Oregon Chardonnay escapes the buttery clichés

By Eric Asimov

By far, the most popular wine in the United States is chardonnay.

Yet the variety faced some skepticism among the small but select sample of readers who took part in our recent Wine School examination of Oregon chardonnays.

Perhaps this should not have been surprising. Although it has been America’s white wine of choice for decades, chardonnay has always been polarizing.

Witness the small but vocal Anything But Chardonnay group that took root in the early 1990s, rebelling against the oaky, buttery, flamboyant California style that had asserted its dominance among American white wines.

The goal among the ABC crowd was not simply to promote other good white wines like riesling, which had largely been ignored as the populace rushed to embrace chardonnay. It was also to take a stand against the stylistic choices made by so many California wineries back then.

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