Chardonnay has become the most popular white wine in the world, and Australians love it. We give you everything you need to know about this popular and versatile white wine.
Chardonnay, or ‘chardy’ as its affectionately nicknamed here in Australia, is the world’s most popular white wine and is often referred to as the ‘red wine’ of whites. Made from green-skinned grapes that adapt to a range of climates, Chardonnay is the fifth most planted wine grape variety in the world, with Australia accounting for around ten per cent of global Chardonnay plantings.
Chardonnay is also planted in more wine regions across the world than any other grape, with Australia being the third largest grower after France and the USA. Featuring quite a diverse flavour profile (depending on several key factors including where it is grown and the winemaking process itself), it’s easy to see why Chardonnay remains such an iconic white among wine producers and enthusiasts alike.
At Edenvale, our Chardonnay is one of our most popular varietals. A core member of our Classic Collection, you can shop Edenvale alcohol-removed Chardonnay at major supermarkets such as Woolworths, at bottle shops including Dan Murphy’s, as well as independent retailers across Australia and retailers around the world.
Let’s learn a little more about Chardonnay, its origins and how it came to be considered the ‘queen’ of white grapes.
History of Chardonnay in Australia
First originating in the revered Burgundy wine region of eastern France, its Australian history stems back to James Busby, known as the father of viticulture, who brought the first vine cuttings into the country in the 1830s. However, it wasn’t until the early 1970s that Chardonnay started having an impact on the Australian wine market, with rapid growth in consumption in the ’80s and ’90s helping to cement this varietal as the popular drop we know and love today, accounting for more than half of Australia’s white wine production.
This year marks the golden anniversary of Australian Chardonnay, with the first commercial variety produced and bottled back in 1972. Since then, Australian winemakers have continued to reinvent Chardonnay with new flavours, bold ideas and experimentation allowing for a new wave of global recognition.
In 2020, Chardonnay made up approximately 42 per cent of the crush of white grapes and remains the most planted white wine grape in Australia. It’s ideally suited to the Australian landscape and flourishes in a range of climates – from the warmer Margaret River on the west coast to the humid conditions of the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. Major cool climate regions including the Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills and Tasmania’s Tamar Valley are also exceptional for producing Chardonnay.
Chardonnay is an ancient wine grape, the offspring of the equally famous Pinot Noir, and has one of the most diverse tasting and aromatic profiles of any grape variety. Factors contributing to this include the climate the grapes are grown in, ripeness at harvest and methods of ageing. The ground (terroir) in which Chardonnay is grown also reflects its own character and qualities.
Typically, Chardonnay is a dry, medium to full-bodied white wine with moderate acidity and relatively high alcohol. There are two primary styles – the classic rich, buttery, oak-influenced varietal and the more citrusy, lean and fresh blends. Warmer climate Chardonnay denotes ripe and rounded flavours of peach, fig and melon. While in cool climate wines, lemon, grapefruit and green apple are prominent.
The warm climate region of the Margaret River is known for producing a distinctive style of Chardonnay. Described by local winemakers as having different tastes based on a number of factors including the producer, the grapes’ sub-region and production methods, Margaret River is known for creating “soft, approachable wines” varying from pear and fig in the north to grapefruit and dried pear in the south.
The cooler spring months in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills provides a climate that allows the grapes to mature slowly. Combined with the soil in the region, Chardonnay from this area is made with crisp citrus, lemon and green apple characteristics.
Complex, oaked wines to elegant, restrained styles of Chardonnay are common in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. With a climate not too dissimilar to the famous Bordeaux and Burgundy wine regions of France, the Yarra Valley is known for producing Chardonnay with distinctive fig and white peach flavour profiles.
Chardonnay is also one of three base grapes used to produce champagne, along with red varietals Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Food pairings with Chardonnay
One of the reasons Chardonnay is so universally loved by wine consumers is because of its versatility. It’s also considered one of the most food-friendly wines due to its varied range of flavours and characteristics, brought about by climate, location and the inspiration of the winemaker.
A young and fruity, unoaked, cool climate Chardonnay pairs perfectly with white meats such as grilled chicken and many seafood dishes including oysters, prawns, crab and lobster, as well as steamed fish. It is also a great match with white cream-based pastas and sauces.
Medium-bodied varietals complement firmer fish like swordfish and salmon, white meats such as roast chicken and pork tenderloin, and aged cheeses like gruyere and gouda.
Chardonnay with more oak is best served alongside pork belly, buttery risottos and salads with creamy dressings.
Why Edenvale Chardonnay?
Our premium alcohol-removed Australian Chardonnay is one of our most popular whites, and for good reason. It is well-balanced and smooth, characterised by fresh fruit aromas and delicious flavours of rich melon, citrus and apple, with a hint of oak.
Edenvale Chardonnay is made from South Eastern Australian wine grapes and contains less than 0.5% alcohol. If you enjoy the taste of Chardonnay but are looking for a healthier alternative to try, this is the wine for you.