This Grape Makes Up 16% of Total Wine Acres Planted in California

It originated in France, but the Golden State is known for this popular white.

Chardonnay, that crowd-pleasing yet controversial wine grape, is the most planted varietal in the world. Some love it. Others loathe it. And whether you like it full of oak and butter or more on the crisp, clean side, California wineries are happy to have you sample their own take on the bottle.

According to a handy guide from the California Wine Club, Chardonnay hails from the French region of Burgundy, where it grows abundantly. Chablis is made with Chardonnay grown in the village of Chablis.

What gives Chardonnay that complex, buttery taste and texture? “Malolactic fermentation, which is a secondary fermentation of the grapes. The more malolactic fermentation, the richer-textured the Chardonnay. When malolactic fermentation is used in conjunction with oak, it can create butterscotch flavors. If you enjoy a very buttery Chardonnay, look for wines with extended malolactic fermentation (or MLF).”

You can read more on Chardonnay and what foods to pair it with here.