From Boring to Beloved: Chardonnay

On the vine, the Chardonnay grape is incredibly boring. You can have a better conversation with a brick wall than that grape. But we like it. Why? It is a vehicle for “terroir”. So versatile, this innocent grape expresses the vineyard, rain, sun, the winemaker and so much more. From buttery and oaky to fresh vibrant fruit, there is a style for everyone!

It’s the world’s most popular grape variety! But, did you know there is an actual place called Chardonnay? It is a commune located in Burgundy, France with a population of less than 200 people and they drink a lot of wine.

France is arguably the birthplace of Chardonnay and boasts the most vines planted 44,000 hectares or 110,000 acres. The main white grape of Burgundy is Chardonnay. There are a few other suspicious white grapes, but we are not interested in those. From the crisp, racy whites of Chablis to the slightly brooding and complex whites of Chassagne-Montrachet, Burgundy has many mysteries. Some Burgundies come with a shockingly high price tag, think thousands of euros a bottle. Just make a rich friend and relish those truly incredible wines thanks to your friend’s truly incredible bank account.

But there are many excellent and affordable white Burgundies to be found. We’d be happy to give you some suggestions on Burgundies and Chardonnay around the world. Just send us an email at contact@laviemediterranee.com

We want to be like Lily Bollinger. Wait, we are like Lily Bollinger! Chardonnay is one of the three main grapes allowed in a Champagne blend, the other two, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, are red grapes. If you find a Champagne bottle that says “Blanc de Blanc”, then it will be made from Chardonnay only and will be slightly more delicate with citrus notes.

What other countries produces Chardonnay? What country doesn’t? But the runner up in terms of production is the United States followed by Australia. Chardonnay likes a cooler climate, so why Australia? Down under it is grown near the ocean and not in the middle of the continent. And against popular belief it does not match with Vegemite, nor Kangaroo.

Strangely enough, due to the vast variety of styles, Chardonnay is not always easy to pair with food. A cheese platter you say? We say no, red wine works better. Chicken? When in doubt, the answer is chicken. However, we like to drink a wonderful Chardonnay on its own and if it is an expensive bottle of Burgundy, we drink it by ourselves as well, no sharing, sorry.

Fun facts about Chardonnay

Moldova is the 9th largest producer of Chardonnay, just ahead of New Zealand. Moldova?? We had to look it up on the map as well, don’t be ashamed. Russia is the largest importer of wines from Moldova. Yes, they drink other things than vodka.

This year International Chardonnay Day is May 21, 2020. It’s a Thursday, so plan on taking Friday off.

In 2002 sixty-five girls were named Chardonnay in the UK. Better than being named Zweigelt, a variety found in Austria.

Unfortunately the grape has haters, the ABC group which stands for “Anything But Chardonnay”. If you have an ABC friend, ditch them and find a new friend in California, New Zealand, South Africa or other Chardonnay friendly countries.

We love trying all kinds of Chardonnay and invite you to do the same.

Santé!

Published by Amy Griffin Maffre

Hello, My name is Amy Griffin-Maffre and I have worked in the world of wine for over twenty years. Previously, my name was Amy Mumma, but I changed it to Maffre when I married my stunning French vigneron husband. We live in Provence with our dog Sammy, a rescue, and our company is called La Vie Méditerranée. Through La Vie Mediterranée we share the Mediterranean Lifestyle through beauty, perfume and wine. I work as a wine consultant and educator and my approach to wine is non-egotistical, fun and creative. You can read more about me on this site, make sure you have a glass of wine in hand. Santé!

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