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Oaked OR UnOaked? Chardonnay

Posted on May 06, 2015

Just a quick explanation about the differences between Oaked or Unoaked Chardonnay. 

Colour

To start with there is usually a colour difference. The Oaked Chardonnay is darker yellow in colour, more golden in tone compared to the Unoaked Chardonnay which will be a lighter straw colour. Oak barrels are porous, allowing the wine to breathe, the wine’s exposure to oxygen naturally changes the colour. The oaked wine will have buttery hints on the nose due to the malolactic fermentation. 

Aroma

The aroma of oak will show in the wine, of the unoaked wine will have more pure, clean fruit aromas.

Palate

The wine matured in oak barrels goes through malolactic fermentation so is less zingy, more rounded in character. The wine matured in stainless steel tanks will have more clean crisp fruit flavours unaltered by the wood. Basically the wine matured in oak barrels have more rounded layers of fuller fruit flavours, and the unoaked wine is zingy with fruit and flavours of the terrior.

 

Something to try >

Unoaked 

Try Lorgeril L’Orangerie de Pennautier Chardonnay 2013. This is wonderfully zingy & crisp with clean fruit flavours of pineapple, grapefruit & lemon with hints of hazelnut – and at £8.30 a bottle, it’s seriously good value.

 

Oaked 

Simonsvlei Premier Selection Chardonnay 2013. Lightly oaked wine. Delicious rounded fruit flavours of lemon, pawpaw and vanilla. This stunning wine is only £7.25 a bottle.

 

Which style do we prefer? The unoaked chardonnay is usually crisper, fresher and lighter in style – a wine we think of for warmer weather. The oaked chardonnay can be slightly heavier, more full bodied, so often more suited to heavier dishes and colder weather. Basically – we like both and drink them both throughout the year!

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