1997 Forman Napa Valley Chardonnay About $25

Ric Forman is a winemaker's winemaker, quietly crafting gorgeous Chardonnays and Cabernets at his Napa Valley estate. The fact that he's an avid cook must have something to do with why his wines go so beautifully with food. His 1997 Chardonnay should appeal to fans of Chardonnays made in an austerely elegant style that lets the quality of the fruit shine through. Neither over-oaked or overripe, it has a firm acidity and an extraordinary balance, making it a stark contrast to all those overblown Chardonnays that give this grape a bad name.

Last Sunday, I opened the bottle, used a splash to steam the clams for a spaghetti alle vongole, and then drank the rest with the dish. Perfect.

Available at most fine wine shops. If you can't find this wine, ask your local store to order it from Estate Wines Ltd., (800) 949-3001.

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