Judicious use of a careful blend of wood adds depth to its fruit, as if pears, a single slice of pineapple, and a fig or two were all very quickly sautéed in butter, then sprinkled with fresh honeysuckle blossoms. Similar flavors are joined on the palate by a bit of vanilla, but nothing that would overpower the fruit. The wood treatment includes 10% new, 15% one-year-old, 25% two-year-old, and 30% 3-4 year-old oak with 93% of it American and 7% of it French, with fifteen months in the barrel. The wood shows more as it warms, so be sure to drink it cool to really enjoy the fruit. Drink with baked pompano or other delicate white fish. Highly Recommended.

WHO: Ridge Estate
WHAT: Chardonnay
WHERE: Santa Cruz Mountains, California
WHEN: 2009
HOW MUCH: $40 (Media sample)

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David Honig