Balletto Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2013: Sonoma’s Balletto sells most of its fruit, so the top 10 percent of its 600 acres that it usually keeps makes lovely estate wines.

This balanced bottle of beauty is no exception. It’s creamy without being too rich (just enough new French oak to add character without being a butter bomb), citrus-fruit forward yet intriguingly complex with wet stone, spice, and pear. And at $28 suggested retail, it’s a great way to experience Sonoma at its best.

This wine works well with all sorts of food, as it won’t overpower at 13.6% alcohol. A summer-into-fall menu of roasted rainbow carrots alongside swordfish in lime-cilantro-shallot compound butter makes a perfect match.



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