When looking at a particular bottle of Burgundy wine, red or white, always consider the label and the names used, as this will tell you more about where the wine has come from, some of the flavours you can expect, and its level of quality.
It is within the area’s famously cooler climate areas, particularly Chablis, where the best examples of lean, crisp, dry, light to medium bodied, and moderately acidic chardonnay originate.
That being said, it is possible to find richer and sometimes oaked styles of chardonnay being produced in some of the area’s other, slightly warmer, subregions, including Côte de Beaune, making Burgundy quite diverse in its offerings.
Those wines labelled with Grand Cru use grapes coming from only the best and most select vineyards in the area, Premier Cru represents one step down from Grand Cru, though they are almost the same, Village Wines utilise grapes coming from one of the particular villages of the region, and finally, Regional Wines use a blend of grapes coming from right throughout the area, typically seen as the entry level for Burgundy wines.
Whether you’re seeking a dry, lean, and crisp style of French chardonnay or a richer, and more fruitier version, Burgundy offers you almost everything you could need, making it perhaps the best place to begin your chardonnay journey.
To explore more into this incredibly famous wine-producing region, visit this website here, which details more about the history and wineries of this area.
Chardonnay in America
Though chardonnay grapes were first planted in vineyards on the west coast of America during the early 20th century, it wasn’t until the latter half of that century that the varietal really took off.
During the “Judgement of Paris” wine awards in 1976, a bottle of 1973 French chardonnay won against a swathe of other local and international wines in a blind tasting competition, sky-rocketing the grape varietals popularity almost overnight.
For more on this story and the history of the grape in America, consider this article here.
Following this, American winemakers, particularly those in California, began cultivating chardonnay grapes in greater amounts, with many simultaneously importing large quantities of French oak barrels to age their products prior to bottling.
Today, winemakers in two of the most important wine-producing regions of America, the Sonoma County and the Napa Valley, both produce oaked and unoaked styles of chardonnay, making it possible to find an American chardonnay to suit your taste buds.
The Sonoma County and Napa Valley wine-producing regions, both located on the west coast of America in the state of California, produce the most popular and widely exported examples of American chardonnay found today.
When considering these two regions, which are located side-by-side just above the city of San Francisco, it is important to remember that Sonoma County, which borders the Pacific Ocean to the West, is known for possessing a moderate climate, courtesy of the cooling seaside influence.
The Napa Valley region, however, is considered more of a warmer climate region as it is situated further inland and benefits less from the maritime influence, which is particularly the case in the northernmost areas of the region.
The climates of these two regions are important as it helps us in determining the styles of chardonnay typically produced by winemakers from these two neighbouring but distinct wine-making areas.