This has a pleasant combination of wood and fruit, richness and acidity. The nose presents the aromas of lemon chiffon and mesquite smoke. Flavors are deeper on the palate, tropical fruits, apple, and a bit of pie crust, followed by lemon, all with the same underlying smoke. While the wood effects are obvious, they are not overwhelming. The flavors are clean and the acids bright, making this a wine that can pair well with Cornish game hen. Recommended.

WHO: Benziger Family Winery
WHAT: Chardonnay
WHERE: Carneros, Sonoma County, California
WHEN: 2008
HOW MUCH: $23 (media sample)

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David Honig