2006 Luca Chardonnay Altos de Mendoza

Wine of the week
TOP PICK: It’s the wine of the week.
(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

When I first tasted this Chardonnay from fourth-generation wine producer Laura Catena, its sheer elegance blew me away. Cool and minerally, it’s made from grapes grown in higher-elevation vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina. Yields are low. It’s aged in French oak. The result is a beautifully balanced Chardonnay that can hold its own against much more expensive wines from France or California. The 2006, scented with vanilla and lime, is superb with food.

Drink it with grilled shellfish, with pan-roasted wild salmon, grilled whole fish and seared scallops.

-- S. Irene Virbila

Region: Mendoza, Argentina

Price: Under $30

Style: Elegant and beautifully balanced

Food it goes with: Shellfish, pan-roasted salmon, grilled whole fish

Where you find it: Briggs Wines and Spirits in Brentwood, (310) 395-9997,; Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463,; L.A. Wine Co. in Marina del Rey, (310) 306-9463,; Malibu Village Wines in Malibu, (310) 456-2924,