Chardonel is a hybrid grape created by crossing Seyval and Chardonnay, and was first created in 1953. The named variety was released by Cornell University in 1990. The crossing of French and American grapevines created this hearty grape with a combination of good flavor and winter-sturdiness.
This grape provides good productivity and creates a nice tasting white wine. Very close in flavor to that of Chardonnay but with the more sturdy character to better grow in cold climates that Seyval has.
Chardonel has done very well in Virginia and Virginia Tech continues to recommend it to Virginia growers; however, the recommendation includes the provision that it only be used with a suitable rootstock.
Chardonel is a full bodied, dry wine that is usually high in alcohol and acidity. It is known to exhibit Apple, Citrus, fig and pear characteristics. Chardonel is often similar to Chardonnay, but with a less pronounced characater. Chardonel pairs well with pasta, poultry and seafood.
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