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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wine Bargain of the Week: 2007 Beringer Founder's Estate Chardonnay

Beringer has always been a reliably good wine from California. With a full range of varietals (Chardonnay, Cabernet, etc.) it's an easy pick if you're in a wine shop full of unknowns.

But like many good wines, its price has been creeping up along with inflation—now most of its wines fall in the $30 to $90 range.

There are two exceptions. Beringer's California Collection is in the bargain range under $10 and mostly contains  the wines non-serious wine drinkers love: White Zin, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Chenin Blanc.

The other exception is a line called Founder's Estate, which weirdly means that the grapes are grown somewhere other than Beringer. We're not sure who makes the wine, because the line is pretty much hidden on the Beringer Web site.

But a good value is a good value. And these wines are often available in wine stores.

We tried the Chardonnay last night ($6.49 in some stores; $10 in others) and found it exceedingly crisp and pleasant, especially for a value this wallet-worthy.

It is not oaky in the usual California Chardonnay way. But with a hint of sweet orange citrus behind a lingering vanilla taste, this white will work with almost any salad or meal.

We'll look around for the Cabernet and report in as soon as we've uncorked a bottle.

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