Chardonnay Wine Style Guide

Last updated: 9/2021

Applies to: winemakers looking to make Chardonnay and similar white wines wines in a variety of styles from crisp and fresh to round and full. This article contains a pdf download with complete process and product recommendations.

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Winemakers can drive wine style based on key processing decisions and correct product choice. We created these Scott Labs wine style guides to provide both process and product recommendations for helping winemakers achieve their stylistic goals.


Chardonnay & Similar White Wines

Learn how we think about "Chardonnay and similar white wines" to determine if this style guide is right for you:

Styles of Chardonnay

Chardonnay originated in Burgundy, France and is now grown in almost every wine-producing region. Although relatively neutral, Chardonnay is a chameleon which is easily adapted to different wine styles. Depending on the grape-growing practices and the winemaking decisions, Chardonnay can be lean and crisp or luscious and full-bodied, and anything in-between. The aromas and flavors of Chardonnay cover the fruit spectrum from apple and pear through melon, citrus, tropical, and stone fruits with some wines displaying richer flavors like honey and figs.

Chardonnay and Similar Varieties

Chardonnay, Pinot blanc, Chenin blanc, Chardonel, St. Pepin, La Crosse.

Unique Winemaking Considerations

Preserving aromatics

Each step in the winemaking process is focused on driving wine style so the aromatic complexity is long lasting and can withstand potentially longer periods before bottling.

Protecting against off-odors

Chardonnay is prone to developing volatile sulfur off-odors even when good fermentation practices are employed so no to low H2S production yeast strains are listed in this guide and should be considered.

Style-specific winemaking practices

Depending on style, these wines may undergo processes not typical for most white wine production including juice oxidation, barrel fermentation, malolactic fermentation, and barrel aging.

More Wine Style Guides

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Rosé Wines

Light-Bodied Red Wines

Medium-Bodied Red Wines

Full-Bodied Red Wines