A Beginner's Guide To Chardonnay
Wine Basics 101

A Beginner's Guide To Chardonnay

by Jasmine Tham on Mar 27, 2023

It's no secret that Chardonnay is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world after Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo and Airen. This is a versatile white grape that can produce dry wines in a wide range of styles.

Read on to find out more about the characteristics of the most popular white wine variety and the differences between the regions.

50 Shades Of Chardonnay

Chardonnay that hasn't been aged in wood is light in colour and typically has a lot of citrus notes. On the other hand, oak ageing gives a Chardonnay a deep gold colour with buttery flavours.

The Relativity of Climate & Acidity

Cooler growing climates produce wines with higher levels of tartaric and malic acid. The acid itself comes from the grape pulp and the level of acidity is at its highest when the grapes just start to ripen.

Find Out Tasting Notes

In cool climates, Chardonnay wines are high in acidity, light- to medium-bodied and have green fruit (apple) and citrus (lemon) aromas. In warm climates, Chardonnay wines have a medium acidity, and a medium to full body, with stone fruit (peach) and tropical fruit (pineapple, banana) flavours. 

Bourgogne Chardonnay

Did you know? Bourgogne is the only wine region in France whose name is translated into different languages: “Burgundy” in English , “Burgund” in German, “Borgogna” in Italian, to name but a few. The white wines of Burgundy, France, are made from the Chardonnay grape. The wines are medium-bodied with high acidity and aromas of citrus (lemon) and stone fruits (peach). The oak barrel ageing process can also impart vanilla flavours.

Chablis: Unoaked Chardonnay From Burgundy

Chablis wines, produced in the coldest area of Burgundy, are known for their high acidity, light body, and green fruit (apple) and citrus flavours (lemon). Most of these wines do not undergo oak ageing.

Australian Chardonnay

Chardonnay is also popular in Australia, where it is the most widely planted white varietal and is second only to Shiraz overall. Australia's Chardonnay crush increased from 1000 tonnes in 1979 to 428,000 tonnes in 2008.

Californian Chardonnay

Not to forget California, where Chardonnay is the most planted white wine grape and is by far the most popular wine in the country. Chardonnay has been the bestselling varietal wine in the United States for the last decade, with sales increasing year after year.