Lo chardonnay is the second most cultivated white grape variety in the world, the first if only wine grape varieties are considered. Chardonnay seems to have Middle Eastern origins, but it certainly conquered the world from its homeland, the Burgundyin France.

Synonyms and clones

  • Synonyms(Italy, Trentino) pinot giallo. France (synonyms correspond to local designations: Burgundy, Côte d'or, Marnechardenet, chaudenet, chaudenay, pinot blanc à Cramant, pinot blanc chardonnay; Champagne: épinette blanc; Indre-et-Loire: màconnais; Lorraine: aubain, auvernat blanc, auxois blanc; Jura: petit chatey; Morelotnoirien blanc, chardonay; Yonne: plant de Tonnerre; Savoie: petite Sainte Marie; Touraine: arnaison blanc). Germany: weiss klewner, weiss elder, weiss silber, weiss burgunder, später weiss burgunter.

Chardonnay: characteristics

... of the plant

  • Appearanceleaf Medium-sized, short to medium length, entire or trilobed. The upper page is medium green while the lower page is light green, both are glabrous. Petiole fairly short and medium-large. Petiole medium.
  • MaturationFirst and second ten days of September. Bunch medium, pyramidal, winged and compact. Grape medium and obovoid. Peel medium thick, very pruinose and deep blue in colour. Pulp juicy with a neutral flavour.
  • Productivityregular and abundant.
  • Vigourhigh, it adapts very well to different cultivation techniques.
  • Resistance to adversityResists downy mildew well, but less well botrytis and powdery mildew. Particularly sensitive to rot. Suffers from spring frost and very wet areas (coulure, flavescence dorée).
Chardonnay vine leaf

... of wine produced

  • Visual examinationmore or less pale straw yellow.
  • Olfactory examinationdelicate, with notes of vanilla, exotic and more or less ripe yellow-fleshed fruit, banana and white flowers. In some areas it may have citrus scents of lemon or mandarin peel, even candied.
  • Taste-olfactory examinationharmonious, slightly bitterish, fresh and with a more or less pronounced structure depending on vinification and ageing techniques. Soft and with an elegant persistence.

Cultivation zones

  • Italy(suitable and recommended areas) Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Apulia, Sardinia, Trentino, Veneto; zones suitable: all of Italy except Liguria and Campania.
  • World(in order of quantity): France (Burgundy: Chablis AOC; Champagne; Loire Valley; Languedoc-Roussilion: Limoux AOC); United States (California: Santa Barbara AVA); Australia (Adelaide Hills; Margaret River; Yarra Valley); Italy; Chile (Casablanca Valley, Limari Valley); South Africa (Franschhoek; Elgin; Stellenbosch). Spain (Catalonia); Argentina (Mendoza; Patagonia).

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Chardonnay: Italian DOCG and DOC wines where it is allowed

  • DOCGAlta Langa, Colli di Conegliano, Franciacorta, Oltrepo' Pavese Metodo Classico, Rosazzo.
  • DOC: Abruzzo, Alcamo, Alghero, Alto Adige, Aprilia, Arcole, Bagnoli di Sopra or Bagnoli, Bianco di Custoza or Custoza, Bianco di Pitigliano, Breganze, Brindisi, Carso or Carso-Kras, Castel del Monte, Circeo, Colli Altotiberini, Colli Berici, Colli Bolognesi, Colli d'Imola, Colli del Trasimeno or Trasimeno, Colli di Faenza, Colli di Parma, Colli di Scandiano e di Canossa, Colli Euganei, Colli Maceratesi, Colli Martani, Colli Perugini, Colli Pesaresi, Colli Piacentini, Colli Romagna Centrale, Colli Tortonesi, Colli Joniche Tarantine, Coline Lucchesi, Collio Goriziano or Collio, Contessa Entellina, Controguerra, Corti Benedettine del Padovano, Cortona, Curtefranca, Delia Nivolelli, Erice, Friuli Aquileia, Friuli Annia, Friuli Colli Orientali, Friuli Grave, Friuli Isonzo, Friuli Latisana, Galatina, Gambellara, Garda, Garda Colli Mantovani, Lago di Corbara, Langhe, Leverano, Lison-Pramaggiore, Lizzano, Maremma Toscana, Menfi, Merlara, Molise, Monreale, Montello Colli Asolani, Montescudaio, Monti Lessini, Oltrepo' Pavese, Parrina, Piave, Piedmont, Pomino, Riesi, Riviera del Brenta, Salaparuta, Salice Salentino, Sambuca di Sicilia, San Colombano al Lambro, San Torpè, Sant'Antimo, Savuto, Scavigna, Sciacca, Sicily, Soave, Squinzano, Terra d'Otranto, Terre del Colleoni or Colleoni, Terre di Casole, Terre di Cosenza.
Bunch of chardonnay grapes

Conclusion

The ability of chardonnay to adapt to the most diverse soil and climatic conditions while producing wines that maintain its characteristics while interpreting the terroirs from which the grapes come, has granted it a place of honour among the international grape varieties. With more than 210,000 hectares of vineyards in practically every part of the world where it is possible to cultivate vines, it is a grape variety of extraordinary importance and great ductility. With it, in fact, it is possible to produce ready-to-drink wines as well as wines suitable for long ageing in wood and bottle, classic method sparkling wines and excellent dessert wines.

Sources:

© Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies, National Catalogue of Vine Varieties.

© Bassi C., Sommelier: the illustrated manual, Cammeo DiVino, Monte Isola, 2022, pp. 142 -143

© Azienda Agricola La Badiola (cover photo)

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