Chardonnay’s birthplace is the Burgundy region of France, in a small village of the same name. Chardon is the French name for a thistle, chardonnay’s name originates from “place of thistles”. Believed to be from the Noirien family of grapes, chardonnay is descended from Pinot Noir and the ancient variety Gouais Blanc.
In Burgundy, where chardonnay is known simply as white Burgundy, it is the most prized white grape variety, seen as truly capturing the region’s incredible terroir. Although it originated in France, chardonnay is now grown in almost every wine region on Earth, mostly because of its ability to adapt to different environments and grow almost anywhere.
Chardonnay was first bought to Australia by James Busby (widely known as the ‘father of Australian wine’) who planted the first cuttings in Australia in the 1830s. It didn’t become a core Australian variety for almost a hundred years, but by the 1980s chardonnay became one of the most recognised Australian white wine varieties; flourishing in our climate and mainly produced in robust, rich, ripe, and buttery styles.
Over the next several decade Australian wine consumers' palates changed as they moved towards the zesty, higher acidity alternatives like Marlborough sauvignon blanc. Australian winemakers began to adapt, taking advantage of Chardonnay's ability to take on many different characters guided by the winemaker’s technique.
Today chardonnay accounts for more than half of Australia’s white wine production, having a renaissance in a lighter style closer to the Chablis style of France. This contemporary style has inspired The Islander Estate Vineyard’s The White Chardonnay.
Located in the Burgundy region of France (also famous for Pinot Noir), the Chablis appellation lies in the north, alongside the River Serein with the best vineyards planted along the south-facing slopes. Chardonnay here is all about the terroir.
Forget all your preconceptions of oaky, buttery Chardonnay. The Chablis style is entirely different, some say this style is the purest form of Chardonnay, fermented in steel, usually with little or no oak so the Chardonnay grapes' taste and aroma can shine. The Chablis wine style is dry, lean, and light-bodied with higher acidity and green apple, citrus, and mineral notes.
At our Tasting Room, two of our most common guest comments are "I don't usually really like chardonnay but this is really nice" or "Sauvignon Blanc is my go-to white wine, but this is really delicious".
Chardonnay is the main component of most champagne (blended with its mother variety, Pinot Noir as it is in our Petiyante sparkling). And if you’re a fan of Blanc de Blancs you’re drinking champagne made entirely of chardonnay.
Our The White Chardonnay is designed for everyday drinking, we think it makes a phenomenal sunset glass of wine with friends or with a simple soft cheese, but there are loads of cool weather matches with chardonnay. Simply, Chardonnay prefers subtle spices and creamy or buttery flavours with seafood, chicken, or even pork. Try it with a few of these classic Autumn dishes:
Classic Roast Chicken
Contemporary unoaked styles just like our The White Chardonnay is made in an everyday drink now style but can happily hang out in your wine rack for two years. More heavily oaked examples offer more cellaring potential.
Priced for everyday drinking, now is a great time to get your hands on The White. Click on the image below to add some to your shopping cart now.