This is an oaky chardonnay, and I don't like oaky chardonnays, but I very much enjoyed this wine. Paradox, yes? What makes the difference is how well the oak is balanced out, with vibrant green apple and lemon flavors punctuating a breezy acid finish. The final effect is a wine with a creamy texture that avoids becoming cloying or heavy. It's a fine, complex wine that shows a skillful hand in the cellar.


2011 Franciscan Chardonnay

From: Napa Valley, Calif.

Price: $18

Serve with: Ham, salmon, pasta with lemon sauce