(5% of total cultivation area)
Together with the Riesling, Chardonnay is considered one of the best and most versatile grape varieties in the world. Named after its` town of Origin, Chardonnay in Departement Saône et Loire in Burgundy. DNA fingerprinting has proven that Chardonnay is a cross between Heunisch ( Gouais Blanc) and Pinot Blanc thus making this a variety a member of the Burgundy family.
With a worldwide cultivation area of approximately 100,000 hectares, Chardonnay far outweighs the Riesling by 40,000 hectares. California is the largest producer with an areal of 39,000 hectares, closely followed by France with roughly 1000 hectares less.
Chardonnay first infiltrated Germany at the beginning of the 90`s, steadily expanding by 60 hectares /year having now reached over 800 hectares in the whole of the country.
Characteristics and requirements:
With the Chardonnay it is not so much the primary fragrances of apple and pear in the foreground but the “terroir” driven minerality and the spicy, buttery, vanilla flavours created during maturity in oak casks.
In comparison to it` s Burgundy relatives, the Chardonnay vine is very versatile and adapts well to most soil and climatic conditions. However, for ideal quality results heat retaining and rich, fertile soils are crucial. A vigorous, hardy and disease resistent variety.
The wine itself:
Chardonnays` greatest asset is it` s exceptional diversity of “wine types” which in turn, depend on wine making methods. It is a variety which can profit from and is certainly suitable for, oak cask maturity.
As do the whole family of Burgundy wines, Chardonnay and it` s subtle bouquet, harmonizes with a wide range of dishes.