I’m sure at least some of us have heard of “ABC” wine drinkers - “Anything But Chardonnay.” It’s just another one of those things I hear often that leaves me scratching my head. And in my opinion, when a person says something like that, he or she is sort of saying, “yes, I’m really that narrow minded.”
I know I’ve written on the problem of wine generalizations before, but that one really gets to me, and often. Aside from the fact that I really love a properly made Chardonnay, I’m of the belief that Chardonnay has so many faces these days based upon where it’s made, how much oak contact, etc., that it’s impossible to justify such a statement as, “I’ll drink anything but Chardonnay.”
I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes we find a grape that doesn’t seem to suit our palate. It’s happened to me - Gamay is one of those grapes with which I don’t often connect. But over the past year, I’ve tasted some nicely made Beaujolais at the Villages and Cru levels that have left a very good impression with me. Cabernet Franc and its green bell pepper characteristics has been a problem for me for a long time, and I hadn’t really found any that I could enjoy. And then I found one that worked for me.
It’s just plain silly to shut out all possibilities of ever enjoying a Chardonnay, just because of some that weren’t right for a person’s palate. Yes, many New World Chardonnays are overoaked, heavy, and taste like drinking apple pie. I certainly understand how that can be quite unappealing. But Chardonnay is made in so many different styles, and when made properly, Chardonnay can be so expressive, lovely, and enjoyable. It’s why some of the best and most important white wines in the world are in fact made from Chardonnay.
And before saying you drink Champagne but not Chardonnay, please stop and think first - often, Champagne is made from Chardonnay, particularly blanc de blancs.
It’s all a matter of finding the Chardonnay, or anything else, that’s right for you.