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Of all the white wine grape varietals, surely the one which has spread the furthest and is most widely appreciated is the Chardonnay. This green skinned grape is now grown all over the Old and New Worlds, from New Zealand to the Americas, from England to Chile, and is one of the first varietals people think of when considering white wine grapes. Perhaps this is because of its huge popularity which reached a peak in the 1990s, thanks to new technologies combining with traditional methods to bring the very best features out of the Chardonnay grape, and allow its unique qualities to shine through. Most fine Chardonnay wines use a process known as malolactic fermentation, wherein the malic acids in the grape juice are converted to lactic acids, allowing a creamier, buttery nature to come forward in the wine. No grape varietal is better suited to this process than Chardonnay, which manages to balance these silky, creamy notes with fresh white fruit flavors beautifully.
Washington State is one of the United States' most important and internationally renowned wine producing areas, and within the state, we find the AVA of Yakima Valley, where over forty percent of the Washington's wines are produced. Yakima Valley was first recognized as an official American Viticultural Area in the early 1980's, but was been grapevines and producing wine several decades earlier, being something of an ideal location for viticulture. Due to its great climatic conditions and mineral rich, dry soils, Yakima Valley is capable of supporting a wide range of fine grape varietals, including the ever popular Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah and others. As such, the region produces a stunning array of different, high quality wines, and is regularly lauded with prizes and praise from the international wine community.