The grape: Chardonnay, enjoy as a cocktail wine.
The word: The Professional Friends of Wine, www.winepros.org, say:
"Rich is the word that best both describes Chardonnay... . Its aroma is distinct, yet delicate... . It often smells like apples, lemons, peaches or tropical fruits. Oak commonly takes over Chardonnay if the wine is fermented or aged in new barrels or for too long in seasoned ones."
Many wineries are going lighter on the oak, and some are making unoaked Chardonnay, more like a Chablis (the real French kind, not the fake California kind).
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The match: Nat Decants, www.nataliemaclean.com, suggests pairing Chardonnay with gouda or Swiss cheeses, fried chicken, asparagus quiche, vegetable lasagnas, lobster and even popcorn.
Columbia Crest Two Vines, Columbia Valley, $7-$9. Fruit-forward apple and pear aromas with a hint of lemon leading to balanced crispness and creaminess on the palate with a lingering, lush fruity finish.
Hogue Cellars 2006, Columbia Valley, $8-$10. Rich buttery pear and creamy flavors with food-friendly crispness.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2007, Columbia Valley, $9-$11. Appealing softness with bright, sweet, citrus fruit character and subtle spice and oak nuances.
Fish House 2006, Columbia Valley, $10. Smooth with tangerine and pineapple components and good minerality.
Barnard Griffin 2008 tulip label, Columbia Valley, $10-$12. An award-winning Chardonnay with aromas of lime and wood spice and flavors of apples and pears.
Snoqualmie Winery 2008 Naked, Columbia Valley $7. "Naked" means organically grown grapes. Fresh pure aromas and flavors of fruit for a balanced clean finish.
A to Z, 2007, Oregon, $11-$13. This unoaked wine offers aromas of lemon-lime with good acidity, crisp apple flavors and a mineral finish.
Ste. Chapelle 2007 Snake River, Idaho, $8-$10. This vintage is full bodied and creamy with pear and citrus characteristics
Nk'Mip Cellars 2006, Okanagan Valley, $16 CDN. The Chardonnay opens with butterscotch, Granny Smith apple followed by luscious pineapple.