Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course, Episode 2 – Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It believed to have originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand. For new and developing wine regions, growing Chardonnay is seen as a “rite of passage” and an easy segue into the international wine market.
The Chardonnay grape itself is very neutral, with many of the flavors commonly associated with the grape being derived from such influences as terroir and oak. It is vinified in many different styles, from the elegant, “flinty” wines of Chablis to rich, buttery Meursaults and New World wines with tropical fruit flavors.
Chardonnay is an important component of many sparkling wines around the world, including Champagne. A peak in popularity in the late 1980s gave way to a backlash among those wine drinkers who saw the grape as a leading negative component of the globalization of wine. Nonetheless, it remains one of the most widely-planted grape varieties, with over 400,000 acres (175,000 hectares) worldwide, second only to Airén among white wine grapes and planted in more wine regions than any other grape – including Cabernet Sauvignon.
This is the second episode of Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course, a beautifully filmed tour of the world of wine presented and written by Jancis Robinson and based in dozens of stunning locations on four continents.
Each of the ten half-hour programmes is centred on a major grape variety or theme but provides a complete wine education including how wine is made, tasted, stored and enjoyed.