Chardonnay grapes have been growing in Burgundy, France for centuries and that is where you will find the best and most costly examples of this noble white wine. From there, it spread to the four corners of the globe, but it is in America where it became the most beloved of white wines.

Chardonnay is an adaptable and versatile grape and will grow in a wide range of climates, and the wine that is produced from it can appear in many guises and prices. So with Chardonnay, you get a wine for all seasons and all tastes. The way the wine is produced can vary from crisp and tangy to fruity and oaky. There is also a difference in the characteristics of Chardonnay produced in cooler climes than that of the wines made in warmer climates. Legend has it that the name Chardonnay comes from the French village of Mâconnais, near Burgundy. Researchers believe that the vineyards were made up of a mixture of Pinot Blanc and Gris, which evolved into a single variety called Pinot Blanc – Chardonnay or ChardonnetIts name became officially Chardonnay in 1896 by the Ampelographic Congress in Chalon-Sur-Saône.

The most frequently encountered (but not exclusive) smell and/or flavor elements found in Chenin Blanc-based wines include:
ChardonnayNose and/or Flavor Elements
Varietal Aromas/Flavors:
Processing Bouquets/Flavors:
Floral: honey, honeysuckle
Fruity: hints of apples, stone fruits, tropical fruits, and a light lemony smell.
Wood: vanilla, sweet wood, oak (not usually)
Aggressive: earthy flavors of the forest floor, mushrooms
Mineral:dried clay
Herbal: freshly-cut hay, thyme, and mint

©Jim LaMar, who is the editor of Professional Friends of Wine, promoting wine appreciation through knowledge.