Oenologie - Le chardonnay pour les nuls - Les Grappes

Chardonnay for dummies


"A glass of chardo please". This phrase has become commonplace, whether in a restaurant, with friends or in a wine bar, as if "chardo" were a brand, a unique wine, a drink in its own right. We order a glass of chardonnay the way we order a water mint.

The word is so ingrained in our vocabulary that we forget it's even a grape variety. Chardonnay is the 8th most planted grape variety in the world, and one of the busiest (some twenty liters per second). Where does it come from? What accounts for its worldwide success? Let's take a look at one of the best-known grape varieties among wine lovers.

Discover our selection of Chardonnay white wines 100% direct from the winemaker.

Where does Chardonnay come from?

Like many bottled grapes, Chardonnay is a cross between two other grape varieties, Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. The first being a noble black grape, the second a slightly less noble white, they have merged to perfection in their their French cradle in Burgundyto produce the world's finest white chardonnay wines.

In the Chablis vineyards, it was even called "Beaunois", which goes to show its Burgundian origins! It accounts for half the vineyards in this region, whose terroir is perfect for sublimating it. This is also the case in Champagne , where it is present on a third of the vineyards, particularly perfect on the Côte des Blancs.

Chardonnay can be found in bottles for all occasions, and has become the world's best-selling wine. At its best in cool climates and on chalky or chalky soils, Chardonnay also demonstrates an astonishing ability to adapt to all climates.Chardonnay is at its best in cool climates and chalky or calcareous soils, but it also has an astonishing ability to adapt to all climates, a detail that has not escaped the attention of producers the world over, and which has led to the success of chardo.

To each his own chardonnay

"I love Chardonnay! Oh no, no Chablis! ". To this equally common phrase, we'd be tempted to reply, "But of course, it's all the same! ". But it's not.

Chardonnay has the ability to adapt anywhere, while at the same time revealing the particular expression of the terroir in which it is produced. From one region to the next, from one appellation to the next, from one bottle to the next chardonnays are all different.

What type of wine is Chardonnay?

Chardonnay can be used to make still, sparkling or even sweet wines, and can be found all over France: in Alsacein the the Loire ValleyLoire Valley the Jura (where it occupies half the vineyards), Savoie and Beaujolais. So many terroirs for so many expressions. Its 3rd French terroir has nothing to do with Burgundy or Champagne , since it's in the Languedoc Roussillon vineyards. Yes, France may authorize over 200 grape varieties, but Chardonnay alone accounts for 6% of the country's vineyards!

Chardonnay offers an impressive range of aromas . Pure, tranquil Chardonnay for the perfection of youthful freshness. Chardonnay de garde for incomparable fatness and brioche aromas. Blended Chardonnay for traditional champagnes throughout the year. Barrel-aged Chardonnay for toasty aromas. Sparkling chardonnay, sweet chardonnay, table chardonnay, A.O.P. chardonnay, IGP chardonnay, Vin de France chardonnay, new world chardonnay.

Drink it throughout the meal, from aperitif to dessert, with fish, white meat, Asian dishes and more. There's a Chardonnay for everyone - it's just a question of choosing the right one.

Is Chardonnay a dry white wine?

Chardonnay is one of the most popular dry white wines. However, it can also be sweet, depending on how the winemaker decides to shape it. But even if it is dry, Chardonnay is a very fruity , buttery wine.

Is Chardonnay a sweet wine?

Chardonnay can be quite dry but sweet. Beyond the winemaking process, this sensation may come from the climate in which it is grown and its gourmet aromas: apple, lemon, papaya, pineapple or even vanilla if the wine is aged in oak barrels.

Chardonnay can also be processed to produce sweet and syrupy wines.

Overwhelming success

Our grape variety is found in 300 million bottles of champagne produced every year, where the price of grapes is the most expensive in the world and continues to rise year after year.

A grape variety that attracts growers the world over, since it is now planted everywhere: in Europe , its birthplace, in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and above all in the United States , where it is grown on 35,000 hectares out of a total of 150,000 hectares worldwide.

And, as with any fruit, its taste varies from place to place, much to the delight of tasters.

Unfortunately, this ever-increasing success inevitably pleases certain producers eager for very high yields at low quality, because today's Chardonnay unfortunately only needs its name to sell itself.

Chardonnay is not the monopoly of one perfect winemaker, but of thousands!

The "glass of chardo" ordered in this way can be as disappointing as it is delicious. This grape variety may have been tried and tested a long time ago, but its richness, its history, its enthusiasts and so many other aspects merit never-ending tasting, rediscovering and exploring all its variations, in order to enrich its appreciation.

What's the best Chardonnay?

To help you decide, here are our favorite Chardonnays. Please note that these are little nuggets from Les Grappes !

Bourgogne Aligoté from Château de Premeaux: We love this wine, which transports us straight to Burgundy ! The wine's color is silky and brilliant. The nose is explosive with aromas of exotic fruit and smoky lemon. On the palate, it's a perfect match: a woody, buttery Chardonnay with super freshness!

Chablis from Domaine Céline et Frederic Gueguen : the perfect chardonnay par excellence. In fact, it has won several awards: DECANTER and WINE ENTHUSIAST. Its brilliant yellow color bewitches us, its fruity nose reminiscent of white-fleshed fruit transports us, and finally its supple palate with a hint of acidity seduces us!

Burgundy Chardonnay from Domaine Cluny: If Alain Bashung cried "Osez Joséphine" (Dare Josephine), we say it without concession: "Osez ce Chardonnay" (Dare this Chardonnay)! Brilliant color with green highlights. On the nose, you'll find aromas of white fruits, then on the palate, you'll be surprised by its pleasant minerality.

Chardonnay from Château Guilhem : a veritable explosion of flavors! This is the authentic Chardonnay we love. Aromas of white flowers and white fruit titillate the nose. The palate is powerful and rich. The finish is a firework display of freshness mixed with notes of toasted brioche .

See all Les Grappes Chardonnays

Chardonnay from Vignerons Récoltants

Now that you know everything, let's start tasting Chardonnay! Discover our selection of wines from winegrowers !

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