Chardonnay - why so hard to pair with food?

I do all the meal planning, prep and cooking in my home. That’s a good thing because I can control all the wine/food pairings. Typically, I will usually decide what I feel like drinking and then plan a meal around that choice.

The challenge I have is that I like white Burgundy – a lot – but I find the food pairings to be some of the most challenging/boring in my entire limited repertoire of culinary tricks. If I’m honest about it, I’d rather drink almost any other white wine with food than Chardonnay.

I don’t have the patience/chops to make pike quenelles or scallops in homemade bechamel sauce on a Tuesday night. Yes, raw seafood is a good choice or simply cooked halibut/sole/etc. But I find I’d rather have other whites with those dishes.

Which means I tend to drink a lot of my Burgundy and CA chards as cocktail wines. Not a bad thing necessarily. I’m curious if others find Chard a hard food match. Most of the time it seems like the wine just kind of lays on the palate and doesn’t provide much lift or zip. A one-star Michelin restaurant is a different kettle of fish. I’m talking about home cooking on a weeknight.

If you have a contrarian viewpoint, I’m curious what dishes have worked well for you at home.

Chicken is a pretty great match for a lot of Chardonnay - unless you’re really putting a spicy or adventurous spin on it, a nice white Burg will do well most of the time. Lots of pork dishes, too. Risottos. Spinach-stuffed or otherwise veggie-oriented, white-or-butter-based sauced pastas.

I tend to pair Chardonnays with a lot of what I’d pair with Pinot Noir - poultry, salmon, with lots of savory flavors. I have a recipe for chicken breasts with a mushroom Dijon sauce that’s amazing with a good Chardonnay.

I think you should view pairings less about the protein involved and more about textures and flavours. Oaked Chardonnays are wonderful with all kinds of creamy, buttery, nutty dishes. Most risottos (butternut squash a winner), white meats cooked in butter, potatoes, corn, mushrooms, creams, all compliment oaked Chardonnay and white Burgundies. Brassicas and root vegetables also offer that same profile: oven-roasted cauliflower, turnips, carrots.

It’s a good post. I feel like chardonnay goes well enough with a lot of things, but is rarely true wine geek pairing nirvana. Which is fine with me most of the time.

I can drink Macon with most anything, however I’m selective about acidity. My favorite Macon from 2017, I’m not buying from 2018, and I’ll drink other wines like Loire SB/Sancerre and white Bordeaux instead, as I feel they have a better balance even in warmer years. Given these buying habits, I don’t worry much about when to open the white Burgundy.

Tried chard with beef stew (cooked long and slow) based on someone’s recommendation, can’t remember who, and was pleasantly surprised it really worked. Chard also seems to go with other umami rich dishes like sauteed mushrooms. Sounds wierd I know. For great white Burg, however, it’s got to be a great prep of mild white fish and a subtle sauce.

I actually don’t find it hard to pair, especially if I know the bottle. To be fair its harder when its a dish at a restaurant with a shitty list.

My strategy: A Somm once told me that food friendly wines are acidic wines, they wash the palate and prepare it for the next bite to shine. Acid and acid make nice. They cancel and indulge the flavor. Case in point was sipping a super acidic Sauv Blanc and biting a lemon, cancelled, and it was lemon fruit all day. I sat stunned. > Do they marry and let the flavors elevate. Then I balance body weight and food Then flavor profile to complement.

Applied: If I know the bottle, I’ll back in to the food easily. If I’m starting with food, I’ll work my cellar or the restaurant list for the best they got using above.

Its not hard for me, its just making the best hand of cards.

Can go both ways.

The common tropes apply, but they are common trope. I’ve had acidity vary on a ton of dishes that throw off the whole wine portion of the show and just wreck it.

Rich Chardonnay pairs amazingly well with almost anything mushroom related, but especially sautéed or roasted mushrooms. One of my favourites is just a simple mushroom pasta with a creamy sauce and Parmesan. Pairs incredibly with Burgundy or big California Chardonnay. I always feel guilty pairing an expensive Chardonnay with such basic, simple food but it just works so well.

I think Chard is very easy to pair, for me at least. There are so many different styles of Chardonnay that I think it’s important to match the right style with the right dish, but I think there’s some wiggle room. I tend to prefer leaner, brighter, less oaked Chards with lighter dishes (fish prepared simply, a light pasta dish, etc.) and I pair bigger Chards with heavier dishes, often ones with cream-based sauces (basil cream salmon pasta, chicken pot pie, lobster with drawn butter, risotto, etc.).

Like others I find white burgundy pairs well with a wide variety of food. Scrambled eggs with mushrooms, cheese and spinach Is a simple favorite. Pasta with an Alfredo sauce and mushrooms. Risotto. Simple lobster roll, crab cakes, scallops pan fried in butter. Any white fish with a simple lemon and butter based marinade. Oysters and Chablis is my all time favorite appetizer. Even a simple grilled cheese sandwich and soup with Chardonnay is a great match.

Speaking of cheese, I also love just about any cheese with white burgundy especially triple cream Brie, Epoisse or a blue Cheese like Gorgonzola etc works well before and after dinner.

I struggle to relate to the question, as I am either weird or lucky enough to have no matching problems. Chardonnay comes in a massive range of styles, and even within “white burgundy” that is the case. Nearly all will work fabulously with simple roasted chicken or grilled fish. Meursault with buttery sauces, Chassagne with creamy ones. Mushrooms, nuts in many presentations. Pasta, risotto, tiane, fish / vegetable bake or au gratin. Lentils, steamed vegetables. Older structural Puligny with scallops or young, flamboyant Criots with Lobster Mornay. Corton Charlemagne with asian-spiced pork belly, but Puligny Combettes with slow-cooked pulled pork.

Out of a generous trick of fate, I find that white Burgundy pairs very well with salted codfish - better than the great majority of Portuguese whites.

Hard to agree with OP at all, many of my best ever pairings were with white Burgundy. While almost all of them were at good restaurants the reason the pairings rocked were really because of few key ingredients/elements. At home I really enjoy among others the following dishes with moderately oaked Burgundy: mushroom risottos, pasta dishes with cream and/or mushrooms, scallops pan fried with butter, grilled chicken, chicken with creamy sauce (ideally with sherry in it). Preferences are preferences but I don’t think a balanced Chardonnay’s food friendliness can be denied. Chablis of course simply rules with many of the fish we have here when simply cooked, such as arctic char, perch and pike perch. Other wines can be as good but would I prefer any of them over Chablis? Not really.

Actually I think it’s pretty easy. We’ve been drinking a lot of it lately as I got a good deal on some. Seems to be OK with a whole lot of things. So far we’ve had it with pizza, various pasta dishes, chicken legs, salmon, smoked trout, quesadillas, and I don’t remember what else.


I find a good, balanced Chardonnay with fresh acidity and modest to no obvious oak influence to be some of the most versatile food wines.

I can sometimes have some trouble too with them, but Matt–I want to share with you a compelling experience that my friends and I had about 3 years ago, an experience that encouraged me to expand my imagination in this sphere–and reinforcing Steve’s post above:

"2012 Coche-Dury Meursault
So (perhaps of course, and nod of thanks yet again to Don Cornutt) I opened this for Lynn and Jon, my very close friends who are doing this tour of Burgundy and Alsace with me, at Aupres du Clocher in Pommard, because a) they’d never had a Coche before, b) this is only about my third, and c) the price the restaurant is running it out at is stupid-good. (dinner, BTW, was fabulous with the epoisse mousse off-the-scale good).

Nose immediately grabs your attention with some matchstick and, Lynn finds, a pervasive undertone of tobacco, which eventually I find swirls up as well, all around hinted-at apple and pear. Matchstick, apple and pear replays in the main with perhaps some marzipan and light saline and truffle added in, but that’s not what this wine is about. This wine is about the force of character which is really a force of nature. In whisky terms, this has “bags of character” and reinforces that there just isn’t anything like it out there at all. Get this, gang----we tried it with their jambon persille ravioli, and it was super-delish. Then came the beef dish in a rich sauce. I had ordered a glass of 2011 Meo Camuzet Gevrey, and it was OK with the dish, emitting some clarity and red fruit polish. The Coche meanwhile? The Coche kicked ass. I kid you not. It was a better match with the meat than the red. An absolutely brilliant wine, especially for something this young, one of those I can still taste today and that I will remember for a long time. 98+, it only fails to be perfect because it is still so very, very young."

I can still taste the combination of marvelous tastes and sensations this pairing produced.

I find chardonnay among the most versatile wines out there. Doesn’t mean I like to drink it all that much, though.
Pair with any food, really. Pork, chicken, spaghetti, raviolis, fish, Chinese beef, enchiladas,…you name it, it goes with it.

White burg is an easy pair in our house. Classic roast chicken I prefer white burg over red burg. Recently did shrimp scampi with a nice crusty bread on the side and pycm did the trick. This past weekend we grilled whole branzino with duck fat roasted potatoes and 2017 Dancer was perfect.

C’mon folks this is no fun at all. neener

Where are all the ABC peeps? Where are my hipster Somms? I feel like Adam in the “dry” Riesling thread.

Surely there must be others who find Chardonnay “generally” boring with food vis a vis other white varieties.

Seriously, thanks for input and I’m glad you guys don’t suffer the same syndrome.