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Riesling vs. Chardonnay : A Comparison

Riesling vs. Chardonnay : A Comparison


Riesling and Chardonnay are two of the most popular wine grapes in the world.

The differences between Riesling and Chardonnay are subtle, but they are there. For example, the grape skins of a Chardonnay wine will be darker in color than a Riesling. The wines also have different flavors that are derived from the grapes that are used to produce them.

In this blog, we will cover all your doubts and will tell you about both wines in detail. They offer us a variety of choices to choose from. They both have certain similarities and differences that we have covered here. From their origin to the best food pairing and everything in between, we have covered all the grounds for you.

Riesling vs. Chardonnay

There are a number of differences between Rieslings and Chardonnays. For one, Chardonnays are usually more full-bodied and fuller in flavor than Rieslings, which tend to be more dry and crisp. The grape varieties for the wines are different as well.

Let’s dive into each of them and look at the similarities and differences.

Features of the two wines:

1. Origin and Grapes

  • Riesling wine was originated from a small region called Rhine in Germany. It is an ancient wine and can be traced in history way back.
  • Its production expanded in the early 17th century. In the mid 19th century, it gained its popularity and became a fashion. Now it is loved in every part of the world.
  • The grape variety of this wine is green in color, has a round shape, and is moderate in size.
  • This variety expresses the terroir where it is grown because it gives different flavors when grown in other parts of the world. The sweetness or dryness of this wine also depends on the kind of soil and location it has been grown. If you are someone who has attention to detail, then your palate will know the region of the wine the moment it touches it.

  • Chardonnay is one of the most popular wines in the world. It is originated from the eastern region of France named Burgundy.
  • Now it is grown and produced in many other countries like New Zealand, England.
  • It is made from a white grape variety that has green skin.
  • They thrive in limestone, and chalky soils, which is similar to their homeland soil, eastern France and climate similar to eastern France give it a distinctly leaner feel.
  • It is also one of those wines that express the region where it is grown in its taste profile. Its flavors change depending on whether oak is used in its ageing process or not.
  • The new and developing wine regions producing this wine is considered an easy entry in the international markets of wine.

2. Time of Harvest and Nature

  • A Riesling wine is typically made from grapes that were harvested earlier in the year. This is because they need to be harvested when they are still green in order to maintain their crispness and acidity.
  • A Chardonnay wine is typically made from grapes that were harvested later in the year when they have ripened more fully on the vine. Chardonnay is also a hearty grape that can be grown and produced in any part of the world. This makes them richer and fuller-bodied with more flavors of vanilla, oak, and buttery notes.

3. Tastes and Flavors

  • Riesling wine has crisp tasting notes of apples, apricots, pears, peaches, pineapples and bright citrus fruits.
  • It offers high acidity levels.
  • You will find it to be highly aromatic with floral aromas. It is most expressive in its mono varietal form.
  • It has the ability to express its Terroir. Sometimes when aged for a long time, it gives a note of petrol.

  • Chardonnay is that it is dry, medium- to full-bodied, fruity flavors of apple, pineapple, papaya, lemon and with moderate acidity.
  • It also shows notes of butter, vanilla, and spice if aged for a long time. It is not too sweet on the palate.
  • Just like Riesling, it also has the ability to express its Terroir.

Cabernet Franc vs. Cabernet Sauvignon – Comparison Table

Categories Riesling  Chardonnay 
Appearance It is made from green skinned grapes and is a white wine with a sparkling look. It is white wine which has a rich and buttery appearance.
Aroma It usually has strong aromas  honeycomb, jasmine, lime peel, along with smells similar to petrol. It has soft aromas of    delicate fruits like apple, peaches and lemons.
Sweetness It is a dry style wine but there is sweetness for your palate. It is made in different styles. Some are dry, others are dessert wines, and there are even sparkling Rieslings to be tasted.
Alcohol It has an ABV range of nearly 12% usually. It has an ABV of around 12% but can go up to 14% in some.
Ageing Worthiness Best enjoyed within 2-5 years. Best enjoyed within 3-7 years.
Cost The price can vary from $6-$45. The price can vary from $10-$70.
Food Pairings It goes well with fresh or lightly dressed shellfish, raw, cured and smoked fish creamy sauces and pork. It goes well with buttery or creamy dishes, halibut, cod, shellfish, lobster, seasoned poultry and pork dishes.
Cooking  As we mentioned above it has delicate fruity flavors and if you want them in your food then just go for it. It is one of the most refreshing wines out there. If you want a crisp flavor of a white wine for your dish then it is a perfect option. If you add it to gravy or any sauce it is important to reduce your wine prior to blending in the cream to keep the acidity balanced.


Both Riesling and Chardonnay are great wines and a must try. They have their own flavors and styles to offer. We suggest that you give each one a try but ultimately drink the wine that you like the most, and not let other people decide for you.

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