I wrote this a long while ago for an online 'zine that sadly never came to fruition. Seems pointless to just sit on it, so I thought I would share it here.
So often in my life as Front of House/Sommelier/multiple restaurant job hat wearer, I have heard the words “Sorry, I don’t drink Chardonnay”. A flat, resounding ‘no’ to one of the most widely grown and versatile grapes of the family Vitis Vinifera. I have to wonder how many of you reading this have uttered those same words yourself. I’m betting a few of you.
Having faced so many disparaging comments about the ‘C’, I felt an overwhelming need to firstly, understand why so many people use the initialism ‘ABC’ and second, to ask, with irritation; “if you don’t drink chardonnay, then I suppose you don’t drink this…”?
So many utterly wonderful wines are made with Chardonnay. Do you love Champagne, English sparkling wine, Franciacorta? Yes? Then you’re drinking chardonnay. Probably as much as 70% Chardonnay in some examples. Do you like Chablis and wish more people knew about it? Yes? You’re drinking chardonnay. Do you like Macon-Charnay, or any white wine from Burgundy?? Yes, you’ve guessed it, you’re drinking Chardonnay!
Now, whilst I am quite old (I know I don’t look it), I’m not quite old enough to have been drinking in the 1980s, but I think this is the era from whence the Chardonnay loathing stems. Back in the 80’s it was de rigueur to drink Chardonnay, and lots of it. It was also very fashionable to drink oaked Chardonnay.
Why, oh, why, after everything we’ve learned and re-embraced after the 80s (yes, I am referring to the resurgence of Spitting Image, crimped hair and GBSB bringing back the power suit [albeit briefly]) are we not fully embracing the wonder that is Chardonnay and its charms?