Thursday, June 10, 2010

Do you prefer to go naked?

This post is written by guest blogger and wine aficionado Jim Hutchings.

At Vynecrest Winery’s first Chardonnay Weekend event last weekend, they had two versions of their new Chardonnay: oaked and un-oaked (also called naked Chardonnay). Events like this showcase the versatility of grapes and how such different results can come from a single grape.

The winemakers at each winery craft their wine in different fashions, leaving more residual sugar in the final product or letting it ferment more fully to create a drier wine. We see this with Riesling, Vidal, and Chambourcin at many of the wineries.

A difference in sugar levels makes wildly different wines from the same grape, but so does the introduction of oak to the wine-making process. The addition of oak to a white wine makes a completely different wine.

Personally, I prefer an oaked Chardonnay because of the toasty, buttery taste. This is in stark contrast to the crisp, more fruit-forward unoaked Chardonnay. Naked Chardonnay is still delicious, but with unoaked dry Riesling, Vidal, Seyval, GrĂ¼ner Veltliner, and Pinot Gris wines on the trail, I particularly enjoy how an oaked Chardonnay stands out from the pack.

What are your tastes?

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