Chardonnay is the world’s most popular white wine grape and is known for its juicy fruit flavor and full body. In fact, Chardonnay is the 5th most widely planted grape variety in the world. And it therefore also has its own holiday -21st May.

Chardonnay can be as yellow as the sunshine, to light green in color and gracefully adapts to a divergent array of terroir.  While France is the grape’s spiritual home, especially in the various Burgundy appellations, other areas that produce high quality wine are; America, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Italy.

Flavor Profile

As a general rule…

Cold climate = generally able to make old world

Hotter climate = able to make new world

Warm Climate Chardonnay

The texture is a little wider and fatter on the tongue. Warm climate chardonnay also tends to have less acidity and higher alcohol. Warm climate chardonnay regions include Australia, California, and Argentina.

Common flavors that come out when Chardonnay is grown in a warmer climate:

  • Yellow apple,
  • pineapple, and
  • Meyer lemon

Cool Climate Chardonnay

Cool climate chardonnay regions include France, Oregon, Mendocino County, and parts of Chile. You’ll notice the wines will tingle on your tongue from higher acidity.

Signature flavors that come out when Chardonnay is grown in a cooler climate:

  • Green apple,
  • Lemon, lime, and
  • Tingly mineral flavors

Those big buttery flavors

  • Usually come from California and Australia
  • Are oaked it wooden barrels and age for up to 10 years
  • Malolactic fermentation is whereby bacteria is asses to create an artificially buttery, rour apple taste. Malic acid is generally reserved for wines that are very fruity, and you may even add more sugar to balance the sour taste. But if you add too much you’ll end up with what tastes like a sour patch kid.

Regions

Winemakers make a vast range of flavors and iterations from chardonnay

  • France (especially Burgundy appellations)
  • USA (Napa, Sonoma – Marcassin and Aubert)
  • Australia (Margaret River, Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsular)
Style Guide: The World’s Best Places for Growing Chardonnay
Chardonnay regions

Chablis

Chablis is made from 100% chardonnay. It comes from the northernmost wine district of Burgundy in France and due to the cool climate of the region, and is known for its purity, aroma and green-yellow clarity. The Chablis region produces wines with more acidity and less fruity and oak influence such than that of other warmer climate chardonnays.

These wines often have a flinty note, sometimes describes as “steely” or tasting of “gun flint” and distinct green apple flavor.

Some Chablis have an earthy “wet stone” flavor that intensifies with age, before mellowing into delicate honey notes. Like most white Burgundies, Chablis can benefit from bottle aging. Most basic Chablis is unoaked, and vinified in stainless steel tanks. . While producers’ styles and vintage can play an influential role, Grand Cru Chablis can generally age for well over 15 years while many Premier Crus will age well for at least 10 years.