What's the Difference Between Oaked and Unoaked Chardonnay?


Have you ever wondered why some Chardonnay is creamy and buttery, and others are crisp and bright? What makes the same grape taste so different? Oaked Chardonnay is a type of wine that has been exposed to oak barrel aging which can give the wine flavors of vanilla, toast, and caramel. Aging in oak allows the wine to breathe and take in oxygen, which allows the wine to mature faster. These wines tend to be creamier and smoother, and many people will describe them as buttery. Oaked Chardonnay pairs very well with light dishes like fish and chicken.

Unoaked Chardonnay is a type of wine that has not been exposed to oak barrel aging, often being aged in steel barrels. The steel does not affect the flavor of the wine, so you end up with cleaner, more fruit forward, and crisp flavors in unoaked Chardonnay. These wines also tend to have a lighter profile than oak aged Chardonnay, where the acid takes a more prominent position making the wine bright and crisp. An unoaked Chardonnay tends to pair well with a larger array of dishes, than oaked.

At Teneral Cellars we believe the fruit of the wine speaks for itself and have let it shine in both our 2017 Chardonnay which was aged in stainless steel as was our 2019 Monterey Chardonnay. Our newest 2021 Chardonnay from El Dorado County was aged in oak. Take the Tastry Palate Quiz to be matched with the perfect wines for your unique palate.

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