Chardonnay can grow just about anywhere. It adapts well to different soils and different climates. While frequently known as the primary grape of California, its native home lies in the vineyards of Burgundy, France. The only major white grape of the region, Chardonnay is at its best on the rolling slopes in Bourgogne. Other popular Chardonnay sites include California (just about everywhere), Oregon, Washington, as well as several other U.S. states. You can also find Chardonnay grapes in Australia, South Africa, South America and New Zealand.
While Chardonnay varies greatly depending on climate, soil and winemaking, it adapts just about anywhere, which is what makes it so popular. In cooler climates like you find in New Zealand and Chablis, you will find crisp, acid-prone wines, while warmer climates like Southern California and Australia will foster riper grapes that create heavier wine with more tropical-leaning fruit flavors. So specific are the soils of Burgundy that the wines of the region show subtle notes of mineral and chalk that belie their origin. Chardonnay adapts itself to oak very well, explaining why its flavor is so often described as “oaky.”
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