Chardonnay…quite possibly the best know varietal in the United States.

by Wendy VanHatten


Chardonnay is often a go to wine for many in the summer months. But, that doesn’t mean it’s a summer time only wine. And, it doesn’t mean only people in the US drink it.

Did you know…Chardonnay’s ancestral home is the Burgundy region of France?

Here are some more facts about chardonnay. All white Burgundies are 100% chardonnay.

The big four white Burgundies, in terms of prestige, are: Chablis, Meursault, Puligny Montrachet and Chassagne Montrachet.

Chardonnay can be found in many other locations, including the Champagne region of France, where it’s made into Champagne. It can also be grown in California, Oregon, Washington State, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Italy, and Spain. Whew!

Although chardonnay can be and is grown in many different climates, the chardonnay grape seems to make the most elegant wines when grown in cool climates.

You will probably find most chardonnay around the world is made in a rich style. That means a creamy, full-bodied wine, often with a sense of buttery essence, nuttiness, and a discernible amount of toasty oak flavor. Therefore, many people think of drinking chardonnay with rich, buttery, nutty, and creamy foods.

The one exception to rich chardonnay is Chablis, a leaner, more minerally style of chardonnay that goes perfectly with icy platters of raw oysters, simple seafood, and all by itself in your glass. This one happens to be my personal favorite.

Chardonnay can be found from $8 to $80, with good examples in every price bracket. Usually, the more expensive chardonnays are generally considerably more complex, long, and satisfying.

Although a certain amount of oaky and buttery flavors are to be expected, too much of these can make chardonnay taste overdone, overwrought, and overwhelming. The best chardonnays, on the other hand, combine richness with a sense of refinement and balance.

Do you have a favorite style of chardonnay?