Vin de France & Grape Varieties

LIST OF GRAPE VARIETIES
OTHER DISCOVERIES

Encyclopedia of French Grape Varieties

CHARDONNAY
{ White Wine }

White

Origin
This great variety loved all over the world originally comes from the area near Dijon in eastern France; based on studies and genetic analysis, it results from crossbreeding the Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc varieties.

Aromas
Chardonnay's aromas also vary with the area of production. Generally more floral and mineral in the North and fruitier in the South, this grape variety has a gift for expressing the terroir it was grown in. Its aromas are unique, complex, intense and incredibly diverse, ranging from dried fruits, hazelnut, roasted almond and exotic fruits to butter, fern, lime blossom, pear, popcorn, oak, acacia, walnut, biscuit and more.

Wines produced
Chardonnay has the potential for very high quality and is used to make dry white wines, sparkling wines and even some sweet wines. The sugar content of the berries can be very high while maintaining a high level of acidity. This allows the variety to make particularly well-balanced, powerful, ample wines (with a lot of fatness and volume). Depending on soil and climate, Chardonnay expresses different qualities: it is livelier and more acidic in the North, and smoother and more full-bodied in the South.

Areas planted
This extremely versatile variety – that can adapt to many different climates and terroirs – does very well in cool regions, which give it a highly sought after balance between liveliness, smoothness and aromatic strength. In France, it is found in places as diverse as the banks of the Loire, the north of Lyon, the small mountain range just north of the Alps, the banks of the Rhine and the southwestern Mediterranean coast. It is constantly developing, as production in France has risen five-fold in 50 years, reaching more than 40,000 hectares in 2006.

Budding and ripening
Chardonnay is a relatively early budding variety, which is susceptible to springtime frosts in cold continental terroirs. It also ripens early, finishing a week and a half after Chasselas, the benchmark. Chardonnay is thus a Period I variety.

Vigor
Moderately fertile, predominantly calcareous or marl-rich soils with loose calcareous sediments best suit Chardonnay. In Mediterranean areas, soils with good capacity to retain water should be chosen, in order to avoid extreme drought, which would prove harmful. In thin soils with high limestone content, Chardonnay has a more austere, sometimes more metallic personality. In deeper soils, however, it radiates a richer, more full-bodied and pleasing character.

Preferred soils
Moderately fertile, predominantly calcareous or marl-rich soils with loose calcareous sediments best suit Chardonnay. In Mediterranean areas, soils with good capacity to retain water should be chosen, in order to avoid extreme drought, which would prove harmful. In thin soils with high limestone content, Chardonnay has a more austere, sometimes more metallic personality. In deeper soils, however, it radiates a richer, more full-bodied and pleasing character.

Ideal Climate
This grape variety can adapt to very diverse climates. It offers an unparalleled range of flavors that depend on the climatic and soil conditions of the terroirs it was planted in. It does, however, prefer cool climates, which enable wines that have a good balance between body and liveliness. In warmer climates (such as the Mediterranean region), the wines are more sensual and fuller bodied, with a different range of flavors that is fruitier and less mineral.

Susceptibility to disease and pests
Chardonnay B is susceptible to oidium and to yellowing of its leaves due to phytoplasma. It is less susceptible to mildew, however. At the end of the ripening period, when the plant is extremely vigorous, it can be susceptible to heavy damage due to gray mold.

Uses
Chardonnay is used only to produce wine.

Distinctive features
Chardonnay can be recognized by its young leaves, which are green with bronze patches, as well as its herbaceous shoots with red internodes. The tips of its young shoots have a thin to moderate coat of flat-lying hairs. The adult leaves are orbicular, whole or with 5 barely distinguishable lobes. The petiolar sinus is slightly open and its base is often bordered by the vein near the petiolar point. The teeth of the lobes are often short in relation to their width, and their sides are rectilinear. The leaf blade is slightly bubbled and its underside has a sparse coat of upright hairs. The berries are relatively small and rounded.

Clones marketed
The twenty-eight approved Chardonnay clones (specifically named Chardonnay B) are numbers 75, 76, 77, 78, 95, 96, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 122, 124, 125, 128, 130, 131, 132, 277, 352, 414, 415, 548, 549, 809, 1066, 1067 and 1068. A conservatory of more than 340 clones was planted in Saône-et-Loire in 1994.

Alcohol abuse is dangerous to your health
If you are 18 or older, we invite you to visit our website
I am over 21 I am under 21

Alcohol abuse is dangerous to your health