Chardonnay is one of the most famous, most planted, and most drank grapes in the world. Its origin is in Burgundy, where it remains the predominant white grape and produces some of the most celebrated, rare, and often expensive wines in the world. In nearby Champagne, it is a common and crucial component in the famous sparkling wines.
Chardonnay has become a global phenomenon over the last several decades. California Chardonnay has become an essential category in its own right, even rivaling Burgundy is the amount of attention and market share it commands. Practically every country with any land under vine includes some Chardonnay, with notable examples from Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Canada, and over 30 U.S. states.
Chardonnay is usually considered a big grape, though truly its greatest characteristic is its malleability. The contrast between the steely, acidic Chablis Chardonnay in the far north of Burgundy when compared to the frequently oaked Chardonnay of the southern Cote d'Or is a perfect example of the breathtaking variety, quality, and worthiness of Chardonnay.