Chalone Vineyard Chardonnay

Salinas Valley is so rich and fertile that it provides inspiration for Nobel Prize literature and Burgundian style Chardonnay. It’s the birthplace and the homebase to both John Steinbeck and Chalone Vineyard. My pick is the Chalone Vineyard Monterey County Chardonnay 2010. This crisp bright white is cultivated in a limestone terroir akin to the Côte d’Or of Burgundy with characteristics more comparable to the French Pouilly-Fuissé than its California competition. With Harvard music creativity, naval officer strength and a UC-Davis mind-set, Dick Graff has produced a structured white with fragrant citrus aromas and a luscious pear flavor. A bit of toasted French Oak and tightly wound fruit make this Chardonnay the rich food wine. It registers Paris on the taste scale like a forest of wisteria. So pocket your airfare, uncork a Chalone Chardonnay and create your own Parisian state of mind. Available BTB at Whole Foods for $13, Chalone Vineyard Monterey County Chardonnay 2010 also is served BTG at Maison Lacour, where it pairs perfectly with the elegant French cream sauce served over perfectly prepared seafood.

Scott Reis is a venture capitalist whose prior investments include Churchill’s Cigar and Wine Bar as well as Grand Cru Market and Wine Cellar. E-mail Scott at [email protected].