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At a glance

Country of Origin: France
Region of Origin: Burgundy
Typical Product: White
Structure: Medium
Climate: Cool to Warm
Soil Type: Chalk, Clay, Limestone
Serving Temp: 53 - 58F
Ageability: 3 to 5
Sauces to Pair:
Meals to Pair:
Other Names*:


Chardonnay is one of the most widely planted Varietals in the world due primarily to its ease of cultivation and relatively neutral flavor, making it extremely flexible for the wine maker.   For most of its life, Chardonnay was called Pinot Chardonnay due to a long held assumption that it was a mutation of Pinot Blanc, itself a earlier mutation of Pinot Noir.  UC Davis has concluded that part of the story is true in that Pinot Blanc is a 'cousin' of Chardonnay but Chardonnay actually comes from a crossing of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc.  In its native Burgundy region of France, Chardonnay is far and away the most prevalent white Varietal and is the main component in White Burgundy blends.  Chardonnay is also one of the three main Varietals for producing Champagne (along with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier).  Earliest references to Chardonnay date from the late 13th century.

Chardonnay spread to California in the mid 1800's but by the end of prohibition, there were only two known vineyards left according to UC Davis.  Its explosion can be directly attributed to the 1976 Paris wine tasting.  Prior to that, it was experiencing the normal growth associated with French wines at the time.  After the 1976, plantings of Chardonnay skyrocketed with new and existing Wineries eager to capitalize on the press provided by the surprisingly strong American showing.  By 2000, Chardonnay had become California's most widely planted Varietal.

In recent years, Chardonnay has undergone a number of mini 'revolutions' and is possibly the most widely stylized Varietal currently produced in California.  Winemakers adhering to the classic Burgundian style still use French Oak to impart a smooth flavor.  More recent trend include keeping Chardonnay exclusively in Stainless steel to impart a crisper flavor.  An even more recent trend is taking Chardonnay back to its roots by eliminating some or all Malolactic fermentation.  US Chardonnays usually have different aging characteristics than their French counterparts.  While the best French Chardonnays can improve over ten years, most new world version begin to tire after five years.

Chardonnay vines bear fruit earlier than most other vines, which gives it a long growing season in warmer climates.  Cooler climates can be more sensitive to frost damage early in the season.  When mature, the fruit has a light green to yellow/golden skin.

Chardonnay is one of the most misunderstood Varietals when it comes to serving.  American tastes seem to dictate that all whites need to be served directly out of the refrigerator.   Chardonnay, at least when made in the traditional style is made to be enjoyed at just below cellar temperature.  When served below 48 degrees (F), the complexity in its flavors is lost and it comes across as very monotone often described as sharp.  When served slightly warmer it provides a complex mouth feel with a strong finish that is much more rare among white Varietals.  When it comes to temperature, Chardonnay (at least the Chardonnay made with oak in a classic style) has more in common with a lighter red like Pinot Noir than other popular whites like Pinot Grigio.

* used in California

Show Me Wineries That Are Selling This Wine With Expanded Listings On

(Please click on the Winery name for more information)

Name Vintage Year Price Tasting Comments
Burrell School
2015  $36.00  Estate "Teacher's Pet" 
Byington Winery
2008  $26.00  Redwood Hill 
Byington Winery
2009  $32.00  Bald Mountain 
Byington Winery
2009  $25.00  Quenneville Vineyard 
Byron Estate
2008  $27.00   
Byron Estate
2009  $32.00  Nielson Vineyard 
Byron Estate
2009  $16.00   
Silver Mountain
2010  $28.00   
Wood Family
2010  $22.00  Para Mas Amigas 
Leal Vineyards
2010  $26.00  Estate 
2009  $25.00  Private Reserve 
Eberle Winery
2010  $20.00  Estate 
  $13.95  Grand Cuvee Sparkling Wine 
Deaver Vineyards
2010  $19.00  With an Attitude 
Cru Winery
2010  $30.00   
Callaway Vineyard
2008  $28.00  Sparkling Wine, Winemakers Reserve 
Callaway Vineyard
2009  $18.00  Special Selection 
Callaway Vineyard
2009  $28.00  Winemaker's Reserve 
Callaway Vineyard
2010  $28.00  Late Harvest Winemaker's Reserve 
2010  $45.00   
Paraiso Vinyards
2009  $18.00   
Paraiso Vinyards
2009  $35.00  Eagles Perch 
Cru Winery
2011  $23.00  UNOAKED 
Dunning Vineyards
2009  $24.00  Estate 
Bodegas Aguirre Winery & Vineyards
Bent Creek Winery
2010  $19.00   
Eckert Estate Winery
2011  $16.00   
Peachy Canyon Winery
2011  $25.00   
Sarah's Vineyard
2010  $30.00  Estate 
Sarah's Vineyard
2010  $27.00   
Sarah's Vineyard
2009  $20.00   
2010  $19.00  Rainbow Body 
2009  $30.00  Estate 
Cru Winery
2011  $25.00  Vinyard Montage 
Cru Winery
2010  $30.00   
Cru Winery
2010  $30.00   
Lorimar Vinyards
2011  $36.00   
Willamette Valley Vineyards
2010  $35.00  Estate 
Willamette Valley Vineyards
2010  $25.00  Dijon Clone 
Idle Hour Winery
2016  $22.00   
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