YOUR FESTIVE GUIDE TO THE ULTIMATE CHAMELEON VARIETAL
Chardonnay, the world’s original vinous chameleon, takes its cues from site and winemaker more than any other grape varietal, reflecting the environment in which it is grown and the intricate winemaking techniques used to create a completely unique house style. As such, it is those who grow and craft it who truly know it best.
We’ve asked our talented team of Viticulturists and Winemakers to share their go-to (and uncoventional) Chardonnay pairings and experiences to help you make the most of your favourite ‘chameleon’ varietal this festive season.
Versatile, consistent, elegant, powerful, complex and balanced, Chardonnay is, quite simply, a moreish wine that can be enjoyed with an infinite choice of pairings. Though traditional, don’t overlook the perennial favourite of home cooked roast chicken, cauliflower, potatoes and white sauce with Chardonnay that has a little bottle age (3+ years). For a more simple yet equally delicious pairing, quality salt and vinegar chips offer a unique match. Chardonnay helps to soften the palate, while the multitude of flavours provide interesting contrasting (stonefruit) and complementary (saline) notes.
I freely admit that I suffer from a severe case of cellar palate. I love the wines we make here at Vasse Felix and our Chardonnay is no exception. With its freshness, flavour, aroma, class and consistency, it revitalises the palate and when paired with a sunset, is pretty hard to beat. I love aromatic curries, and one that I particularly like to enjoy with the Vasse Felix Chardonnay is a Kashmiri Chicken. I really enjoy sipping and savouring this wine while laboring over mortar and pestle, grinding the spices for the Garam Masala. Absolute sensory overload!
The diversity in character of our Chardonnay fruit resources is unparalleled amongst the varieties we work with, making it a true chameleon. With its richness and precision, boldness and restraint, Chardonnay is so versatile in pairing with food and approachable at all stages of its life. I particularly enjoy pouring the Vasse Felix Chardonnay after a brisk sunset swim at Kilcarnup Beach. For those looking to try something a little different, I highly recommend pairing our Filius Chardonnay with Dim Sum.
I am a big fan of pairing Chardonnay with cheese - the stinkier the better in my opinion! The dirty and pungent Époisses cheese is a perfect match, though if you’re looking for a little more polish, Gruyère also works well. At dinner parties, I like to serve Chardonnay with cheese after the main course; the lovely acidity and palate tension of the wine encourages guests to savour and discuss. Most recently, I enjoyed the Vasse Felix Chardonnay with a Saffron Cheesecake - a suprisingly delicious pairing. The options really are endless.