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Chardonnay

To avoid confusion with Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, not Pinot Chardonnay, is now the official name for this variety in France and California, two countries in which it is widely grown. The area in France increased from 7325 ha to 19 870 ha between 1958 and 1988, most of the plantings being in the Burgundy and Champagne regions. In California it was not widely grown until selected clones of high yield became available. Expansion since then has been rapid, with the area reaching 24 280 ha by 1992. There have been small plantings of Chardonnay in Australia for many years, but it is only recently that the variety has become popular. Of the 6107 ha planted by 1993, 1123 were still to come into bearing. Clones of Chardonnay in Australia vary from moderately to quite vigorous. The leaves are medium in size, thick, undulating and rolling back a little at the edges, usually only slightly 3-lobed, and practically free of hair on the lower surface. The petiolar sinus is lyre-shaped and very characteristically cut right into the veins at the base. The bunches of Chardonnay are rather small, cylindrical generally with a wing, well filled to compact, with small, round berries. Chardonnay is used in the fine white wines of Burgundy and Chablis, and is one of the varieties used in Champagne. In California it is recommended for the cooler areas.

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