Chardonnay Paired with Pork Tenderloin

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

Chardonnay is the most popular white wine on earth. The grape is a near-blank canvas, capable of being produced in a gamut of different styles. Chardonnay grapes are somewhat resilient, low maintenance in the vineyard and easy to grow in almost any climate. Travel to any wine region in the world, you will find at least one vineyard growing Chardonnay.


The birthplace of Chardonnay is considered to be Burgundy, France. Winemakers in Burgundy realized early on that Chardonnay has a relatively neutral profile and a unique knack for expressing the essence of the land. This concept, known as terroir , allows for qualities derived from things like climate, soil, and even the local foliage to be expressed in the glass. White Burgundy enjoys worldwide acclaim for its elegance; in Champagne, the grape provides finesse and balance and is the star variety in the region’s Blanc de Blancs wines. And yes, most Champagnes are in part made with Chardonnay grapes.

No two places that grow Chardonnay produce the same expression, yet every region finds it is relatively easy to grow. This discovery has helped the grape spread across the world.


Are you looking for a Chardonnay that is sweet or one that is unoaked or one that fills your palate with buttery warmth? Heavily influenced by soil, climate and aging, Chardonnay can take on a multitude of flavor profiles to fit your every need. In general, it is a dry, medium-bodied white wine with moderate acidity ranging from bright straw to saturated gold in color. Chardonnay flavors can express hints of lemon zest, green apple, and grapefruit when unoaked, but if the wine is aged in oak barrels the flavor profile will take on fuller, oaked aromas with a lingering buttery finish and notes of vanilla and spice. Climate can have a massive impact on Chardonnay’s final profile. Chardonnay from cooler regions such as Burgundy, Coastal Chile, New Zealand, and Oregon exude lighter notes of quince, lemon, and yellow apple. Warmer climates like California, New Mexico, South Africa, and South Australia produce Chardonnay that expresses ripe, tropical flavors of pineapple, apricot, and star fruit. Heart of the Desert’s Chardonnay is medium-dry, lightly acidic, and crisp with light fruit flavors.


Top-tier Chardonnay can come from all corners of the globe. But they can also be quite contrasting in style. This is partially due to winemaking choices, such as letting the wine go through malolactic fermentation.

Malolactic fermentation (or MLF) is the process in which malic acid gets converted into a softer lactic acid. This transformation imparts the buttery notes that are associated with some styles of Chardonnay. Wines that do not go through MLF have more dominant green fruit flavors like apple or pear.

Much like discovering how adaptive the grape is to different regions of the world, winemakers also found Chardonnay is incredibly responsive to oak aging. Oak plays a huge determining factor in the wine’s final profile. Winemakers who opt for a crisp and fresh wine use stainless steel to ferment and store their wines, limiting the amount of oxygen contact. Winemakers seeking a fuller-bodied style use oak aging to impart the flavors of vanilla, coconut, and baking spice. French oak barrels impart more subtle flavors than those made of American oak. Balance can be further manipulated by choosing to use second or third use oak barrels and selecting to age some of the wine in oak and the rest in stainless steel.

Unoaked expressions took somewhat of a back seat through the 1980s and 1990s, while a fuller “butter bomb” style California Chardonnay flourished. Highly expressive flavors of toast, spice, clove, and vanilla were all the rage. But with every trend, comes its downturn and consumers eventually turned their nose up to the over-oaked style.

Today, the practice of over-oaking Chardonnay has pretty much stopped not only in California but also worldwide. Most winemakers use only a portion of new barrels for fermentation and aging. The result is a more balanced wine, reminiscent of a Burgundian-style Chardonnay, with just a kiss of vanilla and complexity. This style saves money for producers, limiting the need for new, expensive barrels for every vintage.


Like all whites, Chardonnay should be served chilled. If the wine is too warm, the alcohol tastes hot while the flavors are muddled. Too cold, and the aromas and flavors are muted. The best temperature range is 50–55°F, which can be achieved by two hours in the refrigerator or 30–40 minutes in an ice-water bath. If you don’t finish a bottle of Chardonnay, replace the cork, and stick it back in the fridge. The flavors will stay fresh for 2–4 days. Beyond that, the wine will start to oxidize. At that point, it’s best used for cooking. Use a white wine glass with a larger bowl and opening for serving so the variety of flavors can open up and balance out.


Due to its wide array of styles and profiles, Chardonnay can pair with almost every kind of food. Lighter, unoaked Chardonnay, like Chablis, is a great match for fresh cheese or delicate seafood. Medium-bodied expressions hold their own with poultry, pork tenderloin, or aged cheeses. Higher-alcohol or full-bodied Chardonnay pairs well with entrées with a rich cream sauce or even grilled meats.



Your friends and family will encourage you to open your own restaurant after tasting this Mediterranean Stuffed Pork Tenderloin. Fresh garden veggies, pungent bleu cheese, and Smoked Balsamic will bring the mild taste of pork tenderloin to life! If you’re looking for more inspiration on the grill besides steaks and burgers give this recipe a chance!

Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 5


  • 1 Pork Tenderloin
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic & Herb Infused Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Mediterranean Rosemary Rub
  • 2 tsp Roasted Garlic Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Spinach, washed and dried
  • 1/2 Cup Blue Cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup Red Pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 Medium Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 Cup Smoked Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar


  1. Preheat the salt slab on the grill to 400F.
  2. Butterfly pork by cutting through the pork lengthwise, making sure to leave about 1 in of pork at the bottom uncut, then pound out pork to ½” thickness. Season pork with olive oil, rub, salt, and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes up to 24 hours.
  3. In a food processor pulse spinach, bleu cheese, red pepper, onion, egg yolk, and panko until well combined.
  4. Add the filling into the pork, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Starting on the long side, roll up pork and secure with toothpicks. Top with smoked balsamic.
  5. Place the pork tenderloin on the grill. Close the lid and cook for 15 minutes or until pork is no longer pink.
  6. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting. Finish with a drizzle more of balsamic.

Buy your Olivelle Oils  and Vinegars  and Chardonnay  from Heart of the Desert for a delicious combination! You’ll be glad you did!

Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios  and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.