Bob’s Pick: 2015 Adelsheim Willamette Valley Chardonnay, $17.99

I really want to like domestic Chardonnay, but the sweeter, oakier, big and buttery California Chardonnays are just not my style. Where there is new hope, however, is out of Oregon, but it has taken a while. In its developmental stages the nascent Oregon wineries were certain that, because they grew great Pinot Noirs like Burgundy, they could also grow wonderful Chardonnays. But, they went about it a bit wrongly to start. What they did was bring up cloned vines from California—it’s not that far away. Unfortunately, the Chardonnay vines that thrived in the hotter climes of California, in Oregon, too often made lean, overly acidic wine. Frustrated, but not beaten, David Adelsheim (of Adelsheim Winery of course) had a bit of Wiley Coyote genius moment, and in 1984 went to France to bring back some Dijon Clones. Oh yeah. Cool climate to cool climate; it worked. True to the grape’s heritage they decided against new oak barrel ageing and full malolactic secondary fermentation. The impressive result is a crisp, clean Chardonnay, uncluttered by manipulated flavors, but accented with apple brightness and hints of lemon zest. More food friendly than cocktailable, this is a wine to open your evening along with those light nibbles or with chicken or fish with lighter sauces. If you are a fan of French Chardonnays, this is your baby too, and at a more domestic price!