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Dear Dr. Vinny,
Does Chardonnay have character or is it a caricature?
—Annita H., Rotterdam, Holland
Chardonnay has become so popular that it’s created a bit of a backlash among certain wine lovers. Perhaps you’ve heard of the “ABC movement,” which stands for “Anything But Chardonnay,” that arose in the late 1980s and is still heard of now and again.
To answer your question, it can be both. There’s a lot of Chardonnay in the world, including some stunning examples from Burgundy, California, Australia, New Zealand, Oregon and elsewhere. There are also a lot of mass-produced examples that can come across as alcoholic or harsh, overly ripe and sweet, or show too much oak, butter or vanilla flavor.
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