Articles are property of Brenda Francis and are not to be reproduced in any way without written consent from Brenda Francis. ABC: Anything But Chardonnay Chardonnay is the fastest growing varietal in the New World. The Australians, topping 1.3 billion bottles of wine last year, export more chardonnay than anything else. There are more chardonnay vineyards in California than any other single varietal, totaling over 100,000 acres. Chardonnay is showing up in Old World recipes as well. Spanish sparkling Cava has been adding it to its traditional formula and Soave and Lugana in Italy have been adding a splash too. Chardonnay grows well in any grape growing region. Its yields are plentiful. It can be elegant and age worthy, or follow in the footsteps of many bulk wine grapes, being copious and quaffable. It has taken over our wine market because of our inclination to not stray from what we know. Growers worldwide replace vineyards with chardonnay, because they need to produce what will sell in our market. 'Anything but chardonnay' has been a growing theme among many consumers. Tired of the buttery, oaky profile of chardonnay, they look to other varieties of white grapes. While California struggles with the American market demanding more chardonnay, there are a few whites that can be found that are a pleasing change of pace. Viognier is a wonderful peer of chardonnay. Elegant, lush, and floral, viognier can dazzle the chardonnay drinker who is convinced that they don't like anything else. Look to roussanne and marsanne blends from California for an elegant, flavor packed treat. Italy offers many different white wines for the ABC crowd. Orvieto (or-ve-yay-toh) is a zesty choice with exotic flavors. Tangerine, honeysuckle, pear, and white flowers, this little Italian white is easy on the wallet too. Vermentino comes to us from the Island of Sardinia and is refreshing with citrus and melon flavors. Malvasia (mal-vah-see-ya), from Apulia, has flavors of apricots and perfume-like notes of gardenias. Malvasia producers can be found in Gravina, a small village in Apulia, but can come to us from California producers like Bonny Doon. Greco (greh-cho) earned a place in many of our hearts in Greco di Tufo. Greco di Tufo is produced near Naples in Campania, but Greco can found in wines from Molise and Apulia as well. While Italy offers us many more delectable whites, Austria is another treasure trove of ABC wines. Gewürztraminer (geh-vehrtz-trah-mee-ner) and Grüner Veltliner from Austria are dry, zesty, and lively. Austria enjoys a warmer climate and more sun than Germany. This allows the grapes to ripen and develop more natural sugar. This higher amount of sugar allows Austria's winemakers to ferment the grapes to their fullest, creating a dry, yet fruity wine. Germany usually must stop fermentation before all the natural grape sugars have been consumed by the yeast, leaving sweet, residual sugar to make up for fruitiness that the sun did not have a chance to create. Your local wine merchant can assist you in finding uncommon white wines, many in the $8-$12 price range. Remember, white wines should be from a recent vintage. Most whites are made to be drunk when young and loose their liveliness over time. Supporting ABC varietals in our market now will assure their availability in the future. It will also offer support to those nonconformist growers and winemakers that embrace what they enjoy, rather than follow the norm to maximize profits.