Wine of the Week
Texas heat and humidity call for a wine that's not too heavy, not too sweet: Chardonnay
The No. 1 Wine in the World Is Still ... Chardonnay
It's nice and hot outside, which calls for a cold wine that's not too heavy and not too sweet. While many New World (i.e., not from Europe) Chardonnays miss out on that description by being too heavy, I've found a few in the lower price ranges that work very nicely for our brutal summers.
The bargain of the bunch is Monthaven's Central Coast Chardonnay. This comes as a 3-liter bag-in-a-box, the equivalent of four normal bottles, and runs a mere $17. There are precious few wines at $4.25 a bottle that are even drinkable, so this light, aromatic wine qualifies as remarkable. Even people who normally spend $10 a bottle might want to give it a try.
Simi's Sonoma County Chardonnay 2008 ($14) is one of the best sub-$15 California Chardonnays I've tried recently. It's a bit more intense, with buttery, oaky notes, but still not too much for a summer quaff. For fans of traditional-style California Chardonnay, this wine hits all the right notes.
At less than $20, it's hard to top Chile's Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay ($16), a wine that offers some oomph for fans of the California style while still paying obeisance to the gold standard from Burgundy.
And why not splurge for a bottle of the good stuff, specifically from Chablis. Joseph Drouhin makes several different versions of wines running from $20 on up, all filled with the characteristic bright acidity and mellow aromas for which Chablis is so rightly famous.
The Monthaven is available in grocery stores. You'll find the Simi and Drouhin wines at fine wine shops, while the Concha y Toro is available at select Twin Liquors and several other fine wine shops.