This classic white grape varietal originally gained fame in the French vineyards of Burgundy and Champagne, where it still produces some of the world's finest white wines. In fact, Chardonnay holds the same lofty position of importance for white wines that Cabernet Sauvignon does for reds. In part, this is due to its admirable adaptability to diverse climates—from the cool climes of Champagne to the searing heat of southeast Australia. Its versatility also matches its popularity, for Chardonnay responds favorably to the widest range of winemaking techniques and styles of any white wine varietal (particularly malolactic fermentation, which gives Chardonnay rich, creamy, and buttery characteristics). Chardonnay is also a cooper's (barrelmaker) dream: This varietal has been so closely aligned with the flavor of oak through small barrel fermentation and maturation that many consumers believe the taste and bouquet of oak and Chardonnay are one and the same. In general, wines made from Chardonnay grapes are full-bodied, rich in fruit, moderately high in alcohol, and have medium to medium-high acidity. Flavor characteristics in cool climates such as Chablis lean toward green apple, citrus, and lemon notes, a steely character, and high acidity. Chardonnay grown in warmer conditions produces flavors and aromas that tend toward tropical fruit notes of pineapple and mango, or ripe apple, pear, and peach. Perhaps no other varietal other than Cabernet Sauvignon has met with so much success outside of its geographic origin as Chardonnay. Excellent examples are found in Eastern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, South Africa, California, the Pacific Northwest, Argentina, and Chile, to name just a few. In fact, there are more than 700 Chardonnay producers in the U.S. alone. Chardonnay pairs well with a wide array of foods, including shellfish (shrimp, scallops, lobster) and milder fish, poultry, pork, and sautéed foods with buttery or creamy sauces. Chardonnay is one of the five white wines (the others are Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sémillon) that make up the nine classic varietals (there are four red classic varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Pinot Noir).