In the wine market sense the Chardonnay is 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 labelling wines by the grape varietal instead of the region. An incredible increase in production over the last 20 years has produced mixed results. 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 usual constant is only the affinity that she shows to oak. This can be a wonderful boon when used judiciously or a terrible burden when overly used.
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. Other great regions include California (Napa, Sonoma, Carneros and Santa Barbera), Australia (Hunter Valley), Italy (The Trentino and Alto Adige) but Chardonnay can be found from just about everywhere.