Viognier vs. Chardonnay: The Untold Similarities, Differences & Selection Criteria

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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Another pair that looks alike and are both from France? These two white wines have to be similar in some ways, right? 

While they do have more similarities than differences, their differences hold the strength to separate these two wines apart from one another. Let’s get into the specific comparisons between a Viognier and a Chardonnay. 


Is Viognier The Same As Chardonnay?

While looking extremely visually similar with the same origin, don’t be fooled. Viognier and Chardonnay are not the same and really do have their own unique notes, which ultimately sets them apart from one another. 

A wine bottle with a tag on it - Viognier vs. Chardonnay: Similarities, Differences & Selection Criteria

What Is Similar about Viognier and Chardonnay?

The visual similarities of the wine tend to mask their differences. Both Viognier and Chardonnay are white wines that can both be made into dry styles. Both are originating in France. You might see a common blend of these two wines together on the market.


What Is The Difference Between Viognier and Chardonnay?

The main focusing difference between both these wines is indeed their unique notes. A Viognier is known for its unique mix of fruity and floral notes. 

When enjoying this beverage, you might be able to detect notes of peach, mango, and other floral notes relating to rose. Unlike Chardonnay, Viognier also pairs with a wide variety of foods from scallops to anything citrus, down to almonds!

A Chardonnay can hold two different sets of notes depending on whether the wine was aged in oak or not. When aged in oak, the Chardonnay will hold creamy notes of vanilla and butter. In comparison, an unoaked Chardonnay will carry more fruity notes like apple and starfruit. 

Unlike Viognier, Chardonnay will be more likely to compliment cuisines with halibut, chicken, pork, and raw fish dishes like sushi. 


Which One Is Sweeter Or Drier Than The Other?

Considering both wines are made to be a dry style, the aroma of the Viognier may counteract itself. You see, the Viognier has the aromas that may distort how dry wine actually is, making it seem sweeter than the Chardonnay. 

Seeming sweet even when the wine is Dry, comparing a sweet Viognier to a Chardonnay will bring clarity to the pallet, exposing that the wine’s specific style is sweeter than the Chardonnay. 


Which One Has More Alcohol Content?

Noting that both the wine’s alcohol content varies depending on factors like the climate in which it was produced, the estimated alcohol content of the two generally remains slightly similar to one another. 

For example, a Viognier’s alcohol content ranges from 13-15% by volume. While the Sauvignon Blanc ranges from around 12-14% alcohol content by volume. 


How Do I Choose Between Viognier and Chardonnay?

The most simple answer is that you don’t! According to the wine community and its handful of Chardonnay and Viognier fans, it’s said that If you prefer a Chardonnay, you will most likely favor a Viognier and vice versa! 

However, if you prefer notes of vanilla and butter over fruity and floral notes, you will enjoy a dry Chardonnay. If you enjoy delicate floral notes, a Viognier will be more for you.


Final Thoughts On Viognier and Chardonnay

They look the same, they walk and talk the same, but they are most definitely not the same, according to their unique notes and fermentation processes. 

Overall, Viognier is known to be the sweeter of this pair. Both Viognier and Chardonnay hold around the same amount of alcohol content.