Chardonnay's Many Faces

Bill Coy shares his picks on delectable, short-living rosés

  • Chamisal Unoaked 2010 (Central Coast, CA), $15.99
    Crisp, and fruitful, with no hint of oak or butter, here's a wine for those who are looking for a new sipper. Tropical, with nice lime and grapefruit, this one is good on its own, or with lighter fare
  • William Fevre "Chablis" 2009 (France) $19.99
    The town of Chablis is the northern-most point of Burgundy, and it only grows chardonnay. This one is light with apple and pear fruit, lemony acid and that classic chalky mineral character of Chablis.
  • Au Bon Climat 2009 (Santa Barbara, CA), $22.99
    Balancing between old Burgundy and California, this selection starts with a little buttered toast on the nose and has peach and apple fruit to complement an oaky hint. Pairs well with halibut or cod.
  • Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet 2007 (France) $65
    From a vineyard between Puligny and Montrachet, this wine is one of the benchmarks for fine, elegant chardonnay delivering peach and melon fruit with tart acid, light oak, and a creamy finishing note.

Chardonnay continues to be the most widely-planted grape in California, and it's in the top ranks globally. On its own, it's quite simple, which makes it ripe for manipulation. Things like soil, climate, oak, and malolactic fermentation have a big effect on wine made from this king of white grapes. These wines run the gamut, so don't lump all chardonnay together–there's one for everyone. This month's selection is available at Pairings Food & Wine Market, 6001 Shady Oak Rd., Minnetonka, 952-426-0522.

Bill Coy runs Vintage U, which organizes wine tastings, classes, and events for corporate groups, wine enthusiasts, and the general public. Reach him at