Chardonnay is marvellously versatile for winemakers. It grows relatively well and adapts to a variety of different soils and climates. Chardonnay can be made as an unwooded or wooded wine. Again, 'broad strokes' descriptors of aromas and flavours include citrus most commonly - from orange blossom to lemon, lime, grapefruit and marmalade - all the way through to buttered toast, caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, roasted nuts and smoke. Many of these aroma and flavour associations are linked to whether the wine has spent time in barrel or not. But that is explained elsewhere


The spiritual homeland of this grape is Burgundy in France and for many years it was assumed that Chardonnay was somehow derived from Pinot Blanc or Pinot Noir - but some grape geeks disagreed, citing the fact that it had been grown in the Middle East, in Lebanon and Syria, for many years and theorising that the grape may even be related to Muscat. But the renowned department of oenology and viticulture at the University of California, Davis, drilled down into the DNA and their modern fingerprinting technology "suggests" that it is the result of a crossing between Pinot Noir and Gouias Blanc, a grape which the Romans were thought to have brought to France from Croatia!