Chardonnay was long held to be a favorite white for wine drinkers. Some of the greatest white wines of France are made from Chardonnay such as the Montrachets, or Grand Cru Chablis. Its popularity soared during the 1980s, partially as a result of the 1976 Judgement of Paris competition and continued to rise through the '90s. Because of this increased demand, growers sought to increase their output. The unfortunate result was that world-wide, vineyards containing ancient native varieties were uprooted in favor of Chardonnay plantings. Eventually a backlash against the heavily oaked style that was popular in the 80s (Anything But Chardonnay), led towards a shift to the lighter, more balanced styles of Chardonnay that are now common.
Despite the ups and downs it has recently experienced, Chardonnay is still an incredibly popular variety. Like Pinot noir, Chardonnay is indigenous to Burgundy. It is the most planted of the...