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Vintage Plays the Hits! Vol III Chardonnay

  • Vintage Wine Bar 324 East 1st Street Tulsa, OK, 74120 United States (map)

Chardonnay is the most popular white wine grape in the known universe. It’s made in a wide range of styles, from elegant, mineral-driven Chablis to full-bodied, oak-laden California jus de couguar (French for “cougar juice.” Sometimes we have to include some technical wine jargon in these preambles, though we do so reluctantly). It’s in the most ravishing, long-lived, and expensive Champagnes. It’s in that magnum of Woodbridge in your aunt’s fridge right now. You’ll be drinking it at social functions for the rest of your life. There’s no stopping Chardonnay. It’s the Fast and Furious franchise of grape varietals.

It’s almost unfathomable to think that there was a time that Chardonnay wasn’t the runaway global success that it is today. However, in the early 1970s, Chardonnay was hardly grown outside of Burgundy and Champagne and its name was as unfamiliar to the casual wine drinker in the U.S. as, say, Gruner Veltliner is today. Sure, white wines from Meursault or Montrachet (both Chardonnays) were fashionable and familiar back then, but it’s safe to assume that many, if not most, didn’t know what grape was actually in the bottle. In California, there were fewer acres planted to Chardonnay than there were to Riesling (!) and Muscat of Alexandria (!!!). And of the few California wineries that were bottling Chardonnay at that time, many labelled it, awkwardly, as “Pinot Chardonnay.”

There’s no denying that Chardonnay’s come a very long way in a ridiculously short time. And though it may be fashionable for some ersatz wine aficionados to turn their noses up at the stuff these days, the rest of us can agree that when Chardonnay’s good, it’s really freaking good.

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