Riverbench 2013 Reserve Chardonnay: Of the delicious handful of chardonnays that Clarissa Nagy makes for Riverbench, nothing pleases quite like this reserve. Their goal was to add some oak (50 percent new French) for flavor and structure yet not create a butter bomb, and Riverbench nailed it, creating a luscious, creamy white with enough acidity to make this a perfect food wine, too (think anything from fettuccine alfredo to lemon-caper sole).

This bottle argues for the glories of Santa Maria Valley chardonnay: complex (think nutty notes, a bit of baking spice), fruity (pear edging to apple), and perhaps even a salty hint of the not-too-distant Pacific. It’s anything but ordinary and enough to convert even die-hard red wine drinkers.

See riverbench.com.


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