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Grape Varietals

Chardonnay

Chardonnay-Grapes

Chablis

Unoaked-Australian-Chardonnay

Napa-Valley-Chardonnay

Introduction

Originating in the Burgundy wine region of France, Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It is one of the most widely planted grape varieties grown in all wine producing countries, from England to New Zealand. In fact, it is seen as a "rite of passage" and as a means of entry into the international wine market for new and developing wine regions.

Chardonnay Wines

The Chardonnay grape is very neutral, deriving many of its flavours from influences such as terroir and oak. Made in different styles in different wine regions, Chardonnay wines from Chablis, France are dry, lean and crisply mineral. Burgundy Chardonnays Wine are varied in their flavours; from steely styles to hazelnut aromas to round and buttery examples. Famous Chardonnay wines from France include Chablis, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassange-Montrachet, Pouilly-Fuisse, Meursault to name a few. In addition to being the most expensive, the Burgundy examples of Chardonnay were long considered the benchmark of expressing terroir through Chardonnay. There wines are generally austere & acidic with a pronounced green apple aroma and flavour. While most Chardonnays are meant to be consumed within 2-3 years, some of them will need at least 3 years in the bottle to develop aromas and character.

A lot of New World Chardonnays from California and Australia are oaked, giving buttery, full bodied wines with honey and tropical fruit flavours. Despite being more famous for its Sauvignon Blanc wines, Chardonnay was New Zealand's most widely planted grape variety from 1990 till 2002 when Sauvignon Blanc finally surpassed it. New World Chardonnays are more approachable than their Burgundian counterparts because of their fruit character versus the dry, minerally and austere character of French Chardonnays. However, in the New World regions, there has been a shift in style from deep golden, oily wines with melon and butterscotch flavours to lighter, paler Chardonnays with more structure and notes of white peaches and nectarines.

Chardonnay is an important component of many sparkling wines around the world, including Champagne. Chardonnay is also planted in Languedoc region in France where it used to make sparkling wine. Chardonnay has a long history with Italy but it is mainly used as a blending grape and to produce Spumante (Italian Sparkling Wine). Other countries producing Chardonnay include South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Germany and Austria to name a few.

Food Pairing

Due to its wide range of styles, Chardonnay wine can be paired with diverse foods. It is most commonly paired with roast chicken and other white meats such as turkey. Heavily oaked Chardonnays do not pair well with more delicate fish or seafood but work better with smoked chicken or fish and spicy Asian cuisine. More acidic Chardonnays tend to pair well with tomato-based dishes whereas older, mellower Chardonnays are often paired with more "earthy" dishes like mushroom soup and aged cheese.

Interesting Facts

Chardonnay is planted in more wine regions than any other grape, including Cabernet Sauvignon.

"Chardonnay Rose" also called "Chardonnay Blanc Musqué", which produces an intensely aromatic wine is a (rare pink-berried mutation of Chardonnay grape. It is mostly found around the Maconnais village in Burgundy.

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