French Burgundy is often looked as at the benchmark for excellent chardonnay and for good reason. As well as having a good natural alcohol level. They usually have the right balance for acidity, freshness, excellent aromatics and are built for drinking now and a little bit of aging as well. Eventhough year in and year out California chardonnay gives it a run for its money and even eclipsing. It is the the cool regions of Burgundy that give the chardonnay its style to look for.
Here are the main regions and the styles that make it so classic so seek them out:
Chablis: has high acidity. Look for the top producers here if you can but one thing is for sure is that the terroir is what screams out. They are fresh and have high acidity. Limestone, chalk and steel are prevalent.
Mersault: This chardonnay is generally the most varied, a kind of interctive feel to it. It can be very crisp and clean to ripe and heavy. In Charmes they are very energetic and bouncy; while Perrieres is straightforward, intense, alive with minerality.
Puligny-Montrachet: This chardonnay is usuall the same year in and year out. I mean this in a very positive way. Just like an old friend. It's also vibrant and clean, the terroir gives this. Near the Mersault side there is that minerality as well. Pucelles is very pretty and silky with a floral nose that sometimes gives off a little botrytus.
Chassagne-Montrachet: These chardonnays are up on a higher in the slopes which make the vines struggle and push for excellence. There no other place on earth like it. In Chaumees the wines are floral, supple and spicy, the minerality is palpable. En Caillerates has this wet stone with fruitiness effect(not sweet!!!) that is ice cool and with enveloping white flowers...really!
St, Aubin: The chardonnay here is workman-like. delicious, zippy and juicy. Good stuff can be found here abound and at good prices.
Rully: These wines are generally ripe and fresh and straight forward.
Macconnais: These wines are again fresh and croud pleasing. The are well rounded with a good bit of acidity that go along way to match up with a good plate of seafood and chicken as most of these great chardonnays from Burgundy.