Chardonnay’s exhilarating rise in popularity in recent years has seen it become a global brand in its own right. Chardonnay is an extraordinary white wine grape, a globe-trotting chameleon capable of yielding delicious still and sparkling wines from vineyards the world over. It is as successful as an inexpensive, fruity Australian ‘Chardy’ as it is a luxury Champagne or fine-boned Chablis. Yet its spiritual home is undoubtedly Burgundy in France, where perhaps it reaches its apogee in the celebrated wines of Corton-Charlemagne or Puligny-Montrachet, whose finesse is the benchmark for aspirational Chardonnay producers everywhere. Chardonnay’s naturally subtle aromatic profile and balanced structure make it an exceptional vehicle for flavours and textures relating to origin (climate, soils) and winemaking techniques (use of oak, lees-ageing).
Photo: Chardonnay grape from Domaine Leflaive, Puligny-Montrachet