Cheap producers bear much of the blame for chardonnay's bad name. Put the grape in the hands of good growers, and it can be a fine wine and, at its height, superb.
For honest farming and enjoyable winemaking, you can trust the Kunde family. They have picked a century of harvests from vines in the center of the Sonoma Valley. Their focus on sustainable practices means they'll keep at it.
Their chardonnay is just as balanced, a friendly fruit basket with more pears and peaches than green apples, and oak, plus enough vanilla and spice for a pie. Almost creamy, but still crisp. (For a change, Kunde also makes a chard without barrel aging called Nu for its nakedness.)
A great everyday chardonnay? We should be so lucky. A treat worth a weekend dinner around fish or chicken on the grill.
Availability: Approximately $15, wine shops and better liquor stores.
Chris Sherman, Times staff writer