Chardonnay: An Uptown Girl Of the world's great white wines, Chardonnay is the most sought after. Each year at harvest time in both its native France and in California, and throughout the wine-growing world, Chardonnay commands the highest prices and the most attention for its grapes. In tribute, Chardonnay produces the finest, most flavorful dry white wines in the world. Wine writers and connoisseurs devote countless columns and untold hours exalting its virtues and dissecting its flavors. Chardonnay is the yardstick by which all other dry white wines have come to be measured. From its home in the Burgundy region of France, Chardonnay has traveled the length and breadth of France. Not content to be a "stay at home lady," Chardonnay found its way to Italy in the last century and then to most of Eastern Europe before traveling the seas to Australia, Argentina, Chile, California, and New York. It is, however, only in her native Burgundy and Champagne, and in California, that Chardonnay shows her full potential and consistently produces truly great wines. The very best are stunning wines of breed, complexity and tremendous depth of flavor. In good years, the very best are full, rich, beguiling wines of golden robe and elegant, fulfilling fruit. Much of Chardonnay's character is indicative of the soil and climate from which it comes, as well as the oak barrel aging it receives. More often than any other white wine varietal, Chardonnay is fermented and /or aged in oak. The spicy vanilla qualities that one often associates with Chardonnay are usually the result of the extensive aging of Chardonnay in new oak barrels.