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
From a prime spot in Rutherford comes this high-end cuvée. The '99 Quintessa is intense, vibrant and concentrated, with firm, complex currant, cedar, anise and black cherry fruit. Tightly wound, with chewy tannins, it can stand short-term cellaring. Best —James Laube
Another fine offering from this winery, the '00 Chardonnay has a lot to admire. Ripe, rich, full-blown style, it serves up layers of complex fig, citrus, hazelnut, pear and appley flavors, finishing long and detailed. Drink now through 2006. 2,400 cases m —James Laube
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