The Beurré Chardonnay 2019 is a $6.99 Trader Joe’s import wine; a Pays D’Oc designated wine from the Languedoc in southeastern France. The Languedoc is the largest wine-producing area in France, and this is where French everyday drink-it-now wines are produced.
Beurré is French for butter, and most of the writing on the front label is singing the praises of buttered bread. That would be goofy if written in English but looks just fine in French.
So, it would seem that the Beurré Chardonnay 2019 is buttery. Let us talk about how a Chardonnay gets its butter flavor. We will keep things simple, but three techniques contribute to developing the taste.
The first is malolactic fermentation; this process occurs almost routinely in Red wine. Chardonnay sees malolactic (Chenin Blanc sometimes, too), especially when oak-aged. What happens here is the tart acid that occurs naturally inside of grapes is converted to a more rounded tasting acid.
The second technique is “on lees.” This is where the spent yeast used for initial fermentation (not malolactic) falls to the tank’s bottom with the wine during aging. On its own, it can add a salty, nutty flavor. When stirred (called batonage in France), the wine developed a creamy texture. The more you stir, the more pronounced the effect.
Then there is oak conditioning, either barrel aging or some other method. With $6.99 wine, you do not always expect expensive oak barrels to be used. When toasted by flame to the winemakers’ specifications, the oak will add flavors such as vanilla or spice.
The Beurré Chardonnay 2019, at this point of the review, I have not tasted it, probably was subject to some or all of these production techniques. The winemaker can have a percentage of the Chardonnay undergo Malolactic fermentation and age only certain lots “on lees” while using oak on, let us say, twenty-five percent of the wine.
Chardonnay is like snowflakes; no two are exactly alike. There are many techniques, variations, and grape selections available to the winemaker that even though there are only so many popular Chardonnay styles, there is plenty of room for interpretation.
The Languedoc growing region is where regular French folks get their wine. It may not be the most famous or the most expensive, but it is the most popular. So do not think that a $6.99 Chardonnay can not possibly be any good. This Trader Joe’s/Aldi Nord (in Europe) is an excellent example of what European wine drinkers enjoy every day. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
Beurré Chardonnay 2019 Tasting Notes
The color is butter yellow with a hint of green. You can sometimes tell if a Chardonnay is oak barrel aged by how deep the yellow is. The nose is, well, I am drinking French but smelling California.
There is a mix of lemon, melon, and green apple, then buttered toast, and a hint of butterscotch. I guess they weren’t kidding about the Beurré part. Oh, by the way, Beurré is produced ber or burr.
Beurré Chardonnay 2019 is a boldly flavored Chardonnay, smooth but with a strong flavor. It tastes green apple and cream, yes, not your usual combination, melon, sharp spice, raisins, butterscotch, and lime.
The acidity is well-balanced; it lets the flavors do their thing yet stays out of the way.
- I am not sure I like the French version of buttery Chardonnay; maybe I was expecting California buttered Chardonnay, a different style.
- The Beurré Chardonnay 2019 has a unique flavor. I gave the wine a bit more time to open up. A $6.99 White wine is often a pop the top and pour kind of wine, though I did give the bottle about 20 minutes.
- With the additional time, the flavor is more to my liking, so be warned, give the Beurré Chardonnay 2019 plenty of time to drink it at its best.