But there is much more to this iconic grape variety than meets the eye. Here are eight things you never knew about Chardonnay grapes.
Eight Facts About Chardonnay Grapes
1. Chardonnay is actually a mutant form of Pinot Noir, descended from the hybridisation of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc grapes. Unlike its parental ancestors, Chardonnay vintages have a crisper, fruitier flavour with notes of pear, apple, and honey that leave a creamy textural finish on the palate.
2. The first known planting of Chardonnay grapes was in the Burgundy region of France in the 16th century. Since then, winemakers across the globe have experimented with the grape. Australian boutique winemakers are particularly known for their Lucille Blanc de Blancs, made from chardonnay grapes grown in NSW.
3. Chardonnay grapes thrive in temperate climates with lots of sunlight, making them well-suited to growing popular Australian winemaking regions. They are usually harvested late season when they reach full ripeness and can be used to make Lucille sparkling wine and still wine.
4. Chardonnay grapes are highly susceptible to powdery mildew, a fungal infection that can affect wine quality and your health if not treated promptly. For this reason, Chardonnay vintages like the Lucille Blanc de Blancs should be purchased from small-batch boutique winemakers using traditional handcrafted methods to ensure quality and safety.
5. Many Chardonnays undergo an oak aging process in order to add greater complexity and structure to the wines. However, when making Lucille sparkling wine or other similar varieties, bottle fermentation is the preferred method for creating a unique and deliciously dry sparkling that is sure to delight.
6. Chardonnay wines pair best with foods like seafood, poultry, and cream-based sauces. However, when it comes to sparkling varieties, celebratory foods such as caviar, smoked salmon, and oysters are the perfect accompaniment.
7. The creaminess that accompanies some vintages made with chardonnay grapes is a result of acids breaking down yeast cells to extract mannoproteins. This process, called malolactic fermentation, enhances the weight and texture on the palate for a truly complex and luxurious experience.
8. When sparkling wine from chardonnay grapes is made using the traditional méthode champenoise, it is called Méthode traditionnelle. This process involves a second fermentation in the bottle and requires additional aging time before it can be sold.
Chardonnay Grapes - The World's Most Celebrated White Wine
Chardonnay is an amazing white wine grape variety that offers plenty of complexity and flavour to any bottle it's used in. Whether you select a crisp and light or buttery and full-bodied, there's no denying the sheer delight this popular grape variety adds to every glass. So, next time you're in the market for a deliciously creamy white wine with plenty of fruity flavours, don't forget to reach for Chardonnay!