Chardonnay Guide


Chardonnay is the most famous and sought-after white variety. It is used to make excellent white wines from all over the world.

Chardonnay can grow under many different climates and its vines produce high yields of fruit. The producers make easily quality wines. In fact, Chardonnay is known for being the «winemaker grape variety» because the style depends heavily on the Vinification, the maintenance of the vines and the type of soils. For example, Chablis wine have a distinctive minerality thanks to the specific limestone soils of the vineyards.

However, Chardonnay growing can run into a few hardships. In the warmer wine regions, a long ripeness increases the sugar concentration at the expense of acidity. Therefore, the producers have to harvest earlier in the year to balance acidity and sweetness. Under the colder climates, the early flowering puts the grapes at risk of spring frost.

Chardonnay caracteristics

Chardonnay is not an aromatic white variety. Its subtle fruity character allows highlighting the minerality of the terroir or the oak notes from the maturation process. The variety can gives a wide range of wines, from the crisp dry ones to the intense tropical whites. The colder climates white wines have green fruit flavors like apple and pears, with vegetal or citrusy notes. The wines from the warmer climates develop tropical fruits. Under tempered conditions, the Chardonnay has apricot or peach aromas.

The maturation in oak barrels confers toasty bread, vanilla or coconut flavors. The malolactic fermentation is used to lower the acid levels and gives a creamy texture and buttered notes.

More known for its dry white wines, Chardonnay is also used to make effervescent wines like Champagne. It can be found in the Canadian icewines.

Where to find the best Chardonnays

In France, Chardonnay is wildly planted in Burgundy, mostly in Chablis and Côte de Beaune. It is the most important variety of the famous white burgundy wines. The grape is also cultivated in Champagne and Beaujolais.

The more perfumed and aromatic Chardonnay wines come from Chile, California and Australia. The New Zealand wines are in between the New World tropical style and the crisp refreshing character of the Burgundy wines.