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Chardonnay

chardonnay

Name and Etymology:
Chardonnay is the name of a village in Burgundy located in the Haut-Mâconnais.

Synonyms:
In the South-West, we find it under its name of origin but especially under the terms of Engrunat (meaning that the grapes are easy to pick off the bunch) or of Machouquet (meaning “tuft” and related to the type of conduct of this vine often found at ground level).

Colour:         White

Geographical origin:
The origin from Burgundy doesn’t raise a doubt.  It seems that Chardonnay is a very old vine.

Filiations:
The legend which claimed that this vine was brought back by the Crusaders has been disproved by modern genetic techniques.  Chardonnay seems to be the result of a crossing between a Pinot Noir and a Gouais Blanc, two ancestral vines of our antique Gaulle.  Due to its intrinsic properties, Chardonnay has been used for numerous crossings and the creation of new vines without ever giving as good results as the qualitative clones of the mother stock.

Appellations using it and / or major areas of production abroad:
The list of appellations and wine regions is exhaustive.  It is surely one of the most planted vines in the world if not the most planted one.  For a very long time scarcely present in the South-West, it has benefitted from its worldwide popularity to reconquer for the past 40 years certain areas of our region.  It is therefore found in Gascogne, in the Limoux area or even in the Tarn vineyards.

Production potential:
Because of its age, Chardonnay has today a strong genetic variability.  Different clones have been selected according to their specific aptitudes.  We can nevertheless say that Chardonnay is a rather fertile vine.  Its Northern origins make it intolerant of too intense droughts and in warm climates, the wines created are often heavy due to the low acidity of the juices.  Naturally generous, it is necessary to control it and to opt for little fertile clones to avoid the risks of rot.

Best examples / Oenological potential
Chardonnay is a polymorphic vine; it can give very different wines depending on the conduct of the vineyard, of the geographical region, of the winemaking or even planting methods.  Certainly, some Burgundian vintages give wines of an incredible purity but certain areas of the new winemaking world offer just as magnificent examples.  Thus, we can find bottles in New Zealand, in South Africa or even in the United Sates competing with bottles from Burgundy.

 

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