Chardonnay - Other Countries - Italy
Chardonnay has a long history in Italy, but for much of it the grape was commonly confused with Pinot Blanc, often with varieties planted in the same vineyard and blended together. This happened despite the fact that Chardonnay grapes turn a more golden yellow color near harvest time and can be visually distinguished from Pinot Blanc.
In the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol region, this confusion appeared in the synonyms for each grape with Pinot Blanc being known as weissburgunder (white Burgunder) and chardonnay being known as gelber weissburgunder (white golden Burgundy). But at the end of the 20th century, more intensive efforts were dedicated to identifying chardonnay and making versions of the wine from a purer variety.
In 1984, it was granted Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) in the province of South Tyrol. By the year 2000, it was the fourth most widely planted wine grape in Italy.
Although many varieties of Chardonnay wine are produced, and the number is increasing, for much of Italian viticultural history, chardonnay was a blended grape. In addition to Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay can be mixed with Albana, Catarratto, Cortese, Erbaluce, Favorita, Garganega, Grecanico, Incrocio Manzoni, Nuragus, Procanico, Ribolla Gialla, Verdeca, Vermentino and Viognier.
It is blended into a zinfandel-style dry white wine, which is made with the white juice of the red grape Nebbiolo before it is dyed on contact with the skin. Many of the chardonnay plantations are in the wine-growing regions of the north, although plantations can be found across Italy as far away as Sicily and Ampulia.
In Piedmont and Tuscany, grapes are being planted in places that are less favourable to Dolcetto and Sangiovese respectively. In Lombardy, grapes are often used as sparkling wine and in Veneto they are often mixed with gargagena to give more weight and structure to the wine. Chardonnay is also found in the Aosta Valley, DOC, and in Friili-Venezia Guila.