The 2012 Gnarly Head Chardonnay, sourced from vineyards in California's Lodi and Monterey regions, displays its juicy, fruit-forward character even before first sip, with a bouquet compounded of pronounced pear and a nectarine kicker. Find it at bay area big-box stores for about $8.
To heighten the fruit, this accessible white blends chardonnay juice with 10 percent chenin blanc, 4 percent malvasia bianca and 2 percent viognier. The blending grapes contribute substantially to the big pear that dominates on the tongue, abetted by golden delicious apple and nuanced with touches of honeysuckle, vanilla, oak and ginger. The finish is moderately long, moderately dry and just as fruit juicy as the wine is through mid-palate.
Try this light-bodied but flavorful chard with crab cakes, a grilled chicken sandwich or a white pizza topped with marinated artichoke wedges.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.