The Magic of Buttery Wines: How Oak Affects the Flavor - Wine by hearts
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The Magic of Buttery Wines: How Oak Affects the Flavor

Are you a fan of buttery wines that leave your taste buds dancing with delight? Look no further! We’ve got everything you need to know about this indulgent wine trend.

From the perfect pairings to the best regions for production, we’ll guide you through every aspect of this luscious libation. So sit back, pour yourself a glass, and let’s dive into the world of buttery wine.

What is Buttery Tasting Wine?

Woman Holding buttery Wine Glass Selective Focus Photography

There are many different types of wines out there, and each one has its own unique flavor profile. While some wines are tart or fruity, others are more rich and full-bodied.

Buttery wine is a type of wine that gets its name from its smooth, creamy texture. This type of wine is often made using chardonnay grapes, and it can be either white or red.

Buttery wines are typically very easy to drink and have a relatively high alcohol content. Because of their rich flavor, they pair well with food that has similar characteristics.

For example, buttery wines are often served with poultry or fish dishes that have been cooked in butter or cream. If you’re looking for a wine to serve at your next dinner party, consider picking up a bottle of buttery chardonnay!

Buttery wine pairs well with food that has rich flavors, such as creamy sauces, shellfish, and poultry. It can also be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif or dessert wine.

The different Types of Buttery Wines.

Wine Glass and Liquor Bottle

California “Butter” Chardonnay.

Chardonnay is probably the most well-known example of a buttery wine. The use of oak barrels and malolactic fermentation can give Chardonnay a rich, creamy texture and flavors of butter, vanilla, and toast.

Some California wineries produce Chardonnays that are intentionally made to be buttery. These wines are often marketed as “Butter” Chardonnays and have gained a following among some wine drinkers.


Viognier is a white wine that can also exhibit a buttery quality. It is often aged in oak barrels, which can impart flavors of vanilla and toast. Viognier can also have a full-bodied, viscous texture that can be reminiscent of butter.


Roussanne is another white wine that can have a buttery texture and flavors of toast and nuts. It is often blended with other white wines, such as Marsanne and Viognier, to create a full-bodied, complex wine.

White Burgundy.

White Burgundy is a style of Chardonnay made in the Burgundy region of France. These wines are often aged in oak barrels and can have a buttery texture with flavors of vanilla, toast, and hazelnut.

Sauvignon Blanc.

Sauvignon Blanc is another type of buttery wine. Unlike Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc is usually made in a sweeter style.

It has aromas of grapefruit, passionfruit, and gooseberry. Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with food that has strong flavors, such as spicy dishes or bleu cheese.


Riesling is a type of buttery wine that can be either dry or sweet. It has aromas of citrus fruits, stone fruits, and minerals. Riesling pairs well with food that has delicate flavors, such as sushi or shellfish.

Chenin Blanc.

Chenin Blanc is another type of buttery wine that can be either dry or sweet. It has aromas of honeysuckle and beeswax. Chenin Blanc pairs well with food that has rich flavors, such as roasted meats or creamy

History of Buttery wine: Where does it Come From?

table setting, celebration, feast Buttery Wine

The history of buttery wines is closely linked to the history of oak barrel aging in winemaking.

Oak barrels have been used to store and transport wine for centuries, but it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that oak barrel aging became a popular winemaking technique.

In the 1970s, winemakers in California’s Napa Valley began experimenting with oak barrel aging Chardonnay, a white wine grape variety that had previously been known for its crisp acidity and neutral flavor profile.

By aging Chardonnay in oak barrels, winemakers were able to add complexity and richness to the wine, with flavors of vanilla, toast, and butter emerging.

The popularity of buttery Chardonnay quickly spread, and by the 1980s, it had become one of the most popular wine styles in the world. Other white wine grape varieties, such as Viognier and Roussanne, have also been known to exhibit a buttery texture and flavor when aged in oak barrels.

It’s worth noting that not all winemakers and wine regions use oak barrel aging to create buttery wines, and there are many other factors that can influence the flavor and texture of wine.

Nonetheless, the popularity of buttery wines has had a significant impact on the wine industry, and they continue to be a popular style of wine among many wine drinkers

So, where does buttery wine come from? The answer is: all over the world!

How is Buttery Wine Made?

Wine Bottle Pouring on Wine Glass

As I mentioned earlier, “buttery” is a characteristic that can be found in some white wines, and it is created through specific winemaking techniques. Here are some of the key factors that can contribute to a wine having a buttery flavor and texture:

Oak Aging.

Many wines that exhibit a buttery flavor and texture are aged in oak barrels. During the aging process, the wine comes into contact with the oak, which can impart flavors of vanilla, toast, and sometimes butter.

Malolactic Fermentation.

Another key factor in creating a buttery wine is malolactic fermentation. This is a secondary fermentation that converts harsher malic acid into softer lactic acid, giving the wine a creamy, buttery texture.

Malolactic fermentation is often used in Chardonnay production and can also be used in other white wines.

Aging on Lees.

Some winemakers choose to leave the wine in contact with the lees (the dead yeast cells that result from fermentation) for an extended period of time. This can add a creamy, slightly buttery texture to the wine.

Grape Selection.

The grapes used to make a buttery wine can also play a role in its flavor and texture.

Chardonnay is often chosen because it has a relatively low acidity and a neutral flavor profile that can be influenced by winemaking techniques.

Not all winemakers aim to create a buttery wine, and not all wines that exhibit buttery flavors and textures are considered desirable by all wine drinkers.

It’s a matter of personal preference, and different winemakers and regions may use different techniques to create a wine that suits their particular style.

What Makes Wine Buttery?

Buttery wine, rose, alcohol

When it comes to describing the taste of wine, “buttery” is one of the most common terms you’ll hear. But what does it actually mean?

In short, a buttery wine is one that has a smooth, creamy texture, with flavors reminiscent of butter or even custard. This rich mouthfeel is usually the result of high levels of glycerol, a type of sugar alcohol that’s produced naturally during fermentation.

Glycerol isn’t just responsible for making wine taste buttery, though; it also plays an important role in balancing acidity and sweetness, and giving wines their signature “body.” In fact, you’ve probably noticed that many high-glycerol wines are also quite full-bodied.

What does Buttery Wine Taste Like?

A Woman Eating Shushi Using Chopsticks

Wines that are described as “buttery” typically have a rich, creamy texture and flavors that are reminiscent of butter, vanilla, and sometimes toast or nuts.

The texture can be smooth and velvety, with a weighty, almost oily mouthfeel. Some buttery wines may also have a slight sweetness or richness on the palate.

Chardonnay is the most well-known example of a buttery wine, and its buttery flavors and textures are often attributed to the winemaking techniques used during production, including oak aging and malolactic fermentation.

Other white wines, such as Viognier and Roussanne, can also exhibit similar buttery characteristics.

Buttery wines have a smooth, creamy texture and a rich, full-bodied flavor. The taste of butter is often combined with other flavors like oak, vanilla, or caramel.

Butteriness can also be described as “lush” or “opulent.” These wines are typically very well-balanced and have a long finish

What is a Buttery Red Wine?

Wine Poured in Long-stem Glass

The term “Buttery” is more commonly associated with white wines, particularly and is not typically used to describe red wines. However, some red wines can have a rich, smooth, and creamy texture similar to that of a buttery white wine.

This texture can be attributed to factors such as oak aging, extended skin contact during fermentation, and specific winemaking techniques. The flavor of a buttery red wine is often described as being similar to that of a ripe peach or apricot.

Red wines that may exhibit a buttery texture and mouthfeel include:

Popular examples of buttery red wines include California Chardonnays such as Cakebread Cellars and Kistler Vineyards, as well as French Burgundies from producers like Leroy and Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. These wines typically retail for around $50-$100 per bottle.

Red wines that may exhibit a buttery texture and mouthfeel include:


Merlot is a red wine that is often aged in oak barrels, which can impart flavors of vanilla and spice, as well as a smooth, velvety texture.

Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon is another red wine that can be aged in oak barrels and may have a rich, full-bodied texture that is sometimes described as “buttery.”


Syrah or Shiraz can be rich and full-bodied with smooth, velvety tannins that give it a creamy texture.

The term “buttery” is not commonly used to describe red wines, and these wines may be described using other terms, such as “silky,” “velvety,” or “smooth.”

Food Pairings with Buttery Wines.

Bread and Bread on Black Tray

When it comes to food pairings, buttery wines are surprisingly versatile. They can be enjoyed with a variety of different dishes, from rich seafood to simple grilled meats and vegetables.

If you’re looking for a delicious seafood pairing, try pairing a buttery wine with lobster or crab. The rich flavors of the wine will complement the seafood perfectly.

For a heartier dish, try pairing a buttery wine with grilled steak or chicken. The bold flavors of the grill will pairs nicely with the creamy texture of the wine.

Vegetarians can also enjoy buttery wines, thanks to their versatility. Pair them with roasted vegetables or creamy pasta dishes for a flavorful and satisfying meal. No matter what you’re serving, a buttery wine is sure to make your meal even more enjoyable.

Buttery wines, such as Chardonnay, can pair well with a range of different foods. The rich, creamy texture and flavors of these wines can complement a variety of dishes, including:

Creamy pasta dishes – Buttery wines can pair well with rich, creamy pasta dishes, such as fettuccine Alfredo or carbonara.

Seafood – White fish, crab, and lobster can all be delicious when paired with a buttery Chardonnay. The wine’s richness can complement the delicate flavors of the seafood.

Poultry – Roast chicken, turkey, and duck can all be paired with a buttery Chardonnay. The wine’s weight can complement the richness of the meat.

Soft, creamy cheeses – Buttery wines can pair well with soft, creamy cheeses like brie or camembert. The wine’s creamy texture can complement the richness of the cheese.

Roasted vegetables – Buttery wines can also pair well with roasted vegetables, such as asparagus, mushrooms, or squash. The wine’s richness can complement the caramelized flavors of the vegetables.

The best food pairing for a buttery wine ultimately depends on personal taste preferences and the specific characteristics of the wine.

Experimentation with different pairings is always a fun and informative way to discover new flavor combinations.

Recipes Using Buttery Wine.

Family Preparing in the Kitchen

Buttery wines, such as Chardonnay, can be a delicious ingredient in many recipes. Here are three recipes that use buttery wine:

Creamy White Wine Chicken: This recipe uses Chardonnay to create a rich, creamy sauce for chicken. Sauté chicken breasts in butter, garlic, and onion, then add Chardonnay and chicken broth.

Simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened, then stir in heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Serve with rice or pasta.

Clams in White Wine Sauce: This classic seafood dish uses a buttery white wine, such as Chardonnay or Viognier, to create a flavorful broth for steaming clams.

Sauté garlic and shallots in butter, then add white wine, chicken broth, and fresh herbs. Add cleaned clams to the pot and simmer until they open, then serve with crusty bread for dipping in the broth.

Lemon Butter Shrimp: This easy recipe uses a buttery white wine, such as Chardonnay, to create a flavorful sauce for shrimp.

Sauté shrimp in butter, garlic, and lemon juice, then add Chardonnay and simmer until the sauce has thickened. Stir in fresh parsley and serve over rice or pasta.

These are just a few examples of how you can incorporate buttery wine into your cooking. The rich, creamy texture and flavors of butter and vanilla can add depth and complexity to a variety of dishes.

Experiment with different recipes and wine varieties to find your favorite flavor combinations.


Buttery wine is a distinctive and flavorful type of white wine that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Its buttery texture and aroma make it an ideal accompaniment to lighter dishes, while its full-bodied flavor makes it the perfect pairing for richer dishes.

With everything you now know about buttery wines, you should be well on your way to being able to confidently select the perfect bottle for any occasion or meal. Cheers!