Fresh citrus, hazelnut and creamy fig flavors are elegant and well-balanced, building in intensity and complexity on the finish. Drink now through 2006. 1,500 cases made. —James Laube
Another fine '99 from Stag's Leap, the S.L.V. is firm and intense, a muscular style, with cedary oak dominating the chewy core of earthy currant, anise, tobacco and sage. Finishes with thick, integrated tannins; needs short-term cellaring. Best from 2005 —James Laube
This California Chardonnay is elegant and complex, weaving together a subtle array of ripe peach, apricot, dried fig and pretty, vanilla-scented oak. The best part is the finish, where the delicate flavors linger with vibrancy. Drink now through 2006. 1,5 —James Laube
Here's another California winery that has turned out a string of fine Chardonnays in recent years. A mix of rich, creamy pear, fig, honeysuckle and melon with a sense of elegance and finesse. Long, luxurious aftertaste. Drink now through 2006. 3,900 cases —James Laube
Owner and winemaker John Kongsgaard founded this winery in 1996, and has since turned it into one of California's top Chardonnay sources. Deliciously ripe, rich and intense, deeply concentrated, with layers of ripe fig, apricot, pear, hazelnut and citrus. —James Laube
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