Food - Drink
Oaked Vs Unoaked Chardonnay: What's The Difference?
By LISA CURRAN MATTE
Chardonnay is so popular that its name has become a generic term for white wine, but it really is its own unique variety made from a specific type of grape. Chardonnay grapes are a cross between Gouais Blanc and Pinot, and while all Chardonnays are made from the same fruit, some varieties are "oaked" while others are "unoaked."
Oaked Chardonnay is aged in oak barrels, while unoaked Chardonnay is aged in stainless steel. The wine aged in oak barrels undergoes a process known as malolactic fermentation, which converts puckery malic acid into smooth and buttery lactic acid, while unoaked Chardonnay keeps its fruity, crisp, and acidic qualities.
Unoaked Chardonnay showcases the simplicity of the grape, and is favored by wine connoisseurs, while buttery and oaky varieties are favored by casual drinkers. According to Wine Folly, today's unoaked Chardonnay is incredibly similar to a French wine called Chablis, which is made from the same grapes.