Chardonnay changes location to location, year to year. But its popularity stays constant - the name is almost synonymous with "a glass of white wine," even in the era of ever-present pinot grigio.

In anticipation of the Fourth of July, you can buy American and enjoy some terrific chardonnay, in many styles.

The 2008 Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay ($48) is a single-vineyard California dream, elegant and balanced, full of fruit and spice, with a hint of melon, a note of apricot, a minerally accent, a lot of rich flavor.

Fresh and lively, the 2008 Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($29) delivers generous fruit and fine acidity. Shaded in straw-green, it evokes green apple plus pear - a very food-friendly wine.

From Monterey County comes the very fruity 2008 Carmel Road Chardonnay Monterey ($18). The versatile wine can be enjoyed with fare ranging from fried clams and broiled scrod to pork chops and pasta with pesto.

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Vanilla and lemon highlight the lush, creamy 2008 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley Chardonnay ($35), a round, ripe production that calls for lobster. The 2008 Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay ($16), crisp and rife with tropical fruit.

Long Island's Wine of the Week

 

In time for summer's arrival: the 2009 Wölffer Classic White ($16). This is an easygoing, refreshing blend of riesling, chardonnay and gewürztraminer from the consistently first-rate Sagaponack winery. Try it with spicy Asian dishes, shellfish cocktails, seviche, maybe while wearing a bathing suit.