The Chardonnay movement

It's been out of favour for a while, but now it's back with a vin-geance. So all shout "chardonn-yay!" and raise a glass to this trendy grape…

For the past decade, wine drinkers have been avoiding Chardonnay at all costs. But as it battles its way back to A-lister status in the wine world, there's nothing to do but take a gulp.

Popular Chardonnays of the 1990s produced a deep yellow drop with rich oaky and buttery undertones, but people soon started to yearn for lighter white wines. The Kath and Kim "kardonnay" craze damaged its rep further. Drinkers stopped taking Chardonnay to dinner parties, just in case it got laughed off the table. Across Australia, wine fanatics sip-switched over to Sauvignon Blanc, while Europeans started opting for Pinot Grigio. As Aussie winemakers heard the world scream: "No more oak!", they took steps to adjust their viticulture methods to keep up with consumer demands.

Over the past year or so, Chardonnay grapes have been harvested slightly earlier, meaning that acid levels are higher and sugar levels lower. Vines now grow on elevated sites with lower temperatures; while charring on the barrels has been reduced, toning down the intense colour and woody flavours. As Sauv Blanc prices and sophistication levels steadily drop, Chardonnay growers can step in and create a new variety of this drop which is citrusy, refreshing and completely different to the old school version. 

Amazing new ranges of Chardonnay are currently being made all over the world, especially in Australia and New Zealand. Could Chard become the trump card again?