Montrachet / Burgundy
Some terms to look out for:
Oak ageing: if this occurs in old oak then it affects the texture and the shape of the wine, softening the edges, producing creamier, rounder wines. New oak contributes sweet spice, toast and vanilla characters as well as tannin, making for richer, more structured styles.
Malo/Malolactic fermentation: This is the process where malic acid (present in green apples) is converted into lactic acid (present in dairy products). It creates a creamy, round mouthfeel and can contribute to butter and dairy aromas.
Chardonnay is the most widely planted white variety in Australia, and the second most widely planted worldwide. It is neither aromatic nor overtly fruity and be coaxed into many different forms. It is prized for the unmatched ability to transmit terroir and produces some of the best (and most expensive) wines in the world.
The fruit spectrum ranges from granny smith apples and lemon (in cooler climates like Chablis) through to tropical fruit like pineapple, melon and mango in warmer ones (like parts of California and Australia).
Secondary notes like cheese, butter, brioche, toast and vanilla may appear based on certain winemaking decisions. As such, it helps to know a few winemaking terms when trying to locate a particular style. These are explained below.
Wines from Chablis are often described with words like lean and flinty, and may show notes of granny smith apple, lemon and wet stone. Bear in mind that as the world warms up, wines from Chablis are becoming richer, with a riper fruit profile. Chardonnay peaks in Burgundy and these examples are noted for their power, drive and ageability. Australian examples vary depending on place and winemaker but tend to tread a middle path where ripe stone fruit and biscuity notes are balanced with refreshing acidity.
Lees ageing/stirring: as the yeast cells die and collect at the bottom of the barrel or tank, they form lees. Lees contribute biscuity, cheesey notes to a wine (lees are a huge part of what makes Champagne and Muscadet taste the way they do). If the wine is left alone, it may be flinty and tightly coiled. If it is stirred, it will be softer and rounder, with more prominent flavours of brioche, almond or parmesan.
Big buttery wines tend to feature all of the above, whereas as lean and flinty wines feature few, if any.