One of the most planted varieties in the world, Chard takes root in vineyards with breathtaking vistas from Australia to Italy. To help transport you while you sip, we rounded up some of the most beautiful Chardonnay-growing regions around the globe. Why not pour yourself a glass and take it all in?
It’s almost a shame that the wines of Champagne are so stunning, we often neglect to talk about the place itself. The chalky, white-soiled Côte des Blancs is planted primarily to some of the most sought after Chardonnay in the world. That its gently rolling hills dotted by little villages are so unassuming is part of its allure. Sunrises and sunsets over that placid landscape are also not to be missed.
This amphitheater-shaped region in northern Italy was formed by a receding glacier. Today, its verdancy and soft light give it the look of a place that’s had time to settle into itself. Chardonnay grown here is often blended with Pinot Nero to create traditional-method sparkling wines.
A fairly warm region, it grows Chardonnay that’s soft and ripe, but still dry and refreshing. Some common descriptors—from wildflower to crushed stone—may also be spotted in the landscape.
Franschhoek, South Africa
This valley about an hour outside of Cape Town has staggering mountain views on three sides. When you’re not looking up at the peaks, it’s easy to keep your eyes occupied with flowers growing between the vines. The Méthode Cap Classique sparkling wines made with Chardonnay grown here are equally lovely. French Huguenots moved here in 1688, hence the name (Afrikaans for “French corner”), and much of their original architecture is still in place, only adding to the charm.
Margaret River, Australia
In the far southwest corner of Australia lies one of the country’s coolest growing regions, well-suited for high-end wines. It’s a place where morning mists give way to bright blue skies, and you can spot the occasional kangaroo or herd of sheep passing through.
With rolling hills and stands of trees between vineyards, these views will bring to mind words like “heartland,” and be a beacon for anyone who enjoys hiking, horseback riding and generally roaming around outside.
Napa Valley, California
As with Champagne, Napa’s pretty environs are sometimes overlooked in discussions about the quality of its wines. But this region has beauty and brains.
Most places you stand, you can see vineyards extending far into the distance. These neat rows are punctuated by deep blue skies and golden sunshine. You can see why the grapes are so happy here. In the spring, bright yellow mustard flowers add to the charm. These plants, too, have more than just their looks going for them, though: They collect water to help irrigate vines and prevent erosion.