Chardonnay 6 Rules: How To Serve And Drink Chardonnay Right

Chardonnay wines are among the most popular white wines. Make sure to store, serve, pair, and drink a Chardonnay wine the right way.

chardonnay wine

What Chardonnay etiquette is

Chardonnay etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and drink Chardonnay. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow Chardonnay etiquette to appropriately serve it to your guests.

If you are a guest, respect Chardonnay etiquette rules to properly drink and enjoy it.

What you should know about Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a variety of grapes with green skin. It is used to make white wine. Chardonnay can be the sole grape used in the production of a specific wine, or it can be blended with other grapes.

Several countries grow Chardonnay grapes. Most notably France, Italy, the USA and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and South Africa. Famous wines based on Chardonnay grapes include Chablis, Champagne, and Franciacorta. 

The qualities of wines produced with Chardonnay grapes vary significantly, based on multiple factors such as the region and the production method.

how to serve chardonnay

Etiquette rules for serving and drinking Chardonnay

1) How to store Chardonnay

Store Chardonnay wines in a cool place. Place the bottle away from direct natural or artificial light. Keep Chardonnay far from any source of heat.

Place the bottle in a horizontal position, to keep the cork moist. Dry corks might let the oxygen in and spoil the wine.

Do not store Chardonnay in the fridge or in the freezer.

2) How to prepare Chardonnay

Chardonnay wines usually do not need decanting. However, some aged oaked Chardonnay may benefit from it. 

To prepare Chardonnay for serving, it is sufficient to chill it to bring the wine to its optimal temperature.

Depending on the type of Chardonnay, you should place the bottle in the fridge or in a bucket of ice and water between 1 and 5 or 6 hours before serving.

3) How to serve & present Chardonnay

Serve Chardonnay cool or chilled but not ice cold. The ideal serving temperature is normally between 10°C and 15°C (50°F and 60°F). Thus, you may serve some Chardonnay directly out of the cellar. Alternatively, put the bottle in the fridge a couple of hours before serving. Take the bottle out of the fridge 10 or 20 minutes before opening it. 

The recommended serving temperature varies, based on the qualities of each Chardonnay wine. However, it is best to avoid serving temperatures colder than 7°C (45°F), as they prevent the wine from releasing its bouquet.

Present Chardonnay in its bottle. After opening the bottle, you can place it in a bucket of water and ice to keep it chilled. It is good etiquette to open the bottle at the dining table.

Serve Chardonnay wine in white wine glasses, which are slightly taller and thinner compared to red wine glasses. Hold the bottle by its body, never by its neck or cork. Fill the glass between ⅓ and ½.

4) When to serve & drink Chardonnay

Chardonnay wines can present very different qualities. Thus, you can find the ideal Chardonnay wine for almost any type of occasion or food pairing.

Many Chardonnay wines can be a great option on formal occasions, such as a formal dinner. At the same time, you can serve Chardonnay at informal gatherings too, such as an aperitivo, a picnic, a barbecue, or a light lunch.

You can serve Chardonnay before the meal, or accompany it to a course or a cheese platter during the meal.

5) Food & aromas to pair Chardonnay with

The ideal food and aroma pairings depend on the type of Chardonnay and, in general, on its production method.

Oaked Chardonnay wines are aged in oak barrels. They tend to be heavier in body and taste. Thus, you should pair them with flavor-rich food. Such as pork tenderloin, smoked fish, garlic, and spicy dishes. Avoid pairing oaked Chardonnay with delicate food. Such as a light salad, seafood, or white fish.

Unoaked Chardonnay pairs best with delicate food. Such as sushi, seafood, oysters, chicken, or poultry.

6) Etiquette for drinking Chardonnay

Drink Chardonnay in white wine glasses. Hold the glass by its stem to avoid warming the wine with your hand.

Drink it in small sips. A glass of Chardonnay should last between 10 and 30 minutes. Never drink shots of Chardonnay.

Do not add ice to Chardonnay. First, ice waters down the wine and its bouquet. Furthermore, ice is usually added to low-quality or cheap beverages. Thus, adding ice to Chardonnay can be seen as an offense to the quality of the wine, and therefore to your host.

chardonnay etiquette mistakes

Chardonnay etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst Chardonnay etiquette mistakes. 

  • 10/10. Getting drunk.
  • 8/10. Drinking shots of Chardonnay.
  • 7/10. Serving Chardonnay warm.
  • 7/10. Not holding the glass by the stem. 
  • 5/10. Overfilling the glass.
  • 4/10. Adding ice to Chardonnay.

Additional information for properly serving Chardonnay

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and to correctly plan a menu.

On average, Chardonnay wines contain 80 calories per 100 ml (3.5 oz). A glass of Chardonnay is typically 150 ml (5 oz) and has about 120 calories.

How to buy the best Chardonnay

A crucial factor in Chardonnay etiquette is to serve the best product possible to your guests.

Availability

Chardonnay wines are available all year round.

Choose the best

To choose your ideal Chardonnay, start from the occasion. For example, an oaked Chardonnay wine can be a great fit to accompany a cheese platter, while a younger unoaked Chardonnay may be a better fit for a light aperitif.

Then, the safest choice is to buy Chardonnay from an established wine region. Such as areas of France, Italy, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Alternatives to Chardonnay

You can substitute Chardonnay with wines from comparable grapes. Try Riesling, Chenin Blanc, or even Albariño.

Sources

  • Study of Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc wines: unirioja.es