Chardonnay is the world’s most famous white-wine grape and also one of the most widely planted. Although the most highly regarded expressions of the variety are those from Burgundy and California, many high-quality examples are made in Italy, Australia, New Zealand and parts of South America.
Describing the flavors of Chardonnay is no easy task.
While many Chardonnay wines have high aromatic complexity, this is usually due to winemaking techniques (particularly the use of oak) rather than the varietys intrinsic qualities. Malolactic fermentation gives distinctive buttery aromas. Fermentation and/or maturation in oak barrels contributes notes of vanilla, smoke and hints of sweet spices such as clove and cinnamon.
Extended lees contact while in barrel imparts biscuity, doughy flavors. Because of this high level of winemaker involvement, Chardonnay has become known as the winemakers wine.
The Chardonnay Grape is perhaps the best-known white wine in the world. Though it is made in many countries, Italy stands out as one of the best Chardonnay producers. When people think of Chardonnay, the first thing that comes to mind is usually California's characteristic oaky taste, which comes from the barrels the wine is aged in, however it isn't how it is made in most country's in the rest of the world. Italian Chardonnay is often fermented solely in stainless steel vats and aged in second or third use barrels which do not give as strong a flavor as California's medium toast new white oak barrels. These often display the significant characteristics and unique flavors of the terroir they have been produced from.