Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety, used to make white wine. It probably originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now found anywhere that grapevines can be grown, from England to New Zealand. It is vinified in many different styles, from the elegant, "flinty" wines of Chablis (wine) to rich, buttery Meursaults and New World wines bursting with tropical fruit flavours. It is an important component of many sparkling wines around the world, including Champagne.
Chardonnay can be crisp and light or rich, tropical and weighty. It has a great affinity with oak so is often fermented and/or aged in barrel, adding toasty vanilla complexity to its ripe, peachy fruit. Fashions change however and these days there is a definite move towards more elegant and subtle styles.