wide array of food, including salads, grilled seafood, tomato-based dishes and fresh oysters.
Kim Crawford’s Unoaked Chardonnay
If you like Chardonnay with true expression of fruit then this is one is for you! Without the oak, it’s a crisp wine that boasts the tastes of the grapes themselves. The grapes for this wine are from selected vineyards in Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay on the East Coast of New Zealand. These Chardonnay grapes were selected to create an approachable, and fruit-forward, unoaked-style Chardonnay. Exposure of the grapes to sunlight means the wine is fruit driven, made with ripe grapes. The wine has aromas of ripe tropical fruits — pineapple and ripe melon — with hints of butterscotch. On the palate, it’s approachable and full-bodied, with notes of stone fruit, butterscotch, and citrus characters. This wine matches well with seafood, white meats, and “fusion” food.
Yellow Tail Unoaked Chardonnay
Crisp and light, Yellow Tail Unoaked Chardonnay is a soft, fruity wine that tastes of melon and pears, with some citrus notes. It’s easy to drink, pairing beautifully with a wide variety of meals. It’s great with a simple chicken stir-fry or potpie, veggie dishes, including pasta primavera or Caprese salad, and grilled fish, such as swordfish or halibut.
This Australian Chardonnay depicts the Cape Barren Goose, a symbol of an endangered species. Over the years, many birds and animals have sought and found refuge in Yalumba’s sanctuary, land dedicated to native wildlife rehabilitation. Fermentation by natural or ‘wild’ yeast naturally present in the vineyard has helped shape this wine. The result is a wine with minerality, grapefruit and pineapple flavors.