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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wine of the Week (Under $10): 2007 Estancia Pinnacles Chardonnay

Years ago it was much easier to find rich, bargain whites in the wine store than it was to find reds that tasted good in the mouth and felt good in the wallet. Now that seems to be inside out.
We think it’s relatively difficult to find white wines under $10 that can hold their own at a table with a wide variety of foods.

We’ve managed to find some robust whites that are creamy enough to stand up to rich and spicy food and have a long, lingering finish in your mouth.

One of our favorite ways to find good bargains is to ask our local wine storeowner to fill a case with 12 different under-$10 bottles that he thinks we'll like. On one recent visit he included a bottle of Estancia Winery’s second Chardonnay, its Pinnacles Ranches Chard from Monterey County. It was priced at $8.99.

After trying it one night at dinner, we hustled back to the store to buy more, and now we enjoy it with just about any meal that begs for a glass of white wine. The Pinnacles are on the east side of the Salinas Valley, where the days are hot and the nights are cool. In 2007 the valley was wet and cool in the spring and into the summer, so the growing season was short and the cherry, pear, and apple flavors concentrated in this soft wine with a toasty oak finish.

Estancia is fairly widely available. If you see this wine on your local store shelf, grab a couple of bottles and know that you can drink it with just about any appetizer, fish, vegetable, salad, or light meat dish.

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