Domaine Bernier Loire Valley (France) Chardonnay 2005
Imported by Vineyard Brands, $10
This value-priced chardonnay tastes crisp and bright. It comes from the western Loire Valley, an unexpected place for this Burgundy grape variety, and is made in a fresh, unoaked style, nothing like the famed (and costly) Burgundy crus. Though unconventional, it’s delicious, with fruit flavors that echo pears and apples, and an enticing hint of minerality beneath the surface. It’s also a steal at the price. One caveat: Because freshness and verve constitute this wine’s appeal, it very much is one to drink rather than cellar. Enjoy it all summer long, but don’t expect it to ever taste better than it does right now.