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France’s most popular wine and with a great international and world wide acceptance, Chardonnay is the quintessential wine of all the white wines, just like Cabernet Sauvignon is for the red ones. What’s so incredible about this specific wine is its versatility, as the vine easily adapts to its climate. Its green-skinned grapes are produced nowadays all over the world, from France to US and New Zealand.

The heart of many sparkling wines, including Champagne, Chardonnay has quite a history. After being thought that it is in a strict relation with Pinot Blanc or Pinot Noir, and then again wrongly associated with the white Muscat, Chardonnay was yet again mistaken with a Middle East grape, brought in Europe by the Crusaders. Modern studies have demonstrated that its origins are a result of a cross between Pinot and Gouais Blanc.

Part French, part Balkan, Chardonnay grew as the result of interbreeding two species of grapes, the Gouais, brought by the Romans from the Balkans, and the Pinot, already cultivated by the French aristocracy. Its flexibility and ability to adapt to different climates and conditions, this vigorous wine is suitable to any vineyard soil.

The second most planted white grape, after Ugni Blanc in France, Chardonnay actually was confused for a while with the Pinot Blanc, due to their identical grape vines, clusters and leaves. This dispute was resolved, as a difference between the two kinds of vines was discovered: while ripening, the Chardonnay grapes are golden-green colored, while the Pinot grapes aren’t. France is the proud owner of two major regions in which Chardonnay is a reputed white wine: Chablis and Burgundy. Chablis, where Chardonnay grapes are planted since the 12th century, is the region with the purest Chardonnay, cultivated to reach its top varietal character possible.

Though also planted in Champagne, Chardonnay doesn’t reach its maximum values in this specific region of France, because of the lowest temperature average, at least in comparison with Burgundy or Chablis. Besides France, Chardonnay is mainly planted in the United States, in North America, particularly California, in New York, Washington, and even in Canada.

Australia and New Zealand are also famous, mostly in New Zealand where, until 2002, it was the most widely planted grape, until it was surpassed by Sauvignon Blanc. Italy, South Africa, Greece, Israel, Austria, Bulgaria and many other countries keep successfully planting Chardonnay, maintaining its reputation for versatility and great taste.

This wine - built to age well, in order to release all its incredible aromas and subtle flavor – pairs greatly with rich foods, like poultry dishes, seafood, and pork. But its capability to adapt to any geographical region translates into a certain power to pair, in fact, more than many food combinations. Salads, shrimps, grills, curry dishes, butter-based foods – it practically matches up everything.
The winemaking techniques regarding Chardonnay include:

  • malolactic fermentation (this will result a buttery Chardonnay aroma)
  • introducing oak during fermentation(making the wine taste like caramel, vanilla, spice or cream)
  • stirring up the lees while the wine it’s still in the barrel
  • fermentation at various temperatures (the colder will produce a tropical fruity flavor)

  • With a distinct, delicate aroma, with a fruity palette when manufactured, rather easy to recognize, but sometimes difficult to characterize, Chardonnay remains one of the most popular wines in the world. This undefeated king of wines occupies vineyards all over the world and still tells its white story.

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