Lloyd by Robert Lloyd Carneros Chardonnay (Los Carneros, CA $35) Tropical and pretty virile. In the “Big Bang” school of CA Chards. Pineapple, Asian pear, vanilla, vanilla, vanilla. Maybe a little mango? And a little bit of lemon curd. Clingy. If you like the ones with big personalities, this is a great option.
Long Meadow Ranch Anderson Valley Chardonnay (Anderson Valley CA $40) Quite distinct from a Napa or Sonoma Chardonnay from a more southerly region, this wine shows tension, salinity, and minerality, in addition to concentrated and dense fruit flavors. Citrus, peaches, stone.
Mayacamas Chardonnay (Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley CA, $50) This is a fairly serious wine. It’s muscular. And pretty rich. There’s a lot of vanilla going on here, as well as passion fruit, Meyer lemon, tangerine, honeysuckle, almond blossom and wet stone, not necessarily in that order. Structured. No malolactic fermentation on this one, so if you don’t like that style, c’mon over and try this one.
Mi Sueno Chardonnay (Los Carneros, CA $40) Classic Napa style, though Los Carneros is the portion of Napa with the most marine influence and that is discernable. Pineapple upside-down cake in a bottle sounds reductive and insulting and I don’t mean it that way. It’s delicious wine, but you do get pastry, pineapple, caramelized sugar and vanilla throughout. Also a bit of grapefruit on the finish to keep things from getting out of hand. Rich and decadent.
Noble Vines 446 Chardonnay (Monterey, CA $10) This is a cheese-loving wine that also has an affinity for veggies and poultry. Aromatics favor yellow apples, apricot and a little pineapple. Creamy in texture and exhibits a pronounced vanilla note with an overlay of peach and spice.
Oberkirker Winzer Chardonnay Trocken (Baden, Germany $20) Residual sugar alert! This fella’s a bit on the sweet side, which can genuinely be your friend in a spicy food situation. It’s quite oaky and quite buttery. So if you’re looking for a giggly lightweight this is not your date. If you want substantial and lingering, it might just be.
Ponzi Reserve Chardonnay (Willamette Valley, OR $34) Dense, rich bouquet: fig tree, quince, vanilla custard, a hint of jasmine. Palate is nuanced, with pastry crust, spiced apple, and nectarine. Noticeably silky texture.