Believed to be of Middle Eastern origin, Chardonnay is the world's most popular white varietal, and one that loses itself completely to wine making techniques. More a type of wine than a vine variety (with some definite exceptions), Chardonnay is made in every imaginable style. In the last 50 years or so, plantings in
Most experts agree the ultimate expression of Chardonnay’s potential is in
Burgundy, where the region, not grape type,
gives the wine its name. White Burgundy ranges from a light, crisp Macon, to a steely, direct
Chablis, to a nutty Meursault, and on to a very rich, layered, and complex
Montrachet. Blanc de Blancs Champagne,
also made with chardonnay, is breathtaking in its purity, delicacy, and
From light, crisp and tart to full-bodied, opulent and ripe, one common denominator is a
malolactic fermentation, the conversion of tart malic acid to the soft lactic acid. Many winemakers employ this technique to achieve this popular buttery characteristic.
Here are a few examples of how Chardonnay manifests itself in different areas of the world:
Adelaide Hills High natural acidity combined with ripe fruit make a typical, comparatively ripe Australian wine with long aging potential.
Carneros The mists of the
moderate what would otherwise be a hot climate, making for well-structured
wines that still show some generosity of fruit. San Francisco Bay
Chablis The steely table wines of this cool region have a firm acidity that allows them to develop into some of the longest living whites available.
Meursault In the Côte d’Or, the heartland of
Napa Valley Just 20 miles (32 km) north of Carneros, in California, chardonnay becomes full, ripe and generous, but without the tautness of the wines from farther south. Ripening also allows the various flavor components of the grape to develop.
Chardonnay: citrus, apple, pear, tropical, buttery, creamy, nutty, steely, minerally, oaky.
Chardonnay: Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc Roussillon, Umbria, South Australia, Western Australia, North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast, Central Valley, Casablanca Valley, Mendoza.
Long Depaquit Chablis Moutonne, Burgundy (France)
Raveneau Chablis Montee de Tonnere, Burgundy (France)
Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault “Clos de la Barre”, Burgundy (France)
Domaine Coche-Dury Meursault-Rougeots, Burgundy (France)
Domaine Bachelet-Ramonet Batard-Montrachet, Burgundy (France)
Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet, Burgundy (France)
Domaine d’Auvenay, Leroy, Chevalier-Montrachet, Burgundy (France)
Salon Clos de Mesnil Champagne (France)
Chassagne-Montrachet “Les Blanchot Dessus”, Anglada-Deleger, Burgundy, (France)
Nicolas Feuillate Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru nv, Champagne (France)
Iron Horse Blanc de Blancs,
Sonoma County Green Valley, California ( USA)