Chardonnay [shar-dun-nay]

efinition: A white grape believed to be a variant of the Pinot Blanc grape; also known as Arnoison, Aubaine, Beaunois, Melon Blanc and Melon d' Arbois.

Grown primarily in: Australia, Canada, France, Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne, New Zealand, South Africa and United States

Best Climate: Cool

Winemaking: Usually 100% varietal. In Australia it's sometimes blended with Semillon and labeled Semillon/Chardonnay. Most chardonnays spend time in oak, either barrel fermented and/or aged. Most undergo malolactic fermentation (ML) to soften the acidity of the wine.

Nose: Tropical fruit (pineapple, papaya, mango), apple, pears, citrus, fig, melon, vanilla, butter/butterscotch, oak.

Mouth: Medium to full body, good acidity. Round on the palate when malolactic percentage is high.

Note: Chardonnay is the most popular wine in the United States. It is even preferred more often than White Zinfandel.

Your Guide to the Varietal Grape

Varietal Facts

Select any varietal on the list below to learn the facts!

Barbera Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon Chardonnay
Gamay Gamay Beaujolais
Gerwurztraminer Malbec
Merlot Nebbiolo
Petite Sirah Petite Verdot
Pinot Blanc Pinot Meunier
Pinot Noir Riesling
Sauvignon Blanc Sangiovese
Semillon Syrah
Viognier Zinfandel