Chardonnay’s charms make it a favorite white wine

Merlot Cab and Chard Family Bottle Shot-1.jpg
Merlot, cabernet and chardonnay wines in the Greystone label, recently revived by Markham Winery.

Chardonnay is grown worldwide. Styles differ, quality varies, but it's the grape that for many imbibers is synonymous with a glass of white wine. The next time you see one of these on the shelf or in the rack, give in.

In the less-than-$20 range, look for the citrusy, fragrant 2012 Joseph Drouhin Laforêt Bourgogne Chardonnay ($14.50); appley, peachy, easygoing 2013 Silver Palm Chardonnay ($15); balanced 2013 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay ($19); and a delightful wine from a producer revered for sauvignon blanc, the 2014 Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay East Coast, New Zealand ($18).

A bit higher: the crisp, fruity 2013 Cambria Estate Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay ($22); the bright, peachy 2013 La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($23); and the floral, toasty, citrusy 2013 Davis Bynum River West Vineyard Russian River Valley Sonoma Chardonnay ($25).

Lemon, apple and jasmine come across in the creamy, excellent 2012 Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Chardonnay ($35) from Russian River Valley. The lemony 2012 Lost Canyon Buxton Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($35) is lush, versatile, very appealing.

The outstanding 2013 Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay ($52) delivers tropical and citrus fruits, spirited acidity and typical depth. The rich, fruity, complex 2012 Patz & Hall Zio Tony Ranch Chardonnay ($65) would have pleased my Uncle Tony, too. And enjoy the layered, lively, focused, buttery 2012 Paul Hobbs Edward James Estate Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($75), with notes of pear and vanilla.

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