Ramey Cellars Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2011

David Ramey, the winemaker for Ramey Chardonnay is one of the preeminent Chardonnay producers in California. Lots of great blind wine tasters mistake this one for French white Burgundy in his blind tasting of the wine, while at the same time finding a sumptuousness to the fruit that’s more California. That sums it up about this wine–California decadence, Burgundian depth and expression. You’ll get a lot of exotic tropical fruit but with the zing of acidity–fresh golden pineapple comes to mind. What’s great about these wines is that they get better with age if you have the discipline to cellar them.  Ten years adds alluring notes of toffee and marzipan. Gorgeous.

Trefethen Estate Dry Riesling, Napa

Trefethen is one of the world’s best dry Rieslings. That is saying a lot given that it comes from the Napa Valley. It quivers with a crackling vibrance on the tongue, showing lovely grapefruit-lime flavors and a mineral tang. It is perfect for pairing with classic fish dishes – crab Louis, trout amandine, oysters on the half shell. It also a great Thanksgiving wine, pretty much fearless and flawless with nearly every dish on the table.

Miner Family Viognier Simpson Vineyard, California

The Miner Family Viognier is a top-notch CA Viognier for its varietal character – tangerine, honeysuckle, mango and lavender without heaviness.  Pair with seared scallops with citrus cream.

Qupe Marsanne, Santa Ynez, Valley, California

Qupe Marsanne has a fragrant lily, peach, apricot and honeysuckle notes make this a blast to pair with fusion flavors, whether Latin, Asian, BBQ or Tex Mex.  One sip and you’re hooked!

Sokol Blosser Evolution, Oregon NV

Sokol Blosser Evolution is like an aromatherapy treatment—honeysuckle, hyacinth, peach, apricot, kumquat—but a lot cheaper!  It’s yummy with summer veggies and anything barbecued, from shrimp to ribs.  Great with sushi, too.

Joseph Drouhin Pouilly-Fuisse (poo-YEE fwee-SAY), France

Joseph Drouhin Pouilly-Fuisse has scents of fresh almonds, crisp apples and a hint of citrus, plus a creamy roundness and long finish that sets this P-F apart from the pack.  Pair with caper-butter trout.

Domaine Laroche Chablis St. Martin, Burgundy, France

With the Domaine Laroche Chablis honeysuckle and Fuji apple notes leap from the glass and dance softly on the palate and finish.  The crisp acidity and makes this wine great for fried chicken.

Cave de Lugny Macon-Lugny ‘Les Charmes’

Cave de Lugny Macon-Lugny ‘Les Charmes’ from Burgundy – why pay more?  This elegant chamomile-tea-and-apples Burgundy and a plate of oysters or an herbed omelet is an instant escape to Paris, for cheap!

Chartron & Trebuchet Rully La Chaume, Burgundy, France

Chartron & Trebuchet Rully La Chaume – The kumquat-citrus flavor. rosehips, and minerality of this wine are softened by a juicy-apple palate that keeps you sipping. Pair with shallot-steamed mussels.