Chardonnay is one of the most popular and widespread white grape varieties in the world, from which some of the most famous white wines and sparkling wines in the world are made. The grape variety is the hallmark of many New World regions, but its spiritual home is in France. There it produces some of the most sought-after and long-lived white wines in Burgundy, as well as excellent sparkling wines in Champagne.
The grape thrives in a variety of climates, from cool regions like Chablis in Burgundy to warm regions like Australia’s Barossa Valley. Chardonnay is an early budding grape variety, which can cause problems in cooler climates that are prone to spring frosts. It can also lose acidity quite quickly towards the end of the ripening period before harvest.
The flavors of Chardonnay range from apple, citrus and flint in cool climates to peach, melon and tropical fruit in temperate to warm climates. Versions that have been aged for some time in oak can have vanilla and toasty notes, and those that undergo malolactic fermentation are typically creamy in flavor and buttery in aroma.