International Chardonnay Day 2022: 23 facts about Chardonnay

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Today, and every last Thursday in May, is International Chardonnay Day. To celebrate, we share 23 facts about Chardonnay with you as well as some recommendations from French wine importers in Australia.

International Chardonay Day 2022

  1. The origins of Chardonnay have been confirmed via DNA research undertaken by the University of California. They found that Chardonnay was likely to be a cross between Pinot noir and Gouais blanc grapes.

  2. Gouais blanc is thought to have been introduced to France by Romans who brought it from Croatia and because it was grown in close proximity to the pinot noir that was already been grown, the two varietals were able to interbreed thus producing chardonnay.

  3. The name chardonnay comes from the town of Chardonnay, Saône-et-Loire, in Eastern France. That in turn comes from the Late Latin Cardonnacum, which comes from Latin carduus meaning wild thistle.

  4. Mistaken for Pinot Blanc  Ampelographical similarities meant that Pinot blanc and Chardonnay were often mistaken for each other and still share many of the same synonyms. However, while the grape vines, leaves, and clusters look identical at first glance, some subtle differences can be seen.
  5. Chardonnay wines vary wildly in style depending on where the grapes are grown and on the choices of the winemaker. Usually though, chardonnay is a dry, medium- to full-bodied wine with moderate levels of acidity and alcohol. Flavours associated with chardonnay include everything from apple and lemon to papaya and pineapple, and when aged with oak, it can even have vanilla notes.

  6. Climate and harvest date also affect the flavours of the wine. Chardonnays from cooler climates or harvested early have more citrus notes. In contrast, chardonnays from warmer climates or harvested later have more sugar and lose some acidity. Its flavuors develop into riper, richer fruits.

  7. Parenthood – chardonnay has been crossed with other grapes a few times to produce new varietals.  In the United States, a grape called Seyval was crossed with Chardonnay to produce Chardonnel (also known as Geneva White). In Switzerland, it was crossed with Chasselas to produce Charmont and Doral. In Germany, chardonnay grapes were crossed with Müller Thurgau to produce Faberrebe. It was crossed with a grape named Baroque to produce Lillorila, and with Raffiat de Moncade to produce Perdea, in France.

  8. Chardonnay is France’s second most grown grape, just behind ugni blanc. 60% of all Chardonnay plantings in France are in Champagne, Chablis, and Burgundy.
  9. After Champagne, Chablis and Burgundy, the next-largest concentration of chardonnay plantings is found in the Languedoc, particularly around Limoux. By 2000, more than 9,000 hectares (22,000 acres) were planted. The sparkling Blanquette de Limoux sees up to 30% chardonnay blended with Mauzac. Chardonnay production is celebrated in Limoux, and has been since 1991, with the annual Toques and Clochers festival.

  10. Burgundy and Chablis were the first regions in which chardonnay was grown.
  11. Chardonnay is one of 3 major grapes grown in the Champagne region. In Côte des Blancs in the Champagne region, chardonnay is the main planting.

  12. Chardonnay is the only grape that goes into the blanc de blancs style of champagne.

  13. Chardonnay was first grown in Chablis in the 12th century! Chardonnay is the only permitted AOC grape variety in the region. So if you’re drinking chablis, it’s most likely chardonnay.

  14. Chardonnay Rosé is a rare mutation of chardonnay and has pink-berried grapes. It’s also known as Chardonnay Blanc Musqué. It’s mostly found in the village of Clessé in Mâcon.

  15. White burgundy is the unicorn of wines! The Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru is perhaps the most expensive of the white burgundies – selling for $17,999 at one wine store in Australia.journée internationale du chardonnay

  16. 8 Grand Cru vineyards in Burgundy grow chardonnay:
    Montrachet,
    Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet,
    Bâtard-Montrachet,
    Chevalier-Montrachet,
    Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet,
    Charlemagne,
    Corton-Charlemagne, and
    Le Musigny.

  17. Chardonnay around the world
    Due to the ease of growing chardonnay, it is found in most wine making regions around the world.

  18. Outside of France, the United States is the second highest Chardonnay growing country. It is found most notably in California, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. It is also found in wines from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vermont.
  19. Chardonnay can be found in Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, England, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Australia, Switzerland and Ukraine. 
  20. It is the second most grown white wine grape worldwide after the Spanish Airén. Chardonnay is the 5th most grown of all wine grapes around the world.
  21. Australia is the 3rd largest grower of chardonnay grapes (after France and the USA). In 2020, there were 21,442ha of chardonnay grown. In Australia, chardonnay is the most planted white wine grape and the second most planted wine grape overall – after Shiraz.   
  22. Serving tip: don’t serve chardonnay too cold – lightly chilled is the best way to serve it.
  23. Get social! Share your International Chardonnay Day 2022  drinking with #chardonnayday and #internationalchardonnayday.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL CHARDONNAY DAY 2022

 

Clos Cachet

Ashleigh Huggins from Close Cachet recommends Rougeot-Dupin – Bourgogne Chardonnay 2020 for International Chardonnay Day 2022.

 

International Chardonnay Day 2022 - Clos CachetWhy?

This bottle of Chardonnay takes you back to the roots of the Chardonnay grape, the wine region of Burgundy. Year after year some of the finest white wines are crafted within the area and reflect the high tier in which chardonnay can reach. The Rougeot family has crafted chardonnays for several generations within Meursault through Domaine Rougeot, and with their negoce label, Rougeot-Dupin, they decided to try new methods and new parcels of land to obtain grapes from a range of plots to bring a fresh and vibrant change to the traditional wine. 

The Bourgogne Chardonnay has a subtle nose of white stone fruit, fresh hazelnut, almond and hint of butter.

 

How does this French chardonnay differ from Australian chardonnays?

As a reasonably blank canvas, Chardonnays differ not only by country but by winemaker to winemaker. Yet generally speaking the cooler climates of Burgundy, Chablis and other French regions brings out the orchard style elements and fruits within the varietal and maintain a higher acidity. Whereas the warmer climates of Australia bring out the tropical fruits, with less acidity and less ‘crunch’ to the wines. 

 

What would you pair it with?

It goes well with cured meat such as prosciutto or scallops with creamy sauce. A delicious Seared Scallops with Crispy Pancetta is our favourite dish to accompany a glass.

 

Can this chardonnay be aged?

This bottle in particular is perfect to open when it’s young, in its first one to four years. But if looking for wines to cellar I highly recommend any wines from the Domaine Rougeot range.

 

Single Vineyard Sellers

Kimberly Humphries recommends 2019 Domaine des Terres de Velle Bourgogne Côte d’Or Chardonnay for International Chardonnay Day 2022.

 

Why?

The 2019 Bourgogne Côte d’Or Chardonnay is a rich and refreshing drop. The nose boasts the richness of the fruit and its aromatic intensity of citrus, florals, and butter. Its palate is full-bodied and well-balanced with notes of crisp apple, oak, and vanilla. The long and zesty finish along with the refreshing flavour of this glass will leave you wanting more.  

 

How does this French chardonnay differ from Australian chardonnays?

Domaine des Terres de Velle uses grapes from both Corpeau and Meursault in order to master its fruitiness and fresh flavour. Using the different grapes from the two different soils makes it a unique blend that could only be from the Burgundy region. The chardonnay is matured in French oak barrels following the Burgundian tradition for 12 months and once ready it is bottled without filtration and according to the favourable period of the lunar calendar.

 

What would you pair it with?

This chardonnay pairs perfectly with rich fish, such as salmon or tuna, as well as shellfish. It also goes well as an aperitif with mild and soft cheeses and charcuterie. 

 

Can this chardonnay be aged?

2019 Bourgogne Côte d’Or is ready to drink now, however is also suitable for ageing. 

 

Happy International Chardonnay Day 2022! What’s your favourite style of chardonnay