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, a friend's house or a wine bar, as if the "chardo" were a brand, a unique wine, a drink in its own right. We order a glass of chardonnay like we order a mint. This word is so ingrained in our vocabulary that we would even forget that it is a grape variety. It is indeed the 8th most planted grape variety in the world, one of the most drunk (about twenty liters per second), it is talked about in films, books, series, everywhere. Where does it come from? How is its worldwide success explained? Let's take a look at one of the best-known grape varieties among wine lovers.

The Beaune

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 variety, the second a slightly less noble white, they have merged to perfection in their French cradle in BurgundyThe first is a noble black grape, the second a less noble white grape, and they have merged to perfection in Chablis to produce the best white chardonnay wines in the world. In the Chablis vineyard, it was even called "Beaune", which means its Burgundian origin! It represents half of the vineyard of this region, whose soil is perfect to sublimate it, as it is the case in Champagne where it is present on a third of the vines, in particular perfect on the Côte des Blancs. Chardonnay is therefore found in the bottles of all our occasions, becoming the most sold wine in the world. At its best in a cool climate and on chalky or chalky soils, Chardonnay also shows an astonishing ability to adapt to all climates.Chardonnay has an amazing ability to adapt to all climates, a fact that has not escaped the attention of producers around the world and has led to the success of the chardo glass.

To each his own chardonnay

"I love Chardonnay! Oh no, not Chablis! ». To this equally common phrase, we would like to answer that "But come on, it's the same! ». False. Chardonnay has the capacity to adapt everywhere, while revealing at best the particular expression of the terroir in which it is produced. From one region to another, from one appellation to another, from one bottle to another, Chardonnays are all different. Chardonnay is used to make still, sparkling or even sweet wines and can be found throughout France: in Alsace, in the Loire Valleyin the Jura (where it occupies half of the vineyard), in Savoie, in Beaujolais. So many terroirs for a multitude of expressions, its third French land has no relation with Burgundy or Champagne since it is located in the Languedoc Roussillon vineyards. Yes, France may authorize more than 200 grape varieties, but Chardonnay alone represents 6% of the country's vineyards! Chardonnay is therefore an impressive plurality of aromas. Chardonnay pure and quiet for its freshness perfection when young, chardonnay de garde for a fatness and incomparable brioche aromas, chardonnay blended for traditional champagnes throughout the year, chardonnay spent in the cellar for a long time.chardonnay for traditional champagnes throughout the year, chardonnay in the barrel for toasted aromas, sparkling chardonnay, sweet chardonnay, chardonnay for the table, chardonnay for A.O.P. CHARDONNAY, IGP chardonnay, Vin de France chardonnay, new world chardonnay. It can be drunk throughout the meal, from the aperitif to the dessert, including fish, white meat, Asian dishes, and so on. To each his own chardonnay, it is enough to choose it well.

An overwhelming success

Our grape variety is found in 300 million bottles of champagne produced per year, where the price of the grape is the most expensive in the world and continues to increase year after year. A grape variety that attracts producers from all over the world, since it is now planted everywhere: in Europe, its birthplace, in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, and especially in the United States, where it is grown on 35,000 hectares out of 150,000 hectares worldwide. And, as with any fruit, its taste varies from one place to another, to the delight of tasters. Unfortunately, this ever-increasing success is bound to please some producers who are greedy for very high yields at low quality, because Chardonnay today unfortunately only needs its name to sell itself.

Chardonnay is therefore not the monopoly of one perfect winemaker in particular, but of thousands! The "glass of chardo" ordered in this way can be as disappointing as it is delicious. This grape variety may have proven itself for a long time, but its richness, history, enthusiasts and so many other aspects deserve that we never stop tasting it, rediscovering it, exploring all its variations, in order to enrich it and always appreciate it.

Mélany Bachmann (wine merchant) for Les Grappes

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Chardonnay from Vignerons Récoltants

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