American chardonnay standouts

Vanilla and apple highlight the vivid 2010 Jordan

Vanilla and apple highlight the vivid 2010 Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay. (Credit: Handout)

In the middle of the London Olympics, the temptation is to discuss ales, gins and teas. But, to support the U.S. team, this is all about American chardonnay.

California produces 90 percent of America's wine. And chardonnay is the most widely planted grape. You could drink a chardonnay every day for years and only taste a sample. Here are six contenders for the gold, under-$50 division, 2010 vintage.

The supple 2010 Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard Chardonnay ($28) is full of pear, peach and citrus. Sample it with that other American treat, lobster.

Full-bodied and versatile, the 2010 Sanford Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay ($28) comes through with citrus and pineapple. The balanced wine works with grilled seafood and fried chicken.

Vanilla and apple highlight the vivid 2010 Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($29), a layered, typically first-rate entry from a reliable producer. Perfect with lobster, and pasta with cream sauce.

Duckhorn Wine Co.'s 2010 Migration Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($30) offers a long finish, fine acidity, suggestions of pear, orange, pineapple -- a delightful wine to go with shellfish.

For lively tropical fruit notes, try the creamy, focused 2010 Chappellet Napa Valley Chardonnay ($32), excellent with lobster, crab, sauteed scallops and that assertive Long Island mainstay, bluefish.

And the elegant 2010 Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay ($48) delivers a balanced, impeccably made wine, with outstanding fruit and elements of pineapple and apricot. Ideal with shellfish, finfish, white meats. One of the best.

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