Chardonnay is dazzlingly flexible, thriving on the vine as successfully in Australia’s humid Hunter Valley as in France’s cool Chablis in the Burgundy region. Many associate the green-skinned grape with rich, oaky California whites, but cool climate Chardonnays tend to be zippy and lean. If you think you don’t like Chard, in other words, keep sipping.
In Champagne, Chardonnay is full of white flower and citrus aromas. And Blanc de Blancs—Champagnes made with 100% Chardonnay grapes—develop aromas of fresh baked bread, butter, and roasted nuts as they age. While 100% Chardonnay wines tend to have a lemon-lime citrus, introducing Pinot Meunier grants a note of orange, and sometimes an orange color as well. Pinot Noir, meanwhile, lends richness and lovely red-berry aromas.
Some of the finest Chardonnay in the world hails from Côte des Blancs, the sloping Champagne region directly south of Épernay. Creamy and complex, the Chardonnay grapes grown here have unequaled finesse. Côte des Blancs selections distinguish themselves by their chalky minerality, a result of the region’s equally chalky soil. Meanwhile the premier cru vineyards of Trépail, in the slope of the Montagne de Reims, are renowned for Chardonnay that reflects the mineral-rich soil. Generally wines from Montagne de Reims, Champagne’s warmest and sunniest region, stand out for candied citrus notes and more ripe flavors. Think: less chalk, more fruit.
- Petite le Brun Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs - Côte des Blancs
- Pascal Redon Diaphane - Montagne de Reims
- Hervieux Dumez Blancs de Blancs - Montagne de Reims
We hope you enjoy exploring the many expressions of Chardonnay!