Chardonnay is probably the greatest of all white grapes. It has almost single handedly changed the fortunes of many wine-growing regions and countries. Chardonnay's appeal lies in her productivity, adaptability and a great ability to retain Chardonnay-like character no matter where it is grown. So many countries, with so many climates, produce so many styles from so many wine-making techniques. Chardonnay has been the greatest benefactor of the "New World" way of labeling wines by the grape varietal instead of the region. Chardonnay can range in styles from crisp and structured, through full and rich, all the way to syrupy and fat. Flavors roam from citrus to tropical fruits, to smoke and butter, and even herbs and red raspberry.
The origins and best examples of Chardonnay come from the Burgundy region of France. It is also a crucial component of Champagne and most other sparkling wines. Chardonnay grows with some success in every wine producing country on earth, with Portugal seemingly the only exception.