The cradle of Chardonnay is Burgundy. Everybody knows. There is even a village in the Mâconnais which bears the same name, which could be its historical birthplace. But another story says, that this worldwide revered grape variety originates from the center of the Christian world: Jerusalem! Probably brought to France by the Crusaders, the origin of his name is rather Hebrew than Burgundian. Thus, the French pronunciation of the Hebrew words “Sha’har adonay” or “charree ad’onay”, which mean nothing less than « the gates of God », would have given rise to the name “Chardonnay”.
Today, if we want to enter the gates of God through Chardonnay, we generally look towards Puligny-Montrachet in Burgundy or to the “Grand Cru” villages of the Côte des Blancs in Champagne. The Chardonnay grape seems to be particularly adaptive, knowing how to give nobility to almost all great terroirs of the world. Today you may indeed find good, great or excellent wines made from this grape variety allover the world: From Limoux to the Maipo Valley in Chile, passing through Tasmania, the Cape of Good Hope, the Napa Valley in California and even some promising vineyards in Germany. This amazing variety, made from a cross breeding between Pinot Noir and the white grape Gouais, now covers some 200,000 hectares of vineyard land on this planet.
THE TASTE OF CHARDONNAY
Chardonnay is capable of anything! Able to give simple wines without losing its dignity, it is also a great grape to reveal the character of a terroir. It’s an essential ingredient in some of the greatest wines in the world. Genetically, it has very good acidity, but it is also recognized for the roundness and softness of its taste. In terms of flavor, different tasters often make reference to fresh fruit (banana, black currant, pear), citrus (lemon, orange blossom), spices (vanilla, cinnamon) and floral aromas (acacia, lily or honey), but also to fresh butter.
PS: For another record: Gouais probably has been introduced in Western Europe by the Huns. His cross breeding with Pinot Noir has also given birth to another white Burgundian grape variety: Aligoté.