More than ever, now is a great time to drink Chardonnay. As it's America’s favorite grape, drinkers may think they know this ubiquitous white variety. But a look beyond the label reveals there’s an evolution taking place; from a diverse range of styles, to experiments in winemaking, to new regions making exciting, terroir-driven Chardonnays, there’s so much to discover.
It’s not just the U.S. that’s charmed by Chardonnay; the grape’s different iterations can be seen in some of the world’s most revered - and expensive - wines. In Burgundy alone, the style swings from crisp, mineral-driven Chablis to round and layered Meursault. Sparkling wines, especially Champagne, employ the grape, either as part of a cuvée or a solo star in a Blanc de Blancs. Excitement over Chardonnay is palpable in newer regions like Willamette Valley in Oregon, where close attention to terroir and clones brings a level of success that previously eluded the region. Places like Anderson Valley are emerging as some of the most dynamic winemaking regions in the country due to their success with the variety, and simultaneously expanding the definition of California Chardonnay. Globally, southern hemisphere regions like South Africa, Australia, and Argentina showcase the diversity of their climates with their versions of the grape.
Part of Chardonnay's popularity can also be attributed to its resiliency. It’s faced some backlash over the years, but that’s only spurred winemakers forward in their quest to prove naysayers wrong. Constantly morphing and constantly evolving, Chardonnay refuses to rest on its laurels. As we enter a new revolution for Chardonnay, now is the time to open your mind and open a bottle.