Chardonnay is a green skinned grape variety grown worldwide but originating in the Burgundy region of France. It is a relatively neutral variety with its characteristic flavours being influenced by terrior and contact with oak.
Chardonnay grapes are relatively small and fragile and tend to be thin skinned and susceptible to oxidization. This presents difficulties in the wine making process but also offers opportunities in that the resultant wine can be greatly influenced by various wine making techniques.
The qualities of Chardonnay have been described as ranging from 'flinty' and 'crisp' for wines from the Chablis region in Burgundy to 'fleshy', 'buttery' and 'nutty' for Chardonnays produced in Australia and other New World growing regions. Stone fruit, citrus and tropical fruit characteristics are often used to describe the aromas of Chardonnay.
This versatile grape is the major varietal used in the production of French Champagne where it produces sparkling wines of extraordinary finesse and complexity.