I've received lots of emails from those of you just getting into wine, or want to bring something special to someone's party. Love this!
I'm a California girl and love our wines, so I'm going to pick some of my tried and true favorites. These chardonnays are easily available in Cali. I went for six that instantly came to mind, so if you see one of your favorite whites missing, please share your recommendations in the comments section.
- Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay - ($35-$45, 93 Points) My mother introduced me to this splurge. Cakebread used to be my fave chardonnay to blow money on, but Chalk Hill is even better.
- Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - ($15-$25) I see half-bottles of this wine in nearly every mini-bar across the country. Don't be put off by it and give it a try.
- La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - ($12-$25, 90 points) What restaurant doesn't offer this wine? It's consistent and better than Kendall Jackson, which is nearly always on the menu with La Crema. The extra two dollars a glass is worth it.
- Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara Chardonnay - ($20-$25, 90 points) I have special memories associated with this wine. When I turned 21, it was one the first bottles I ever ordered in a restaurant. It was at Patina (which I believe is now Providence?) and it was light and fruity and I still enjoy it with fish and chicken.
- Acacia Carneros Chardonnay - ($12-$25) This is what I keep in my home at all times and buy in bulk when it goes on sale. It's what I usually have with dinner at home, unless I'm drinking red!
- Gainey Chardonnay - ($20, 92 points) I visited this charming Santa Barbara vineyard around Halloween one year and I remember thousands of pumpkins on the drive up. Not only is this winery worth a visit, this wine that doesn't get the same attention as the others, but stands up to the rest.
Here are some budget-friendly wines under $10: Coppola Chardonnay, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Kendall Jackson, Clos du Bois.
There is a Spanish saying that goes... Good wine ruins the purse; bad wine ruins the stomach!