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FlipFlop California Chardonnay

Wine: FlipFlop California Chardonnay.

Grapes: Chardonnay (95 percent), viognier (5 percent)

Region: California

Vintage: 2009

Price: $4.99

In the glass: This well-made California chardonnay is a pale golden yellow with crisp clarity going out into a glass-clear pale rim with medium-high viscosity.

On the nose: FlipFlop has immediate upfront crushed white fruits, such as pear juice and Braeburn apples as well as soft peach infused green tea, pineapple slices, vanilla custard, chalky minerals and an underlying hint of lemon rind.

On the palate: The wine reveals a flavorful balance of pears, apples and citrus on the fruit side and liquid minerals on the acidity side, with lovely smoothness and a light to medium-bodied structure that delivers a nicely balanced experience more commonly found in chardonnays that cost much more. It follows through with a nice subtle finish and shows that overachieving winemaking is not dead.

Odds and ends: While chardonnay from California remains a big favorite among consumers, spring is the time of year when we start to look for something light to drink. And although California chardonnay is less complex than its French counterpart, it is very enjoyable nevertheless. What strikes me about this particular wine is its drinkability and approachable character. The fact that it sells for less than $5 should entice you even further to try a bottle. It can be chilled to 52 degrees Fahrenheit for optimum enjoyment, and is best served with steamed or grilled white fish such as halibut or tilapia. Drink it now through 2013.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz's wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at gil@winevegas.com.

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