Chardonnay: The Planet's Most Planted White Of all the world's premium white varietals, Chardonnay is the most widely cultivated and its wine the most highly sought after on earth. Each year at harvest time, whether it be in its native France or in the Land Down Under, 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 to which writers and connoisseurs devote countless columns and untold hours exalting its virtues and dissecting its flavors. Whether it be from Chablis or Champagne, Napa or McLaren Vale, or from the most illustrious of vineyards perched atop the slopes of Corton and Montrachet, 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 where it is planted in areas as diverse as Champagne, Alsace, the Jura and the high mountain valleys of the Alps, as well as the hot plains of Languedoc. Never content to be a homebody, Chardonnay found its way to Italy centuries ago and then to Eastern Europe, before traveling the seven seas to Australia, Argentina, Chile, California, Japan, New York, New Zealand, and almost everywhere fine wine is made. Today, Chardonnay is produced on all continents, except Antarctica. In these varying locales, Chardonnay produces premium wine that reflects in ever detail the soil and climate (terroir) in which it is grown. With food, Chardonnay is a peerless match. In the company of seafood, Chablis-style Chardonnays provide superb complements and are in turn elevated by the union with fine fruits de mer. Fuller, fleshier Chardonnay wines, typified by the best Australian and Californian versions, can more than hold their own with more complex fare, rich cream sauces, and meats. Moreover, the finest Chardonnay wines shine on their own, requiring nothing but a corkscrew and a glass to please the palate. Right about now, can't you hear the distant strains of Hail to the Chief, along with thunderous applause?