American wine-drinkers vote with online orders, wine shop purchases and restaurant drink tabs, and Chardonnay is the clear winner. Ask for a glass of white wine at any restaurant and the chance is they will give you chardonnay if you don’t specify. This classic and versatile wine makes up over 21 percent of all vineyards in California, beating out other popular types like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. What makes Chardonnay the most popular wine in America? It may be that Chardonnay is the friendliest and most versatile grape around. Even for those that say they don’t like Chardonnay – offer a glass of Chablis and chances are they will take it. Guess what? Chablis is Chardonnay.
Friendly to Vineyards
Chardonnay grapes are considered low-maintenance among the diva-like fruit of other varietals. Unlike some grapes, these robust vines can withstand very low temperatures and adapt well to different regions and climates. The grapes tolerate higher yields, allowing vineyards to produce more wine per acre than with other types. Except in Burgundy – in France Chardonnay is grown in tiny, tiny vineyards that get very low yields and sell for quite a bit.
Friendly to the Wallet
The virility of the Chardonnay grape means that you can find high quality wine at a lower price than some other grapes, say Pinot Noir. Higher yields and less trouble growing the grapes result in millions of bottles produced each year. In fact, California vineyards alone produce 53 million cases annually of Chardonnay. Ample supply means a quality bottle of Chardonnay is generally less costly than equal quality white wines of other types. But don’t let that fool you – some of the most expensive wines in the world are Chardonnay – if ever offered a glass of Montrachet, take it!
Friendly to the Table
Like the friendly student who fits in almost any social circle, a bottle of Chardonnay is almost never out of place at the table. With a broad range of flavor and style, Chardonnay can be paired with poultry, fish, and pork. Un-oaked varieties provide a fruitful combination that is perfect for Mexican night, grilled foods or spicy dishes. And of coarse there is the luxury pairing of buttery Chardonnay with lobster, yum! Those new to wine and food combinations can rest assured that a Chardonnay will match well with their meal while experienced wine connoisseurs may keep a bottle on hand for hassle free last-minute pairings.
Friendly to the Palate
The flavor of Chardonnay is decided by processing. French oak aging provides a subtle flavor while American white oak aging delivers a rough vanilla flavor. Vineyards produce sweet, dry, medium or full bodied, sparkling and even icewines from Chardonnay grapes. All of this variety makes it easy for anyone to find a glass of Chardonnay to please his or her palate.
Chardonnay is a friendly wine that is perfect for experienced sippers and those new to the wine world. If you are looking for a way to introduce friends to the allure of wine, consider gifting them a light, quality bottle of the most popular wine in America.
See our best selling wine gift set here – guess what? It’s Chardonnay.