Chardonnay is a very popular kind of wine made from the green Chardonnay grape. These wines are common because they can be made in most every region of the world, thanks to the grape’s adaptability to most environments. Describing Chardonnay wine can be done with a little attention to the subtle details of the flavor and aroma notes that all Chardonnay wines carry.

Take your wine glass and slowly swirl it about a ½ an inch under your nose. Inhale and take in the aromas of the wine slowly. Pay attention to any scents that jump out right away and describe them, such as fruity, musky or spicy. If a particular fruit or flavor, such as apple or vanilla, stands out, describe that.

Take another gentle whiff of your wine, swirling it one more time, and try and concentrate on any undertones of aroma their might be. Some Chardonnays can have a strong fruity flavor, for example, but carry a slight undertone of oak or spice. Describe any undertones from that second whiff of wine you take.

Take a sip of your Chardonnay, but do not swallow it immediately. Move it around in your mouth and let it rest on your tongue for about 15 seconds, all the while taking note of any flavors you detect. You may notice that the flavors are similar to what you smelled in the beginning, or you may detect the opposite, such as a spicy taste to a floral smelling wine. Swallow and describe how the flavors compare to the smell.

Take another sip and this time let the Chardonnay rest on your tongue, making your tongue curve in slightly like a bowl for about 10 seconds. Take note of how the wine feels on your tongue, such as thick and heavy or watery. The thicker it feels, the heavier the wine‘s body, while if it feels like the weight of water, you can describe the body as light.

Tips

  • Common tastes and aromas of Chardonnays include apple, pear, pineapple, orange, vanilla, cinnamon, various woods like cedar, floral flavors like rose or lavender, or even a rich butter flavor.

  • Don’t be afraid to mention any bad or overwhelming flavors. If a wine makes your face scrunch up, for example, chances are that it is too bitter or to acidic. Speak up and discuss if there is something about the smell or taste that puts you off.

  • In between tasting different Chardonnays, take a small bite of bread or a whiff of coffee beans to help clear your palette, so that the next wine you try won’t be compromised in flavor by the wine before it.

  • Have a wine tasting party and coordinate so that everyone brings a different type of Chardonnay. Try the different brands among friends and you can get a good feel for the many different flavors that Chardonnays carry.