Appellation: Columbia Valley
This family-owned and operated winery in Richland, Wash., continues its reputation for affordable quality, and second-generation winemaker Megan Hughes oversaw one of the Pacific Northwest's biggest and easily attained bargains. Grapes from her folks Caroway Vineyard was blended with lots from Arete Vineyard, Lonesome Spring Ranch and Crawford Vineyard for this Chardonnay, influenced by some neutral French oak and roundness created by partial malolactic fermentation. That results in complex aromas of pineapple, peaches and crème brûlée that transition to flavors of apricot, peach and cantaloupe. They all are backed by a fresh, fun and snappy finish. It earned Wine Press Northwest magazine's top rating in a recent judging of Northwest Chardonnay.
Rating: Outstanding! by Great Northwest Wine. (13.4% alc.)
Production: 13,940 cases
Food pairings: Enjoy with bowl of Carrot Ginger with Crème Fraîche soup, tortellini, fish and chips or roasted game hen, all of which are on the menu of chef Josh Krueger at the recently remodeled The Kitchen at Barnard Griffin.
Barnard Griffin, 878 Tulip Lane, Richland, 509-627-0266, www.barnardgriffin.com.