Pronunciation: [shar-dn-AY; shar-doh-NAY]

Chardonnay is a top-rate, easy-to-grow versatile white wine grape from which a broad spectrum of wines is produced. It is one of the grapes used in making fine French Champagne and white Burgundy. In California, the wine produced from this grape is referred to simply as Chardonnay. These dry, complex wines can be buttery, creamy, nutty or smoky, depending on where the grapes are grown and how the wine is made. Their fruit descriptors include apple, lemon, melon and pineapple. Hundreds of American wineries produce Chardonnay; excellent wines also hail from Australia, as well as New Zealand, Italy and Spain. Chardonnay is also called Beaunois, Gamay Blanc, Melon d'Arbois and Pinot Chardonnay. It's sometimes mistakenly referred to as Pinot Blanc, a different variety. Chardonnay is perfect with shellfish, roast chicken and rich comfort food.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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