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Chardonnay the queen of white wines

Chardonnay is the most popular white wine in the world. It is a white grape originally from Burgundy region in France and can be found in vineyards all over the world.

Some of the most expensive dry white wines, such as Le Montrachet, are made from this noble grape variety as well as many everyday drinking wines.

No two places that make Chardonnay produce the same style of wine. It is easy to grow and has the ability to reflect the ‘terroir’ of the area where it is grown.

For example, Chardonnay grown in warm climates, parts of Australia and California, produce full bodied wines with tropical fruit flavours.  While Chardonnay from a cool climate, such as Burgundy, has more subtle flavours of green apples, citrus and minerals.

The question when it comes to styles of Chardonnay is whether you prefer oaked or unoaked wine.

There are very elegant unoaked Chardonnays.  Chablis in Burgundy, is one of the classic white wines of the world, delicate nose of citrus, green apples and floral aromas with a fresh lively, acidity making it the ideal partner to seafood and given creamy sauces.

You can also find Chablis that have spent time in oak barrels.  The Chablis Village Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru appellations can be partially aged in oak, developing sophisticated and subtle floral, nuts, and honey aromas. These wines have the capacity to age for many years developing more complex mature flavours over time.

Chardonnay aged or fermented in new oak barrels tends to have a buttery, vanilla and oak flavours. These wines are more full bodied and richer.  This style of wine is more typical from California and Australia, such as the Fowles ‘Are you Game’.

Nowadays you are likely to find very lightly oaked so that the citrus and green fruit flavours not overwhelmed by the buttery, vanilla from the barrels.  This style of wine is popular in New World countries like New Zealand, cooler regions of Australia and Chile, where you can find Luis Felipe Edwards Chardonnay Reserva.

Chardonnay is one of the three grapes blended together make Champagne, along with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.  On its own it is called Blanc de Blancs.  In Requena, Spain, Chardonnay is used to make premium quality Cava adding complexity and fruit flavours to the blend.

Chardonnay is a great food wine.  With so many styles of wine it can accompany a diverse range of dishes.  Depending on the style of wine you can match it From seafood, fish, white meats, dishes with creamy sauces and cheeses.

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I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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