Hand-colored scanning electron micrograph (SEM) showing a germinating pollen attached to the tip of a vine pistil (Vitis sp.) created by Martin Oeggerli.
Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used in the production of white wine. The variety originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France, but is now growing wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand. The Chardonnay grape itself is very neutral, with many of the flavors commonly associated with the grape being derived from such influences as terroir and oak.
Chardonnay is also an important component of many sparkling wines, including Champagne.
Modern DNA fingerprinting research suggests that Chardonnay is the result of a cross between the Pinot noir and Gouais blanc. The Romans are thought to have brought Gouais blanc from Croatia, and it was widely cultivated by peasants in eastern France. The Pinot of the French aristocracy grew in close proximity to the Gouais blanc, giving both grapes ample opportunity to interbreed.