Chardonnay is originally from France’s Burgundy region, where the best white Burgundies are powerful and rich, with complex fruit flavors and notes of earth and minerals. More affordable Chardonnays from Burgundy—for instance, those simply labeled Bourgogne Blanc—are crisp and lively, with apple and lemon flavours.
Burgundy has recognised and classified its terroirs for over 700 years, with the attributes of the soil magnified by a long and patient tradition of growing stable grape varieties. The classification system in Burgundy observes the vineyards, working out the intimate relationship between soil and flavour. The Cru system in Burgundy puts a name and a rating on often tiny parcels of hillside vineyards with differing altitude, soils, aspect and subsoils that regularly express a distinctive and particular character and flavour in their wines.
The British wine critic Jancis Robinson emphasizes that "price is an extremely unreliable guide" and that "what a wine sells for often has more to do with advertising hype and marketing decisions than the quality contained in the bottle." While Grand Crus often command steep prices, village level wines from top producers can be found at quite reasonable prices.