Chardonnay

History

A white grape variety that is very widely grown in France, where it represents the principal ñ if not sole ñ component in some of the worldís most highly-regarded wines, such as Champagne, Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Meursault, Montrachet, and Pouilly-FuissÈ. From France it spread to California, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. In Italy it is particularly popular in areas that have a well-established tradition for producing sparkling wines, like Trentino, Alto Adige and Franciacorta. There are four D.O.C.s in Italy for Chardonnay (Chardonnay Alto Adige, Chardonnay Grave del Friuli, Chardonnay Lison-Pramaggiore and Chardonnay Trentino), but plantings of this variety are becoming more common in every Region and are producing very fine wines indeed. These are appreciated and esteemed around the world but, as far as the regulations are concerned, they are merely classified as humble ìvini da tavola” (ìtable winesî).

Characteristics of the grape variety

Its leaf is of medium size and dark green in colour. It is roundish in shape, with barely perceptible sinuses. The bunch is medium-sized and like a truncated cone in shape, with an evident side cluster. It is compact, often with a very slight presence of small but sweet berries.The grapes themselves are golden yellow and of medium size. Their skins are moderately thick, and their flesh is sweet and juicy, with an uncomplicated flavour and a more or less evident aroma.