I genuinely like this style of California Chardonnay. Oak, cream and butter go hand-in-hand with melon, citrus and bright apple smells and flavors. I like its youthful spirit (comes from healthy acidity and fresh fruit flavors) and at the same time has those luscious Chardonnay sensations (toasty barrel, unsalted butter, caramel) that work so well with the grape. I could hardly believe the wine is only $28 (the function of owning your vineyards for the last 28 years). This easily makes my Best of the Best list.

All Oak Knoll District (Southwest Napa benchland) fruit. The relatively moderate temperatures (relative to Napa Valley as a whole) is well-suited to make rich Chardonnay with a swipe of acidity. That’s the case here. Winemaking in a nutshell: barrel fermented, all French oak (20% new), lees stirred regularly (for creamy effect and butterscotch), 100% ML (for more creamy texture and buttery notes).

I tasted this at Darms Lane, overlooking their vineyards. It’s a beautiful spot and worth booking a visit here for the wines, the view and the hospitality. Beware: you’ll end up buying some bottles to take home!