Chardonnay - France - Burgundy
Chardonnay, a white grape variety, is widely cultivated in France and is second in popularity after Ugni Blanc, but before Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. In Chablis and Burgundy, chardonnay is the most important grape variety.
Chardonnay is often mixed with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in the Champagne region, but it is also used alone to create various types of white sparkling wines. It can be found in wines with controlled designation of origin (AOC) from the Loire Valley and the Jura wine region, as well as in wines from the land of Languedoc.
Chardonnay is an outstanding grape variety in Burgundy and more abundant than Pinot Noir, with a ratio of 3 to 1. It is found in several regions, such as Côte d’Or, Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais, in addition to Chablis. It grows in 8 vineyards considered Grand Crus, namely Montrachet, Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, Charlemagne, Corton-Charlemagne and Le Musigny.
Burgundy chardonnay wines are known for their high prices, and the Burgundy terroir is considered the reference for chardonnay. The Montrachet vineyards produce wines with a high alcohol content, which can exceed 13%, and have a rich and intense flavor. The Chassagne-Montrachet vineyards are renowned for their unmistakable hazelnut scent, while the Puligny-Montrachet vineyards have a characteristic metallic taste.
Corton-Charlemagne wines, whether grand cru or premier cru, are characterized by their marzipan flavor, while Meursault wines tend to be the most buttery.
The Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais wine regions are located south of the Côte d’Or. Chardonnay is the main grape variety cultivated in the Côte Chalonnaise region, and the biggest producers are the villages of Mercurey, Montagny-les-Buxy and Rully. The quality of the chardonnay produced in this region can be compared to that of the Côte de Beaune. The city of Mâcon and the Puilly-Fuissé region are the main white wine production areas in the Mâconnais region.
Pouilly-Fuissé wines are known for their rich flavor and are highly regarded, often priced similar to those of high-end Burgundy white wines. Meanwhile, in the south of the Baujolais region, chardonnay is becoming the dominant white grape, taking over from aligoté in many areas and even replacing gamay in certain parts near Saint-Véran.
Maconnais wines, apart from Pouilly-Fuissé, are very similar to the Burgundy chardonnay wines found in the New World. However, they are not exactly the same. In general, Macom Blanc, Basic Burgundy, Beaujolais Blanc and Saint-Veran wines are usually consumed after two or three years of production.
However, many high-quality white wines from Burgundy and Côte d’Or need a minimum of three years of aging in the bottle to fully show their unique aromas and characteristics. These aged wines can develop flavors such as hazelnut, licorice and spicy notes.