Chardonnay and sauvignon blanc are perhaps the two most familiar varietals to American drinkers, and it’s not surprising that both are grown around the world and come in all styles and prices. One here even has a little chenin blanc thrown in for good measure.
2011 Macari "Katherine’s Field" North Fork of Long Island sauvignon blanc ($24). Macari is one of the best and most-available Long Island producers, and this Macari sauvignon blanc has excellent melony fruit with soft spiciness and hints of whey, although it needs a bit more crispness in the finish. Takeaway: For those who like forward fruit, a good sipping wine while you prepare dinner.
2010 Robert Mondavi "To Kalon" Napa Valley fumé blanc reserve ($40). The grand-papa of the historic fumé take on sauvignon blanc — lots of aromatic fruits (peach, apricot), vibrant, very juicy, and moderated by a minerally and savory finish. Takeaway: Just an excellent wine, complex and lovely to sip or have with dinner.
2010 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley fumé blanc ($20). Not shabby either — a complex, still-tight wine with lots of fruits and spices — apple, melon, citrus — and a touch of gaminess in the finish. Takeway: A very nice wine that has some heft and presence, but more creamy than oaky.
2010 Tariquet Vin de Pays de Côtes de Gascogne chenin chardonnay ($9). I love this combination of Loire and Burgundy grapes that Tariquet produces every year. It’s juicy, minty with apple fruit. Takeaway: Close your eyes and think of spring.
2011 Tariquet Côtes de Gascogne chardonnay ($9). Fresh green-fruit flavors of crisp — not tart — apples with a little creaminess at the end. Takeaway: A pleasant, well-priced wine geared to those who like their chards fresh and simple, not big and bold.
2011 Wente "Morning Fog" Livermore chardonnay ($19). Quite a different profile from the Tariquet — well-blended oak flavors, figgy fruit, somewhat tight in the finish. Takeaway: Nice medium-weight East Bay chard.