From humble beginnings, this grape variety has captured the imagination of generations. Not always in a good way. So here’s a brief timeline of how Chardonnay took over the world.
It Only Exists Thanks To An Accident
Like so many things in life, the best things happen by accident. Thanks to University of California, Davis research we know that Chardonnay was the result of a cross breed from Pinot Blanc and Gouais Blanc. It’s believed the Romans brought Gouais Blanc from Croatia where it interbred with Pinot Blanc that was already established in France. What we do know, thanks to the aforementioned research is that it can be traced back to the Middle Ages and to the village of Chardonnay in Mâcon.
Muse Of Musicians Around The World
What other grape variety has inspired such a diverse following from musicians around the world. Except maybe Riesling…
The Fashionable Thing
Winemakers in Champagne, Chablis and Burgundy have long trumpeted the quality of Chardonnay for a long time. However it wasn’t until Chardonnay adorned the label of New World wines and wines from Langudeoc that it really took off. Suddenly it was everywhere. Though the kind of wines that exploded in popularity were a world away from what had caused the original surge in popularity. It gave rise to the old “Anything But Chardonnay” crowd which thankfully seems to have gone out of fashion.
Burgundy Still Inspires
It was Alexandre Dumas who said “Montrachet should be sipped on bended knee, with head bared.” Nowadays, the white wines of Burgundy still inspire a similar level of fanaticism around the world. The blog at Winefolly even referred to it as the “Cocaine of Chardonnay.”
You Can’t Make Champagne Without It
The king of sparkling wines is undoubtedly Champagne. And the best Champagne (blanc de blancs) is 100% Chardonnay. Take that, Pinot Meunier.