The Chalone folks really hit a home run when they “discovered” their site near Pinnacles National Monument

Chalone Vineyard 2008 Monterey County chardonnay should please everybody

This time it was our neice, Sherry–not hubby Ron–who waltzed in our front door bearing gifts of yummy wine. Six bottles would last most people 48 hours–but we’re halfway through Sherry’s visit and, well, we’ll see. I did say “yummy.”

Chalone pioneered the Monterey County wine appellation, which delivers grapes with unique characteristics because of the climate and the soil. This chardonnay feels to me as though a portion of it underwent secondary fermentation–but, if so, it wasn’t a lot of the grapes. The acids are bright and bracing, as the label says. Great start. “Monumental” scenery behind the vineyards may contribute to the quality of Chalone wines. (You think?!)

The label also tells us Chalone sensed “crisp pear, apple, and nectarine flavors.” I’d agree. This is a wine that will go with just about any food (maybe not tex-mex or asian). We sipped it by itself in the sun on the patio, and gulped it with cheese-and-bacon on whole wheat muffins (thin Oroweats). We also had a San Francisco potato salad from a delicatessen, a creamy delight that paired well.

Chardonnay from the Monterey County appellation is almost always a safe bet because the area is just right for white burgundies, which this is. Enjoy!

Bob Cramer, The Fearless Taster.