Face it: whether you love it or hate it, there is no escaping chardonnay. Wedding? Chardonnay. Airplane? Chardonnay. Performance evaluation with your teetotaler boss? Maybe not -- nope, just kidding. Chardonnay! Before and after.
Chard often gets a bad rap as a default, generic white wine: it blew up in the '80s and '90s, expanding production exponentially and flooding the market with more than a few substandard bottlings/boxings. And while there are still plenty of crappy wines out there, chardonnay is recovering its reputation, one quality-driven bottle at a time.
But to call chardonnay confusing is an understatement. To help you demystify your wine drinking -- or at least give you something to talk about when you're seated next to your friend's weirdo aunt at a wedding -- here are eight juicy tidbits about the the world's favorite wine.
Its popularity is relatively new
Chardonnay grapes have been made into wine for almost centuries, but the wine's mainstream popularity is relatively new. After a California chard beat a French one in the 1976 Judgment of Paris -- recounted in the movie Bottle Shock -- chardonnay became one of the most popular wines in the world (USA! USA!). The plantings of chardonnay just in California quickly increased 1,000%, with similar growth internationally. Now, well over 400,000 acres worldwide are dedicated to growing it. Not bad for a grape that was long considered the nerd of the wine world.