For California Chardonnay vintners, 2008 was a trying vintage amid already difficult times. Hard frosts in the spring severely damaged many prime North Coast vineyards, cutting the crop in some plots by half or more. Then forest fires burned through much of the summer, leading to smoke taint in many Mendocino wines, red and white alike.
But it is hard to derail California's Chardonnay express. The varietal remains the Golden State's most popular white, and year-in, year-out manages to produce scores of enticing wines across a wide range of styles and price points. Despite the reduced crop, 2008 gave winemakers an adequate supply of high quality grapes, resulting in intensely flavored Chardonnays with vibrant acidities.