[Image: Bunch of Grapes]
Today's Wine Tasting Note

© Copyright 1998 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

It is possible to get California Chardonnay that's not merely good but great; but you have to pay the price. This one qualifies on both counts. It's one of the five most expensive wines I've purchased in the past 12 months; and it's one of the best.

Hanzell 1994 Sonoma Valley Chardonnay ($31.99)
Clear, pale gold. Delicious aromas of ripe apples and apple butter. Multi-dimensional Chardonnay fruit on the palate, big and strong (14.4%), full-bodied yet elegant, with a chestnutty quality reminiscent of Meursault. Very fine wine, ranks with California's best. It $30-plus tag seems pricey at first, but when you compare it with white Burgundies of similar quality, it's practically a bargain. (Feb. 11, 1998)

FOOD MATCH: Fresh salmon steaks poached in a simple court-bouillon.

All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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