May 23 is International Chardonnay Day. Chardonnay must be one of the most versatile grapes in the world, and in Australia it can grow just about anywhere and express itself in each region.
It originates from France in both Burgundy and Champagne where it creates some of the most-prized wines in the world.
Chardonnay is arguably the wine world's most polarising variety, but new stats show it is experiencing double-digit growth in Australia - and wine lovers are happy to pay for quality.
Sales of premium Chardonnay (wines in the $20-$30 price range) have increased 12 per cent, year-on-year according to data from Dan Murphy's and BWS, which makes it the fastest growing price category for Chardonnay.
Australian Chardonnay is one of the most exciting wine categories in the world today. The quality and value is explosively good with so much diversity of style yet precision and superb fruit definition.Andrew Caillard MW, Fine Wine Principal at Dan Murphy's and BWS.
According to the sales data from Dan Murphy's and BWS, Margaret River Chardonnay makes up approximately 15 per cent of total Chardonnay sales in the country - this despite the region only producing three percent of Australia's total crush according to Wine Australia.
In Western Australia, Margaret River Chardonnay makes up 31 per cent of Chardonnay sales - the highest proportion of all states.
Margaret River winemaker Freya Hohnen believes the uniqueness of the wine region together with the collaborative spirit of the winemaking community has helped the region excel in Chardonnay; the white wine variety that was an outcast for more than a decade.
Overly-oaked styles made it a much-maligned wine in the 1990's and consumers turned away from this variety. Today producers create Chardonnays that differ from light-bodied and crisp in cooler climates to the more full-bodied, smooth and buttery in warmer areas.
The variations in Chardonnay is what makes it so special and there is a style to suit everyone. If you think you don't like Chardonnay, it just means you haven't found the right one yet.