Different Types of Chardonnay
Last year we released a new and expressive wine into our portfolio, Cupcake Vineyards Butterkissed Chardonnay! But how is this Chardonnay different from our existing Monterey County Chardonnay? And who knew there were different types of Chardonnay?! Who better to break it down for us than our very own winemaker, Jessica Tomei (the epitome of Choose Joy and everything it stands for)!
Q: What’s the taste difference between these two Chardonnays?
A: Chardonnay can be made in a variety of ways that influence its taste…Chardonnays are expressive wines, which is why it’s so fun to approach it using different winemaking styles! Our 2016 Monterey County Chardonnay is barrel fermented at 60% malolactic fermentation to create a balanced wine full of apple and citrus flavors that are accented by notes of vanilla and toasted almond. On the flip side, our Cupcake Butterkissed Chardonnay is fermented at 100% malolactic fermentation, which is what creates its rich, intensely creamy vanilla and ripe pear flavors. These are both distinctive Chardonnays and I’d recommend trying them side by side to see which one you like better!
Common Chardonnay Tasting Notes:
Fruits: pear, apple, lemon, peach
Oak (spice): vanilla, toasted nuts, cinnamon, sandalwood
Microbial: diacetyl (butter), lactic acid (yogurt)
Q: What is malolactic fermentation?
A: Great question! Malolactic fermentation is a secondary fermentation that proceeds alcoholic fermentation. During malolactic fermentation, lactic acid bacteria convert malic acid – a naturally occurring acid found in the grape’s juice – into lactic acid. This fermentation style can create a byproduct called diacetyl, and that diacetyl is responsible for the buttery flavor you get from many Chardonnays.
Q: What is the appellation of these Chardonnays?
A: The 2016 Chardonnay comes from some of our best vineyards all around Monterey County, which is an exceptional grape growing region due to its warm days and cool nights. I also live in Monterey County and feel like this area encompasses the fun-loving motto of the Cupcake brand: Choose Joy. Our Cupcake Butterkissed Chardonnay comes from carefully selected vineyards all over California. We seek out sun-filled regions that foster rich Chardonnay grapes to perfect the creamy, delightful taste of this wine.
Q: Are these Chardonnay’s dry or sweet?
A: Chardonnays are generally less sweet than people expect them to be. Both our Cupcake Chardonnay and Cupcake Butterkissed Chardonnay are well-balanced wines with rich fruit flavors. If I had to put these on a scale comparing sweetness and dryness, I’d probably put them in the middle.
Q: What do you pair with Cupcake Chardonnay and Cupcake Butterkissed Chardonnay?
A: For a smooth and balanced wine like our Monterey County Chardonnay, I’d pair crab cakes or chicken and pasta with lemon pesto. These pairings help to bring out the soft apple and lemon flavors. For a creamy and indulgent wine like our Cupcake Butterkissed Chardonnay, I’d pair wood-fired pizza, parmesan crusted chicken, or fresh buttered popcorn! These pairings bring out the creamy vanilla and white peach flavors of this indulgent Chardonnay.
Do you have any remaining questions? We’d love to hear from you! Tag us @cupcakevineyards and #ChooseJoy!