If you're in the mood for a classic, fruit-forward, oak-bolstered California-style chardonnay, consider Slow Press Chardonnay 2014 Monterey County.
Widely available at about $13 a bottle, this chardonnay boasts the attractive qualities of the California style — there are reasons such wines dominated the white-wine market for years — without some of the drawbacks.
Slow Press, part of the Wine Group conglomerate, produces just a couple of wines, this one and a Paso Robles cabernet sauvignon. The chardonnay is pressed gently and fermented slowly, to minimize acidity and let fruit flavors bloom. It's aged sur lies in American oak barrels.
The result is a bright golden wine that introduces itself with aromas of ripe pear, apple and peach and, even on the nose, a hint of oak.
Take a sip and you'll find a lot going on. The wine's texture is lush and creamy. The first flavors are pear and golden delicious apple, with touches of mango, melon, caramel, vanilla and, on the finish, ginger and nutmeg.
The oak is assertive, but rounded — none of that raw lumberyard taste. It's a supporting layer for all that rich fruit.
The classic pairing for a California chardonnay would work beautifully with this one: a freshly roasted chicken, stuffed with herbs and lemons, crisp-skinned and juicy. Or, as we sight autumn out on the horizon, think about it with a pork roast with apples and onions.
Colette Bancroft, Times staff writer