Many California wineries, especially those making less-expensive chardonnays, use grapes from a variety of vineyards, blending them to achieve a consistent “house” style. The 2011 Woodbridge Chardonnay, by Robert Mondavi, for example, gets its grapes from vineyards near Lodi, from California’s Central Coast and from northern San Joaquin County. It also blends in other grapes — French colombard and viognier among them — ending with a wine of great richness.
A lot of more expensive wines use grapes from only one viticultural area: The Antica chardonnay is a Napa Valley wine. Morgan’s chardonnay is labeled “Monterey” after its county of origin.
Still others, like La Follette chardonnay, use grapes from a single vineyard. La Follette produces one chardonnay from the famous Sangiocomo Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast.
• 2010 La Follette Chardonnay, Sangiacomo Vineyard, Sonoma Coast: rich and lush, with aromas and flavors of fresh bread dough, dried fruit and minerals; $38.
• 2011 Morgan “Metallico Un-Oaked Chardonnay, ” Monterey: pure, intense golden apple and citrus aromas and flavors; $21.
• 2010 Antica Estate Chardonnay, by Antinori, Napa Valley: light but rich, with aromas and flavors of peaches and golden apples; $35.
• 2009 Gloria Ferrer Chardonnay, Carneros: crisp, with intense, pure flavors of lemons and golden apples; $18.
• 2010 Franciscan Estate “Cuvee Sauvage” Chardonnay, Napa Valley: rich and hearty, with flavors of ripe pears and spices; $40.
• 2011 Woodbridge Chardonnay, California: full and rich, with spiced apple pie aromas and flavors; $8.