Waterstone Carneros Chardonnay 2013

Waterstone Carneros Chardonnay 2013: Sharp yellow-gold straw color; apple, citrus nose; green apple, grapefruit, nectarine, pear on the palate;

medium body; crisp, bright acidity; deftly restrained oak and malolactic produces nice balance and structure with vanilla and butter hints (some reviews of previous vintages assert Waterstone goes a little overboard on the oak, but they seem to have achieved the right balance in 2013, allowing the fruit to play the lead role). This is easy-going drinker, uncomplicated, approachable; you are not drinking CHARDONNAY!, you are enjoying a polite expression of the grape that would work as an aperitif or paired with fish, lobster in cream sauce, lighter meats (no tomato sauces need apply), with its lively acidity complementing the fare. It develops very nicely with air, btw, so consider decanting or letting it swirl in big glass. Waterstone brings the n├ęgociant model to Carneros (an American Viticultural Area north of San Pablo Bay that includes part of Napa and Sonoma); noted winemaker Philip Zorn and seasoned wine executive Brent Shortridge own neither vines nor a winery, but they do call upon long-term relationships with grape growers and wineries to produce their style of luxury wines at affordable pricing. This is nice, unassuming effort that pleases the palate by allowing chardonnay to be chardonnay. $18 Waterstone Carneros Chardonnay