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Wine of the week

2000 Joseph Phelps Vineyards Chardonnay, Los Carneros ($27). California chardonnay is so frequently disappointing that it is a real joy to discover one that is everything it should be. This is not an inexpensive wine, coming from one of the Napa Valley's great wineries, but it earns every penny. It's a classic, full-bodied wine built along the lines of a Montrachet -- with mind-boggling impact on the palate. The usual chardonnay flavors of apple and lemon are bolstered with nuances of nuts, toast and yeast. It manages to deliver the rare combination of creamy texture and lively acidity. This is one of those wines that should be showcased with simple but elegant food, such as salmon with a light dill sauce.


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