Chardonnay, the white queen

Chardonnay: The White Queen

There are many white grape varieties that could opt for this honorary title, but, in my opinion, Chardonnay is the one that deserves this symbolic distinction. There is no doubt that preference is a matter of personal taste, but I add a series of variables to my arguments, which do not stop exclusively at the pleasure it gives me organoleptically, to tip the balance in its favour.

On the aromatic and flavour level, of course, Chardonnay offers a wide range of noble nuances. At the same time, it is a variety that produces excellent still and sparkling wines, for let us not forget that, in addition to producing great still white wines, it is also the white grape par excellence of the glamorous champagne.

In addition to its versatility, Chardonnay has a great adaptation to express itself with quality in many countries and wine regions. In France, it dominates in Burgundy, especially in Chablis and the Côte de Beaune, but it is also very important in the Jura. Across the pond, we cannot leave aside the chardonnays of New Zealand, which, when worked by good producers, offer results that can almost be confused with Burgundy. Something very similar happens in California, more technological, but many of them outstanding. These are the most common and well-known areas, but not the only ones. Its good adaptation to most soils and climates, makes it relatively easy to find interesting Chardonnay wines in most parts of the world, such as Chile, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Italy and, of course, Spain. This list is, of course, not exhaustive.

A curious fact is that, according to its genetic study, chardonnay is the result of a spontaneous cross between the queen of red varieties, pinot noir, and a much-maligned white variety such as gouais blanc. Varieties which, in any case, are based in Burgundy.

I am sure that after this brief reading some people will think that all this introduction about chardonnay and its great adaptation is all very well, but, given the choice, I would like to ask myself about my ideal area for drinking chardonnay. This is the typical difficult question to answer because there are exceptional wines outside Burgundy and mediocre ones inside Burgundy. If we speak in very general terms, my answer is Burgundy, without any doubt, even, if I am a bit more precise, Mersault, Puligny Montrachet and Chassagne Montrachet, but let’s not forget that the producers also play a fundamental role. However, my opinion matters little, the really important one is the reader’s, so my recommendation is to open bottles and taste multiple chardonnays. It is the best way to clear up any doubts.

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