The more New World chardonnays I taste whose makers have jettisoned the use of oak, the more I question whether all those barrels are necessary. This bright, vibrant wine from Sebastiani conveys pure apple, lemon, smoke and mineral flavors without anything to dull them down. It's not a wine of great complexity, but it does pop on the palate and finish with bracing acidity. That beats ponderous wood flavors any day.
2008 Sebastiani Unoaked Chardonnay
From: Russian River Valley, Calif.