For new and developing wine regions, growing Chardonnay is
seen as a "rite of passage" and an easy entry into the international
wine market.The Chardonnay grape itself is very neutral, with many of the flavors
commonly associated with the grape being derived from such influences
as Terroir or Oak.
It is vinified in many different
styles, from the lean, crisply mineral wines of Chablis, France and
Italy or aged in oak, with tropical fruit flavors. In cool climates
(such as Chablis and the Carneros AVA of California), Chardonnay tends
to be medium to light body with noticeable acidity and flavors of green
plum, apple, and pear.
In warmer locations the flavors become more
citrus, peach, and melon, while in very warm locations more fig and
tropical fruit notes such as banana and mango come out. Wines that have
gone through Malolactic Fermentation tend to have softer acidity and
fruit flavors with buttery mouthfeel and hazelnut notes.
Chardonnay is an important component of many Sparkling Wines around the
world, including Champagne. A peak in popularity in the late 1980s gave
way to a backlash among
those wine connoisseur who saw the grape as a leading negative component
of the globalization of wine. Nonetheless, it remains one of the most
widely planted varietals with over 160,000 hectares (400,000 acres)
worldwide and planted in more wine regions than any other grape.