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It is OK to like Chardonnay...

The rise and fall of Chardonnay could be likened to a story in the celebrity pages of gossip magazines and seedy tabloids. As one of the best known and most widespread grape varieties, Chardonnay could well be considered one of the biggest stars of the wine world due to its easy-going effortless style. Thus, it became the trendiest of drinks—loved by drinkers and winemakers alike since it was easy to produce, easy to say and easy to drink. It became THE aperitif of choice, replacing the once-loved cocktails, even in America.

Yet its ubiquity soon tipped it into over-exposure and wine aficionados started abandoning this varietal, referring to the easy drinking styles of the New World countries as a “beginner’s wine” or to the crude over-oaked styles as brash wines to be avoided altogether. Despite Chardonnay’s bad press, it is well worth rediscovering, particularly in light of its sheer versatility and its ability to accompany many types of foods. There is such a wide spectrum of flavors and styles that this grape variety can offer depending on where it is grown.  In cool climes, it has a lemony character and green fruit notes, but in hotter environments like Crete, the more intense tropical fruits like pineapple and mango show up. More sophisticated methods are being used these days to produce restrained Chardonnays with more finesse and a subtler oak influence.

In Crete, Chardonnay is also being blended with local grape varieties like Thrapsathiri, Vidiano and Malvasia Di Candia, for some exciting new taste sensations. Crete wineries favor unoaked or lightly oaked versions and if you consider the contents of the adjacent seas, these crisper styles pair much better with the abundant fish and seafood of the island.

Wine Recommendations 

Douloufakis  Chardonnay
Dafnes, Heraklion
A classic example of a first-rate Chardonnay that has matured subtly in oak barrels. Light gold colour with a rich body, this buttery, creamy wine has an intense flavor concentration and great complexity.

Diamantakis Prinos (Malvasia Di Candia-Chardonnay)
Ano Asites, Heraklion
This 50-50 blend of these 2 grape varieties gives a well-balanced wine with a complex aroma of pineapple, banana and lemon flavor. It is perfect with fish and seafood.

Strataridakis Thalassinos (Chardonnay)
Kasteliana, Heraklion
This is a typical representation of Chardonnay in its Mediterranean form. Golden yellow wine with flavors of citrus & lime blossoms plus a light taste of pear and banana. Good acidity and great with most seafood.

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