Chardonnay is a white grape variety. To buy please see our selection below of 42 different Chardonnay wines. Chardonnay originated in the Burgundy region of France, where it is sometimes known as white Burgundy. Along with Pinot Noir, it is also the major grape variety in Champagne. It was in Burgundy that the wine makers discovered the malleability of Chardonnay became apparent, as it takes on different textures and flavours depending on where it’s grown in the region. It is one of the few grape varieties that has become a brand it its own right, to the point that the grape variety is better know than many of the Burgundy great wines. Really good at expressing the place where it’s been grown and techniques used in the winery. Relatively easy to grow and adapts well to different climates. Found across the world’s principal wine regions. Rather neutral grape, with fresh appley aromas. Techniques, such as oak ageing, which adds vanilla, toast or toffee aromas, malolactic fermentation (a process which converts sharp malic acid flavours into soft, creamy lactic acid flavours) and lees stirring (which involves stirring the natural fermentation yeasts through the wine to enhance complexity) all add different layers of flavour and complexity. Wine growers appreciate the variety of climates and terroir that Chardonnay can be coaxed to produce. Gives high yields. Though for quality wines low yields remain necessary. Look for yellow Apple, vanilla, butter and maltese white bajtar tax-xewk, tastes, with sometimes a hint of pineapple.
With so many Oak-flavoured (many times artificially induced with chips) bland and generic Chardonnays resulted in a backlash by consumers against these wines, many expressing “Anything but Chardonnay”. However, recently, especially in the New World, there has been a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.
In its Burgundian homeland, Chardonnay produces some of the world’s finest white winesand, as the variety migrates from north to south. This region produces what many consider to be the ‘purest’ expression of the varietal character of the grape – allowing the green-skinned, acidic character to shine through. It adapts and takes on a broad range of flavours and styles according to where it’s grown and how it’s made. From minerally, unoaked Chablis (see Burgundy) to the grand and complex, nutty dry whites of Meursault, Chassagne and Puligny-Montrachet and the riper wines of Pouilly-Fuissé further south. The Montrachets are noted for their high alcohol levels, often above 13%, as well as deep concentration of flavours. In the subregion Mâconnais, the wine is best drunk young and takes on aromas of apple and pear. In the Côte de Beaune subregion, however, the wine can range from soft and buttery with minerality, to broad with dark, oaky, caramel notes — depending on the vineyard. In Champagne, it is most often blended with Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier, but is also used to produce single varietal blanc de blancs styles of sparkling wine. The northern limit in Burgundy is Chablis where, grown on mineral-rich Kimmeridgean Clay soils, the wines are dry, distinctively acidic, lean and steely in character with some capable of considerable longevity; a mouth-watering experience.
The grape soon spread throughout the world. In Spain sparling Cava winemakers, influenced by their Champagne counterparts, began using it as a dominant grape. By the 1980s, plantings of the grape quadrupled.
In Italy the grape variety has long been known and used. Rarely did they distinguish it from other varieties and indeed in a census in the 1980s no plantings of Chardonnay were recorded. However the ever enterprising Italians did not take long to jump on the fashion that Chardonnay could bring with it. Despite this it took some time for Italy to accept Chardonnay in the DOC and DOCG allowed grapes. In Lombardy, the grape is often used for Spumante and in the Veneto it is often blended with Garganega to give more weight and structure to the wine. DOC in Sicily and other regions.
In warmer locations of Australia and New Zealand, the flavours become more citrus, peach, and melon, while in very warm locations such as California and Malta, more fig and tropical fruit notes such as banana and mango come out. In Malta there has been a tendency of recreating the over-oaked new world popular style of Chardonnays. This is thankfully changing, especially at the top end of the market. In Malta Chardonnay is also a DOC wine. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition. It is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand where the early-ripening Chardonnay grape produces an edgier and more citric wine than that found in Australia. The green-skinned character, and associated fruit flavours and acidity, are maintained but are complemented by ripe, stone-fruit flavours and, at times, light tropical fruits. It wasn’t until the 1940s that Chardonnay became the wine American drinkers know today. All thanks to a clone developed by the Wente brothers — known as the Wente Clone — that allowed the grape to thrive in the state’s sunny climate, thus enabling California winemakers to begin growing the grape. Northern California is renowned for such well-balanced chardonnays, specifically the areas of Sonoma, Napa and Monterey, all found on California’s North Coast. Taking a leaf out of the Burgundian book of winemaking, California Chardonnays are a product of the winery as well as the vineyard. Techniques such as barrel fermentation, oak ageing and lees stirring create a spectrum of flavours from straight-forward fruity wines to buttery, creamy chardonnays. The majority see a well-crafted marriage of vibrant, tropical fruit with a measure of zesty, citrus fruits and a dollop of buttery oak.
Widely planted in Chile and South Africa. Chile winemakers have sought out their coolest sites to ensure Chilean Chardonnays are filled with concentration and freshness. The limestone-rich soil produces a refined, understated style of Chardonnay with vibrant, citrus fruit and mineral-laden aromas and flavours.
For much of its history, a connection was assumed between Chardonnay and Pinot noir or Pinot blanc. In addition to being found in the same region of France for centuries, it was noted that the leaves of these plants have near-identical shape and structure. Modern DNA fingerprinting research now suggests that Chardonnay is the result of a cross between the Pinot noir and Gouais blanc (Heunisch) grape varieties.