By Rebecca Sterry 

Within this article, we will be focussing on what food pairs well with Chardonnay and providing you with some of the best Chardonnay food pairing matches that we, at Verwood, have discovered. 

But first, let us tell you about Verwood Estate Wines’ Chardonnay, and how it differs from some Chardonnay’s today.

Our Verwood Estate 2019 Chardonnay is an unoaked Chardonnay, in that it tastes of peach and pears with a refreshing citrus finish.

What is the Difference Between an Oaked and an Unoaked Chardonnay?

An oaked Chardonnay is one that is fermented in oak barrels, which essentially alters the taste. Aging Chardonnay in oak provides the wine with a creamy, buttery taste with hints of vanilla or honey.

Whereas, having an unoaked Chardonnay creates more of a refreshing taste, usually with crisp apple and citrus flavours. These wines are typically aged in steel which is what creates this lighter taste in comparison to a ‘heavier’ Chardonnay that has been aged in oak.

American Chardonnays are primarily oaked, whereas European ones tend to be unoaked. In recent years, it has become more of a trend to have unoaked Chardonnays, perhaps the reason being that an oaked Chardonnay was considered too dry? Though, this has made it so that there is more variation in a Chardonnay, meaning that it will more likely please most palates depending on the personal preference of oaked/unoaked. It is often the case that oaked Chardonnays are more expensive than unoaked ones, due to oak barrels carrying a hefty price tag!

How Do We Know What Food Pairs with Chardonnay?

Here at Verwood, we have created a series of videos called Ballgowns & Booze on our YouTube channel ‘Verwood Estate’. This series focusses on what food pairs well with Chardonnay, as well as Verwood’s range of 2019 other vintage wines, providing you with ideas of what to cook with the different varieties. You can find our channel here.

 So, what is a good chardonnay food match?

Roast Salmon with Dill Mashed Potatoes

As our Chardonnay at Verwood is unoaked, it is much lighter than an oaked Chardonnay. Because of this, a good Chardonnay food pairing is with fish as this is considered a light dish. Unoaked Chardonnays are great with lighter, creamier dishes as the citrus within the wine balances out with the creaminess of a fish dish. You can follow this recipe on our YouTube channel ‘BALLGOWNS & BOOZE: EPISODE 10 – ATLANTIC SALMON (Southern Highlands Wines)’ – 

So, lets find out more about this particular dish…

Salmon is part of the Salmonidae family, like trout. It takes its name from the Latin ‘Salmo’ which means ‘jump’. This name was given to it in view of the show jumping that the salmon do during their recovery from the rivers. Until the 18th century, salmon was the most consumed fish in Europe.

The real genius responsible for the invention of mashed potatoes is non other than Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, French nutritionist and pharmacist employed by the French army in the 18th century. It was when he realised that soldiers were leaving behind the usual food offered to them (potatoes morning, noon and evening, day after day) that Parmentier set out to find new ways of presenting potatoes.

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 3 pounds of baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4-6 oz of salmon fillets, about 1 ¼ inches thick each
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • ½ cup of milk
  • ¼ cup of finely chopped fresh dill


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminium foil. Place the salmon fillets on foil, skin side down. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the salmon until just opaque in the centre, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven and loosely tent with foil to keep warm.
  3. Drain the potatoes and return to pot. Mash over a low heat until smooth. Stir in the sour cream, milk, and dill. Serve immediately with salmon.

What else is a great chardonnay food match?

Roasted Chicken Citrus Reduction

Why is this a good Chardonnay food pairing? Well, similarly to fish, chicken is a lighter meat dish making it the perfect Chardonnay food match as it balances well with the lightness of an unoaked Chardonnay. Teddy the Sommelier chose this dish for Verwood’s 2019 Chardonnay as the citrus flavours in the reduction match the citrus notes within the wine beautifully. You can follow the recipe and method through our episode ‘BALLGOWNS & BOOZE: EPISODE 3: FRENCH CHICKEN A L’ORANGE WITH VERWOOD ESTATE 2019 CHARDONNAY 

What is the history of this dish?

Roast chicken is a dish that we owe to King Henry IV, a big fan of chicken in the pot. Indeed, this dish is the ancestor of our Sunday chicken. The sovereign also wanted every household to be able to enjoy the juicy flesh of poultry every Sunday.

Over the years, the chicken no longer needed to be boiled and began to be roasted and broiled. Napoleon made sure he always had them on the fire so he could enjoy them at each meal!

Today, it is one of the family dished par excellence, which everyone enjoys eating on Sunday.

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt 
  • Pepper 

For the reduction

  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 3 clementine’s (juice and zest)
  • 1 shallot
  • 50ml of white wine
  • ½ organic or homemade vegetable bouillon cube
  • 200ml of liquid cream
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Wash the clementine’s and lemon before removing the zest. 
  2. Squeeze the lemon and clementine juice. 
  3. Peel the shallot and finely chop it. Brown the shallot in a little oil.
  4. Cut the zest and add it to the shallots. Deglaze with the white wine and let it evaporate. 
  5. Stir in the lemon juice, clementine, and broth cube. Leave to reduce to large broths.
  6. Cut the chick breasts into slices. Brown them in a hot pan with olive oil.
  7. Season the pieces with salt and pepper and remove as soon as the pieces are well cooked. (As soon as the sauce is reduced to dryness and there is no more juice).
  8. Add the cream and relax the sauce. Coat the chicken pieces with this sweet, salted sauce reduced and Voila!

We hope that we have shed some light on the difference between an oaked and unoaked Chardonnay for you within this article and given you some delicious recipes that make a beautiful Chardonnay food pairing. Hopefully, you won’t have to ask what food pairs with Chardonnay again by trying the roasted salmon with dill and mashed potatoes, as well as the roasted chicken citrus reduction as both of these certainly got me drooling at the thought of them! 

If we’ve tempted you into buying this wine, you can order Verwood’s Chardonnay today for $30.00.

If you do get around to trying our Chardonnay and love it, then please give us a review on our website. We’re also open to new suggestions on more food and wine pairings so if you happen to find an exquisite match, then please let us know and we may try it in one of our Booze & Ballgowns episodes!