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What is the history of chardonnay: Chardonnay, the ‘Queen of white grapes’, has a fascinating history. Originating from Burgundy, France, Chardonnay has ancient roots, potentially tracing back to wild vines. While its exact origins remain a mystery, the grape's history is deeply intertwined with Burgundy. The first documented mention of Chardonnay in this region dates back to the 1300s!

What is the taste profile of Chardonnay: Chardonnay is a versatile and expressive grape, offering a wide range of flavours influenced by terroir and winemaking techniques. In the glass, the colour varies from pale straw to rich gold. On the nose, you’ll find anything from citrus and green apple in cooler climates to ripe tropical fruits in warmer regions. You might find notes of butter, vanilla, or even a hint of hazelnut, especially in wines that have undergone oak-aging. The palate is typically medium to full-bodied, with a balanced acidity that adds freshness. Chardonnay is known for its ability to evolve with age, gaining complexity and developing rich, toasty notes over time.

What are the classic regions for Chardonnay: Chardonnay has established its reign over Old and New World regions around the world. Burgundy, its ancestral home, continues to produce iconic Chardonnays, celebrated for their elegance and minerality. In Australia, regions like Margaret River, Yarra Valley, and Mornington Peninsula have gained recognition for outstanding Chardonnays. California's Napa Valley and Sonoma County also contribute to the global Chardonnay tapestry, offering rich and opulent expressions. The cool-climate regions of New Zealand, such as Marlborough and Hawke's Bay, produce vibrant and crisp examples. Chardonnay's adaptability to various climates makes it a truly global grape.

A closer look at our favourite Chardonnay regions:

Chablis – Set far inland, the climate is cool in Chablis. The region is closer to Champagne than Marsannay at the very tip of the Cote de Nuits. The soils are Kimmeridgian - limestone rich with fossilized seashells providing beautiful flintiness and wet stone notes. You will get the cool climate citrus, pear and white stone fruits notes. Many producers use oak simply as a vessel, as opposed to using it to influence flavour. Petit Chablis is grown in the same region, on harder Portlandian soils, and often on hilltops. You may find less concentration and flintiness in the Petit.

Meursault - The terroir of Meursault plays a pivotal role in shaping the character of its wines. The vineyards are typically planted on limestone-rich soils, contributing to the minerality and structure of the wines. The unique combination of soil, climate, and topography in Meursault creates an environment where Chardonnay thrives, producing wines with depth, complexity, and a distinct sense of place.

Le Montrachet, Burgundy - This is the best of the best, the GOAT! Limestone rich soils with water-retaining clay, optimal sun exposure from the south facing slope and cool Burgundy climate combine to produce the world's greatest Chardonnay - this 6 minute video explains it all...

California - California's vast wine landscape, ranging from the cool coastal regions to the warm inland valleys, provides a diverse climate suitable for Chardonnay cultivation. Regions like Napa Valley, Sonoma Coast, and Santa Barbara County each offer unique expressions of the grape due to variations in temperature, sunlight, and proximity to the Pacific Ocean.

Margaret River - The Mediterranean climate of Margaret River, characterized by warm summers and mild, wet winters, mirrors some of the world's renowned wine regions. This climate allows for a slow and even ripening of Chardonnay grapes, promoting the development of complex flavours while retaining natural acidity.

Clones: Similar to Pinot Noir, which we examined last week, Chardonnay boasts a diverse array of clones that contribute to its complexity. There are numerous clones cultivated worldwide, each offering unique characteristics. In Australia, the Gin Gin clone produces intense and powerful Chardonnays. The Mendoza clone, originating from Argentina, is known for its small berries and concentrated flavours. The famous Dijon clones, such as 76 and 96, have found homes in many vineyards globally, contributing to wines with nuanced aromatics and textures.

Chardonnay's journey to Australia parallels that of Pinot Noir, with plantings originating from Burgundy. The grape has flourished, producing a spectrum of styles from lean and crisp to rich and buttery. Today, winemakers embrace clones, allowing for a diverse range of Chardonnay expressions. Whether unoaked or aged in barrels, Chardonnay's adaptability ensures a delightful exploration for wine enthusiasts.

Some other AMAZING Chardonnays to consider!

Pooley Chardonnay 2022
Clyde Park C Block Chardonnay 2019
Banks Road Will's Selection 2015 - Last Bottle
Domenica Beechworth Chardonnay 2022
Onannon Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay 2023
Louis Michel & Fils 1er Butteaux Vieilles Vignes Chablis 2019
Lakes Folly Chardonnay 2022
Patrick Sullivan Bull Swump Chardonnay 2022
Moss Wood Chardonnay 2022
Domaine Joseph Coin "Hauts de la Combe' Bourgogne Chardonnay 2021

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