What is Chardonnay?
The Chardonnay aroma is distinct, delicate and easy to recognize. It can smell like apples, lemons, peaches or tropical fruits. Its delicacy is such that even a small percentage of another varietal blended into a Chardonnay will often completely dominate its aroma and flavor. Oak commonly takes over Chardonnay if the wine is fermented or aged in new barrels or for too long in seasoned ones.
The best locations in California for Chardonnay are the same as those found in Pinot Noir, and they are: Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara County; Russian River Valley in Sonoma County; Carneros in both Sonoma and Napa Counties (this is the only appellation to hold the distinction of bounding two counties); Anderson Valley in Mendocino County; the Pinnacles in Monterey County and Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County.