The world-famous grape variety Chardonnay is also known as Feinburgunder in German-speaking countries. The cultivation share of Chardonnay in Champagne is about 26%. The Côte des Blancs region is the primary growing area. Unlike the blue Pinot Noir and the equally blue Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay is a 'white' or initially yellowish-green grape and ultimately golden-yellow when fully ripe.
The Chardonnay grape variety is sensitive to frost. It also buds out earlier than the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier varieties. This grape variety also prefers a lot of sun.
Thus, the Chardonnay is to be understood as somewhat more demanding in cultivation. However, it produces wonderful Blanc de Blancs and Cuvées. Chardonnay grapes give champagnes a tasteful finesse as well as a fresh, pleasant fragrance, which can remind of the blossoms of camomile, jasmine, violets, orange, roses and much more.
The original home of the Chardonnay grape is disputed. There are many indications that the Pinot grape family from Burgundy is related to the Heunisch grape. Moreover, there are also suppositions that the Chardonnay was possibly introduced to France from Lebanon by the crusades. Historical research by Claude Taittinger traces the origin of the first Chardonnay vines back to the minstrel Thibaud, who discovered them in 1240 on his return from the Crusades in Cyprus and consequently brought Chardonnay cuttings to his native Champagne. The successful spread of the grape variety in Champagne and Burgundy is mainly attributed to the Benedictine monks.