SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Please don’t say you don’t like Chardonnay until you try the 2012 Toad Hollow Unoaked Chardonnay from Mendocino County. I think a lot of people are turned off by Chardonnay because it’s so buttery. Usually that means it’s an overly oak-y wine that’s frequently high in alcohol content.

Toad Hollow’s version has never been in oak barrels and is under 14 percent alcohol and is delicious. It’s crisp with tropical fruit aromas and makes for a perfect luncheon wine on a warm day. I recommend it with grilled fish or chicken. At $14.99 its pretty nicely priced.

You should also try the 2011 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County. This wine has a fine, medium deep color with a spicy bouquet of berries and chocolate. It’s actually quite supple on the palate. Both balanced and drinkable, this wine is supple on the palate. It’s another great value at $20 a bottle.


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