At least one wine writer has described the 2011 Creme de Lys California Chardonnay, available at local supermarkets and wine-savvy markets in the $10 to $11 range, as plump. We can't think of a better one-word description of this creamy beast.
Aging on the lees and several months in predominantly French oak yield a chard that is mellow to the max, so subtly blended and exuberantly frothy that fruit is almost an afterthought. Its dominant flavor is warm buttered toast, with understated vanilla and lemon leading the way on the nose. On the palate, lush cream underpinned by subtle oak, vanilla and whispery cantaloupe make for a mouth-filling wine of balance, elegance and restraint. The finish is long, silky and surprisingly dry for such a plush wine.
Try it on its own at the end of the day or pair it with assertively flavored dishes like blackened sea scallops, a spicy green Thai curry or even - and we know this is heresy - steak au poivre.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.