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Two Chardonnays for summer drinking

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The heat waves have already arrived across the country and it's not even summer yet. And when it's hot as heck, you just want something to cool you down. Both these Chardonnays will turn the trick without breaking the bank.

Rodney Strong Chardonnay, Sonoma County, Chalk Hill 2012 ($22): Toasty oak and vanilla embraces ripe yellow apple, citrus and persimmon on the nose. It has a rich and creamy mouth entry with more yellow apple, yellow pear, citrus, quince and a dollop of (surprisingly!) peach flavors. Nicely turned out, it has the ripeness (versus sweetness from retained residual sugar) and varietal character wrapped up in a medium bodied, but very engaging, package. The flavors are finely honed with a definitive beginning, middle and end. A great example of a full on, barrel fermented, malolactic fermentation Chardonnay from the Chalk Hill appellation, which is what this fruit demands.

True Myth Chardonnay, Edna Valley 2012 ($18): The first release of this Chardonnay, produced under a brand new moniker, is another quiver in the arrow of the grape growing Niven family, known for their Baileyana and Tangent labels. Yellow pear, pineapple, vanilla and toasted oak are the aromatic markers, while the pleasant mouth entry includes flavors of citrus, pineapple and butter cream. Full bodied but not over the top, it shows some restraint in truly representing a cool climate Chardonnay. Flavors of pear, pineapple, citrus and vanilla bean continue to surface all the way to the sustained finish. Well rounded, with no rough edges, it’s truly mouth coating. An extremely well made and serious Chardonnay that’s a relative bargain.

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