Chenin Blanc vs Chardonnay wine (a comparison guide)

A number of the most cherished white wines between wine lovers are Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. However what are their variations and which is best for you? This comparability information will provide help to resolve.

Two bottles with white wine. The one with Chenin Blanc and the other with Chardonnay.
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These two grape varieties are grown in lots of areas world wide. And whereas they share some similarities, in addition they have distinct variations.

Fundamental Variations

The style and traits of every wine label are impacted by the terroir, the standard of the fruit, the winemaking method and the fashion every producer is making an attempt to get.

Because of this two wines from the identical grape selection can fluctuate enormously.

Having mentioned that, listed below are among the variations between Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc:


Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay each make dry white wines, however Chenin Blanc is extra versatile and may produce off-dry and candy wines. That is in all probability their principal distinction

Taste profile

Chenin Blanc is extra fragrant than Chardonnay with wider vary of fruity flavors (that is why it is excellent for this white Sangria). This contains citrus, quince, apple, honeysuckle, melon and stone fruit notes.

These flavors are sometimes combined with honey and floral notes relying on the area the place the grapes are grown.

Chardonnay wines are sometimes described as having flavors of inexperienced apple, pear, and citrus, with notes of vanilla, hay, and toast from oak getting older.

New world wines coming from Chardonnay grapes from hotter wine areas may also make wins with citrus flavors combined with peach, pineapple and butter notes. 

Physique and texture

Chenin Blanc wines can have gentle to full physique with crisp, refreshing texture. Normally, they’re lighter in physique in comparison with Chardonnay which tends to be medium to full-bodied  with a creamy, oily texture and spherical mouthfeel.


Chenin Blanc has increased acidity than Chardonnay which is softer.

Alcohol degree

Chenin Blac is normally decrease in alcohol with a variety between 11.5 – 13.5% ABV. Chardonnay has usually increased alcohol content material starting from 13.5 – 15% ABV.

Sweetness degree

Chenin Blanc wines will be made in a variety of kinds, from dry to candy, whereas Chardonnay wines are usually made in a dry fashion.

Growing old Course of 

Each of them will be aged in oak or not. Oak getting older will add nutty and buttery flavors whereas the unoaked variations will preserve their fruity character intact.

The unoaked variations are normally aged in chrome steel tanks. The preferred un-oaked Chardonnay might be the Chablis wine.

Growing old Potential

The getting older potential of a white wine does not imply that you would be able to’t or should not drink it recent. It simply signifies that it might probably develop by time, offering it is saved beneath the precise situations.

Due to the upper acidity, many Chenin Blancs can age for 10 years or extra. 

Chardonnay will usually be age worthy for 5-10 years.

Serving temperature

Each wines are ideally served at 45–55°F / 7-12°C. Maybe Chardonnay will be served at a barely increased temperature since it’s decrease in acid.

Meals pairing

Chenin Blanc pairs effectively with lighter meals (like salads and chicken) and spicy dishes (like Thai or Indian delicacies).

Chardonnay prefers heavier or creamy dishes, bean dishes (like this white bean soup) and roasted greens.


The price of a wine relies on the area, the standard and the producer. Nonetheless, as a result of Chardonnay is extra extensively obtainable it may be cheaper.

Graph showing the differences between the characteristics of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay wine.

Each Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc are versatile white wine grape varieties that may produce a variety of wine kinds to go well with completely different tastes and events.

When selecting between the 2, think about the traits of the wine, in addition to the meals pairing you keep in mind, to search out the most effective match on your preferences.

Chenin Blanc wine information


Chenin Blanc is a white wine grape selection that’s believed to have originated within the Loire Valley of France.

It’s a versatile grape that may produce wines with a variety of flavors and completely different kinds, from dry wines to candy, and from nonetheless to glowing. These white grapes are recognized for his or her excessive acidity and the power to age very effectively.

Chenin Blanc was seemingly first cultivated within the ninth century and was later delivered to South Africa by Dutch settlers within the seventeenth century. It is now one of many nation’s most necessary grape varieties.

Different elements of the world the place it’s grown are the US, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.

Chenin Blanc is a flexible grape that may adapt to completely different climates and areas. It may be used as a single varietal wine grape or blended with different grape varieties so as to add complexity and depth.

That is the rationale wines comprised of Chenin Blanc grapes can fluctuate from dry to candy, and will be nonetheless or glowing.

Sketch of Chenin Blanc grape

Varieties and traits of Chenin Blanc wines

Dry: These wines are likely to have excessive acidity and primarily citrus and inexperienced apple flavors. They are often oaked or unoaked and have gentle to medium physique, medium alcohol degree and lightweight minerality.

Off-dry: They’ve a barely candy style due to the residual sugars which is balanced by excessive acidity and hints of minerality.

Their taste is described as fruity and floral with notes of apricot, ripe pear, melon, white flowers (chamomile) and honey. Their physique is gentle to medium. They’re preferrred with spicy meals, particularly Thai or Indian delicacies.

Candy: With a thick, syrupy texture and flavors of honey, caramel, ginger, dried apricots, pineapple, ardour fruit and different tropical fruit, these wines are finest served after dinner.

Additionally they pair very effectively with blue cheese and funky goat cheeses.  Candy Chenin Blancs are comprised of grapes affected by noble rot (extra on that under). 

Glowing: They’re made utilizing conventional glowing wine strategies. These wines can have a refreshing, effervescent mouthfeel and light-bodied character with delicate aromas of citrus, inexperienced apple, white flowers and yeast.

They’re typically served as an aperitif or paired with seafood or gentle pasta dishes.

Chenin Blanc develops an entire new character when fermented and/or aged in oak barrels. This course of offers the wine complementary flavors of vanilla, roasted nuts, spice and butterscotch.

Noble Rot

Noble rot occurs solely in the course of the years when the autumn is exceptionally heat, there isn’t any rain and the frost is late.

Throughout these years, Chenin Blanc is topic to a fungus referred to as botrytis cinerea. Botrytis cinerea causes the grape skins to turn out to be permeable, permitting the water to evaporate, and inflicting the grapes to shrivel on the vine.

In different phrases the grapes turn out to be partially dehydrated, one thing than concentrates the sugars and flavors, leading to candy, concentrated wines with refreshing acidity.

The preferred wine noble rot is related to, is the candy dessert wine Sauternes from Bordeaux.

Chenin Blanc meals pairings

As talked about above, Chenin Blanc wines pair effectively with lighter meals resembling seafood, broiled trout, salads, vegetable dishes, and spicy meals resembling dishes from Thai or Indian delicacies.

Gentle to semi-firm cow’s milk cheeses, Cheddar, Gruyere, herb-crusted goat cheeses and yoghurt may even work effectively. 

For meat-based dishes consider hen (like this Greek oven baked hen with potatoes), pork chops and turkey. Sure, it is also excellent on your Thanksgiving turkey dinner!.

Different names for Chenin Blanc: Blanc d’Aunis, Blanc d’Anjou, Pineau de la Loire, Steen, Vouvray, Quarts de Chaume, Bonnezeaux, Savennières, Agudelo, Agudillo.

Chardonnay wine information


Chardonnay is a white wine grape selection that’s believed to have originated within the Burgundy area of France.

Chardonnay grapes are used to supply wealthy, full-bodied dry white wine and glowing wine (Blanc de Blancs). It is typically utilized in Champagne, combined with Pinot Noir and Meunier.

It’s considered associated to 2 different white grape varieties which can be additionally native to Burgundy: Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir. Chardonnay could have been created by a pure crossing of those two grapes, or it might be a mutation of Pinot Blanc or Pinot Noir.

The earliest recognized references to Chardonnay date again to the late seventeenth century, when the grape was often known as “Chardonnet” attributable to its small, tightly packed clusters that resembled the form of a pinecone (in French, “chardon” means thistle).

The grape gained reputation within the nineteenth century, notably within the area of Chablis, the place it’s nonetheless extensively grown at present.

Within the twentieth century, Chardonnay turned one of the vital fashionable grape varieties on the earth, with plantings increasing to areas past Burgundy, together with California, Australia, and South Africa.

The grape’s reputation is due partially to its versatility and talent to adapt to completely different climates and winemaking strategies, in addition to its capacity to specific the terroir of the area the place it’s grown.

Chardonnay is grown in lots of elements of the world and is among the most generally planted white wine grape varieties, cherished by wine drinkers for its wealthy, buttery flavors and talent to pair effectively with a variety of meals.

Chardonnay tasting notes

Unoaked Chardonnay wines are likely to have shiny and crisp acidity with refreshing flavors of citrus, lime, inexperienced apple, and pear. Cool local weather Chardonnays may also have crushed gravel notes and herbaceous character.

Grapes grown in heat climates give wine with riper fruit flavors resembling yellow apple, pineapple, peach, mango, and should have a barely candy style.

The oaked model has fuller physique and a richer, creamier texture with butter, cream and almond flavors as a result of getting older in oak barrels promotes malolactic fermentation.

Malolactic fermentation is a course of the place tart malic acid which is discovered naturally in wine converts to softer lactic acid with creamier mouthfeel. This course of typically happens naturally after the completion of main fermentation but it surely may also be induced by inoculation with a specific bacterial pressure.

Moreover, oak imparts flavors of butterscotch, oak, vanilla, caramel and toast, relying on the kind of oak used.

Glowing Chardonnays are medium-bodied and have a crisp, refreshing character with flavors of inexperienced apple, lemon, yeast and baked bread.

Chardonnay meals pairings

Unoaked Chardonnay pairs effectively with lighter meals resembling white fish, shellfish and seafood, salads, and vegetable dishes.

Attempt pairing it with grilled shrimp, roasted greens, or a light-weight pasta dish with a lemon and herb sauce. It may also be a good selection for pairing with spicy meals, resembling Thai or Indian delicacies, as a result of the acidity and fruitiness will steadiness out the warmth of the spices.

Oaked Chardonnays pair effectively with richer meals, resembling roasted hen, creamy pasta dishes, brown butter sauces and grilled seafood. Attempt pairing it with roasted hen with a creamy mushroom sauce, lobster or scallops in a buttery sauce, or a creamy mushroom risotto.

Glowing Chardonnay pairs effectively with seafood, sushi, fried appetizers, delicate and creamy cheeses (resembling Brie) and even popcorn.

Different names for Chardonnay: Aubaine, Beaunois, Gamay blanc, Melon blanc, white Burgundy (Bourgogne Blanc) 

If you happen to preferred this comparability information you may additionally have an interest within the Chianti vs Sangiovese comparability.


What Wine is Closest to Chardonnay?

The wine that’s most just like Chardonnay might be Pinot Grigio (or Pinot Gris). Pinot Grigio from cooler climates can be a dry white wine with flavors of lime, lemon, pear, white nectarine and apple.
When grown in hotter wine areas it offers wines with honey notes and floral aromas like honeysuckle. Nonetheless, Chardonnay has a richer, buttery style whereas Pinot Grigio is crisp and extra acidic.

What Wine is Closest to Chenin Blanc?

The wine that’s most just like a dry Chenin Blanc might be Sauvignon Blanc. Additionally originated from Loire Valley, it’s related in taste, bursting with notes of tropical fruits and floral aromas.
If you happen to’re looking for a candy wine just like a candy Chenin Blanc, then a bottle of Sauternes is an efficient various.

Why is Chablis Not Referred to as Chardonnay?

Chablis takes its title from the Chablis area of France the place it’s produced. Whereas Chablis is made solely from Chardonnay grapes, it is not referred to as Chardonnay as a result of it displays the terroir of the area (local weather and soil situations) in addition to the rules and winemaking strategies beneath which it is made.
As a result of Chablis is unoaked, it’s a very dry fashion of white wine with a mineral character that makes it considerably completely different from different Chardonnay varieties.


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