We have all seen terms like buttery, creamy, smooth on the back label of our favorite Chardonnay, but what does that mean in terms of pairing? For me, corn on the cob, lobster, and crab legs come to mind. The buttery texture of some Chardonnays just naturally stand up to foods that we often serve with butter. You might wonder why some Chardonnays have this creamy, buttery texture and flavor and others do not. In a word, malolactic fermentation. Ok that’s two words, but it is often rattle off as one word by wine folks during tastings. Here’s why. Malolactic fermentation (MFL) is a biochemical process that happens naturally in the winery. The process converts malic acid (think tart green apple) to lactic acid (think milk) resulting in a wine that is fuller in body, softer acid with a distinct creamy mouthfeel and buttery aromas. Not all winemakers desire these qualities – so they stop the process leaving the wine higher in acid and lighter in body. I happen to like both version of Chardonnay, but when it comes to summer sipping with seasonal corn on the cob fresh off the grill buttery Chard gets my vote every time. Cheers!
Pairing Buttery Chardonnay
About the Author: Marianne Frantz
A Certified Wine Educator, Marianne holds a Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) of London, and has also earned the Advanced Sommelier qualification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. After successfully participating in an educational competition sponsored by the Wines of Australia in the spring of 2008, Marianne became an educational Ambassador for Wine Australia USA. She is also a Certified Spanish Wine Educator.