Chardonnay grape


Chardonnay is a white grape variety originally from Burgundy but now grown all over the world, both for the production of still white wines and, above all for that of classic method sparkling wines. It owes its diffusion both to its ability to adapt well to any terroir, and to the vigor that allows abundant productions.

Listed among the so-called "international vines", precisely for its global diffusion, it is famous for the great still whites of Burgundy but above all for being one of the great vines with which classic method sparkling wines are produced, first of all Champagne.


The origins of the Chardonnay grape, whose name derives from the homonymous village in Mâconnais (southern Burgundy), are as often happens for many vines uncertain. One tradition wants it as a vine of Middle Eastern origin, while another sees it as a native of the Balkan region. In any case, the most certain historical information attest to it since the Middle Ages in Burgundy, where, passing through the care of the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of Pontigny, it reached us and spread almost everywhere in the world.

Characteristics of the Chardonnay grape

In addition to the high level of production, Chardonnay is a grape variety appreciated for its high acidity, a characteristic for which it is used to produce above all classic method sparkling wines. The Chardonnay also has a good alcohol content, which, accompanied by strong acidity, make it suitable for long aging even in barrique, where the already not slender structure is further expanded.

The typical color of Chardonnay is a straw yellow, which gains intensity both with aging and in the more "warm" expressions that are produced in southern Italy. On the nose, delicate notes of tropical yellow fruit stand out, especially pineapple. In the mouth it is elegant and balanced.

Wines from Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the vine with which the greatest still white wines in the world are produced in southern Burgundy, but it owes its fame even more to the production of Champagne, of which it is one of the varieties admitted together with Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier - both red grapes - and other minor grape varieties.

In Italy too, production is widespread from north to south, with productions that also reach excellent levels of quality. In Italy the still whites from Chardonnay are produced mainly in the north, in Tuscany, Umbria and Sicily.

The other great expression of this extraordinary grape is found in classic method sparkling wines. When we say Champagne, we cannot help but think of the great Crus of the Côte des Blancs, where Chardonnay develops its great acidity by enriching itself with mineral notes in a predominantly chalky soil.

But also in Italy great classic method sparkling wines from Chardonnay are not lacking. The most suitable areas are undoubtedly those that fall under the denominations of Franciacorta DOCG, Trento DOC and Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG, where the vine is blended with Pinot nero and Pinot bianco.

Even in Tuscany, however, as in other Italian regions, for some years there have been excellent productions of Chardonnay, both in the still version and in the classic method sparkling wine.

Chardonnay and food pairings

As for the ideal combinations with Chardonnay, it can be said that the marked acidity that distinguishes it makes it perfect to accompany dishes with a good fat component. It is excellent with slightly aged cheeses, shellfish, fatty and tasty fish such as salmon.

This is undoubtedly true for younger and simpler wines, but if you have in your hands a wine that has aged in wood, the greater structure and olfactory and gustatory intensity must be accompanied by more important dishes such as lasagna and risotto with mushrooms and vegetables, meats white and baked fish.