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This quartet 'sings' in unique harmony

Fritz features different chardonnay styles
Fritz features different chardonnay styles
Julia Hollister

Chardonnay at Fritz Cellars breaks some rules when it presents styles that range from crisp wines to full bodied “cocktail” wines.

“Chardonnay is often called the winemakers’ grape, as we are able to use a number of styles and techniques during the winemaking process,” said winemaker Brad Longton. “As the winemaker I have the opportunity to create four chardonnays and how they different from each other.”

This Underground Winery, with its 140-year-old grape growing history, is built into the side of a hill overlooking the Cloverdale area of the iconic Dry Creek Valley.

The medium bodied 2012 Russian River Valley chardonnay ($25) showcases an inviting array of aromas: apricot with notes of melon and young pea shoots. It has a creamy texture with flavors of apricot, dried fruits and almonds. Pour this slightly chilled with lobster slathered in butter.

The cool climate of the Sonoma Coast region influences the grapes harvested for the 2012 Jenner chardonnay ($18). Radiant aromas of lemon peal and pineapple mingle with layers of guava and hint of lilac. Flavors of bright citrus, pineapple and a touch of pear add to the symphony. Roast chicken with tangerines would pair nicely.

Fritz's portfolio continues to please with the 2012 Vino Valpredo chardonnay ($20). Aromas of white peach, nectarine, orange rind and whispers of honeysuckle tempt the senses. This selection boasts bright acidity and citrus on the palate. Serve crab cakes with horseradish cream along side.

Aged in 80 percent French oak for 10 months, the 2012 Reserve chardonnay ($55) opens with rich texture and baked pear, apricot and citrus notes. This varietal presents decadent flavors of apricot, pear and lemon cream pie and whispers of vanilla bean. Pour this with linguine in a rich butter and cream sauce.