A glass of Chardonnay goes amazing with seafood or any food that’s subtle in taste. But did you know that there can be two different chardonnays? Buttery Chardonnay and regular Chardonnay are different. And today, we’ll explain in greater depth each one so that you can know the difference the next time you’re picking out Chardonnay.
What’s the difference between regular Chardonnay and buttery Chardonnay?
Regular Chardonnay is actually unoaked. When you buy a bottle, they often come with a twist-on cap. As a result, the taste is more fruity and light-bodied. Unoaked chardonnays are made in steel barrels during the fermentation and aging process.
If a Chardonnay is buttery, smoky, or nutty, it is likely that they were made in an oak barrel. These types are often bottled that come with a cork that needs a corkscrew to open it. The flavor profile that you get with oaked chardonnays depends on the top of the oak that’s used.
The type of oak typically used for oaked chardonnays is American and French. The type of barrel that the chardonnays are in also depends on age.
The buttery flavor comes through a process that is called malolactic fermentation. This means that the wine is less acidic, and there are noticeable more creamy (buttery) notes.
What are the similarities between regular Chardonnay vs. buttery Chardonnay?
I’ve discussed above what the two are, but do they have any similarities? Let’s find out.
Both versions of chardonnays have to go through fermentation and the aging process. Both regular and buttery chardonnays also use the same grapes to make the wine, even though both go through different processes.
Which One is Sweeter or Drier?
If you prefer a drier wine, you will enjoy the regular Chardonnay. These wines are often made in Europe in steel-based barrels.
If you prefer something that’s sweeter, the buttery Chardonnay that’s been aged in an oak barrel will give you that sweeter taste that you’re looking for. This type of wine is also creamier as well.
How do I choose between regular Chardonnay and buttery Chardonnay?
It depends on what you are in the mood for and what you’re eating. Lighter meals such as chicken or fish go well with regular Chardonnay. Smoked and heavier spice meals go better with buttery Chardonnay.
Of course, if you’d like a sipping wine to drink by itself, the regular (unoaked, naked) is the best choice. It’s light-bodied, crisp, and fruity. It’s also on the drier side and has less than 10 grams of sugar per 6 oz glass.
However, if you prefer the smoker and buttery taste, the buttery (oaked) Chardonnay is what you want. It often has notes of vanilla, caramel, and sometimes even hazelnut, depending on the oak that’s used.
Buttery chardonnays are best enjoyed with grilled or smoked foods, as it is a full-bodied wine.
Which is the better wine?
Buttery and regular Chardonnay are both delicious in their own retrospects. But, as you know by now, both have different profiles and go well with different food. So is the buttery wine better than the regular one? It truly boils down to preference.
Regular Chardonnay is less expensive than the buttery one because it’s easy to make this kind. The regular one also focuses on the simplicity of the grapes, and that’s why you taste the fruitiness. These types can be enjoyed on their own or with a meal that calls for white wine.
Buttery Chardonnay is expensive because it’s harder to make. The oak barrels have to give off that flavor through the fermentation and malolactic fermentation process to get that buttery flavor. As a result, you can taste the delicious creamy flavors that are enjoyed in oaked chardonnays.
Final Thoughts on Regular Chardonnay vs. Buttery Chardonnay
Regular and buttery chardonnays are two different versions of the same grape. They both go through different fermentation processes and pair well with different food. Yet, they are both just as good. It truly boils down to your preferences. Do you fancy a drier wine for an afternoon on the deck?
You’ll love the regular Chardonnay. Are you looking for something that’s richer in flavor that will complement smoked chicken or fish? The buttery one will be perfect for that meal. Hopefully, you can take this knowledge between the two wines so that it’ll be an easy decision in the future.