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The History of Chardonnay

The History of Chardonnay has been extensively researched using DNA profiling by Dr. Carole Meredith. She discovered that Chardonnay is a member of the Pinot family. She also proved that Chardonnay grapes are a cross between the Pinot family and a very old and nearly extinct grape variety called Gouais Blanc. The Gouais Blanc grape originated in Croatia and is believed to have arrived in France with the Romans.

Many believe that the history of Chardonnay began when ancient vineyards began cross-pollinating between Pinot grapevines and Gouais Blanc grapevines. There are actually many other varieties of wine grapes that can be traced back to the Gouais Blanc vine and the Pinot vine. Whether the first Chardonnay grapes were created by accident or design no one is quite sure but the seeds that were produced became to be known as Chardonnay grapes.

The history of Chardonnay grapes says that they are called Chardonnay because they originated from a village of the same name in Maconnais which lies in France's world-famous Burgundy region. It is believed that Chardonnay wine was distributed throughout France by Cistercian monks. The earliest known reference to Chardonnay wine was written by monks in the year 1330. The Cistercian monks are believed to be the first group of people to plant the Chardonnay grape in their vineyards for the purpose of mass production and distribution of Chardonnay wine.

Throughout the history of Chardonnay grapes, the characteristics of them have remained remarkably consistent. The Chardonnay grape comes from a vigorous vine with medium sized bunches of grapes that are tightly packed together. Once ripe they are a brilliant golden yellow color but they are quite small and fragile with a thin skin. Great care must be taken during harvest or the grapes will be ruined.

Chardonnay grapes are very sensitive to their environment. This means that Chardonnay wines have a distinct taste and flavor which can vary a great deal in complexity, depending on where it is grown and how it is being produced. Chardonnay wines grown in warmer climates tend to have a wonderful honey, buttery flavor while Chardonnay grapes grown in cool climates produce wines with an abundance of fruity flavors.

Throughout the history of Chardonnay, this wine has always been fermented in oak barrels. This gives Chardonnay wine its unique character. But in recent years, we have seen a big shift in this philosophy. Because of the booming Chardonnay market, a lot of wineries began producing quick and inexpensive Chardonnay wines. These wines fly in the face of the history of Chardonnay. What they do is soak the wine in oak chips in order to replicate the distinct flavor added through the process of aging the wine in oak barrels. Some Chardonnay wines even advertise the fact that they are not aged in oak barrels. But, this attempt to quench the Chardonnay market's thirst has mostly fallen flat on its face. While there are some good inexpensive Chardonnays which have not been aged in oak, the long history of Chardonnay grapes shows us that oak aging is best.

Now that you know the history of Chardonnay, you might want to look at Chardonnay Wine Recommendations or learn more about Buttery Chardonnay Wines.