Is buttery chardonnay dry or sweet?

Answered by Robert Dupre

Buttery Chardonnay can be a bit tricky to classify as either dry or sweet, as it can exhibit characteristics of both. Let me explain further.

When we talk about dry or sweet wines, we are referring to the amount of residual sugar left in the wine after fermentation. Dry wines have very little residual sugar, while sweet wines have higher levels of sugar. However, the perception of sweetness in wine can also be influenced by other factors, such as the presence of certain flavors and the balance of acidity.

In the case of buttery Chardonnay, the buttery and creamy characteristics are often a result of a process called malolactic fermentation, which converts sharp malic acid into softer lactic acid. This process can give the wine a richer and smoother mouthfeel, reminiscent of butter or cream.

Furthermore, Chardonnay that is fermented and/or aged in oak barrels can also develop additional flavors from the wood. Oak imparts warm notes of vanilla and spice, which can complement the fruity flavors of the wine. This combination of oak and fruit flavors can sometimes give the impression of sweetness, even though the wine is technically dry.

So, to answer the question, buttery Chardonnay is generally considered a dry wine due to its low residual sugar content. However, the presence of buttery and tropical fruit flavors, along with the influence of oak, can create a perception of sweetness on the palate.

It’s worth noting that individual preferences and perceptions of sweetness can vary. Some people may find buttery Chardonnay to be sweeter than others, depending on their sensitivity to certain flavors and their personal taste preferences.

While buttery Chardonnay is technically a dry wine, its flavors and mouthfeel can give the impression of sweetness. It’s always a good idea to taste different styles of Chardonnay to determine your own preference and understanding of the wine’s sweetness.