From all the tasting events we have been involved in, Chardonnay is a variety that seems to create such different reactions from people. I believe this is because there is such a diversity in the methods that the wine is made, between different winemakers, along with the influence between regions it is grown, and lastly if the Chardonnay is bottled under a screw cap or cork.
There are some winemaking techniques that endeavour to have the wine taken from vineyard and placed straight into a press as whole bunches with the subsequent juice going into tank or barrels for fermentation. Where on the other spectrum of wine making the grapes are separated from their stalks and sit on skins for a period of time prior to going to press then subsequently to barrel or tank for fermenting. Our preference is the second method as we are of the belief that structure is built into the wine when it has time on skins prior to pressing.
Where Chardonnay is grown can provide such differences in the end result. The amount of direct sun light and the intensity of this sunlight does change the flavour profile of Chardonnay more so than many other varieties. Our preference is for the vines to have speckled direct sunlight on the grape bunches to help create thicker skins, which in turn assists in the extract of flavour profiles during our wine making where we are having direct skin contact for a period of time as part of the process.
Of late we have been using screw caps when bottling our Chardonnay, but we will be looking at doing a mixture of both wine under screw cap and cork in the future as there is a further complexity created in bottle under cork that we believe suits our style of Chardonnay.