These picks are great to take to a party because they have a big personality; they make an impression with their charisma. Any one of these in our line-up is sure to make you a popular guest.

Kung Fu Girl, 2016 Washington State Riesling, 12%, $12 . This is a global citizen of sorts. It marries well with food across the board because it has impeccable balance; it has great minerality and crisp acidity coupled with notes of white peach, apricot and lime.

Roederer Estate NV Anderson Valley Brut Sparkling Wine, 12%, $24. A complex sparkler with layered flavors. Floral, with notes of red apple, cinnamon and yeast. Rich and supple, yet vibrant. Well-crafted.

The Husch, 2016 Late Harvest Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer, with the 375 ml bottle at $25.

The Husch is a sweet treat, an irresistible dessert wine. What makes it a standout is its lush texture. This is a silky, late harvest gewürztraminer with aromas and flavors of apricot, honey and clove. It’s complex and rich, and it lingers on the palate, sip after sip.

Tablas Creek, 2013 Grenache, 15.5%, $45. This grenache has black fruit aromas but it’s weighted to red on the palate. It has notes of wild strawberry and cherry, riding on crisp acid. It also has a hint of leather and chocolate in the mix. This wine is 100% grenache and its tangy fruit makes it delicious.

Black Kite, 2015 Sierra Mar Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay, 14.1%, $48. A tropical chardonnay with generous fruit – peach, kiwi and guava. Fleshy, albeit elegant. Lush, yet balanced. Rock star.

Drop dead gorgeous chardonnays


Three Sticks

Three Sticks, 2015 Durell Vineyard, Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, 14.5% alcohol, $55. ★★★★1/2

A chardonnay with great complexity — bright stone fruit, hazelnut and creme brulee. Lush, but manages to be balanced. Great minerality. Supple texture, with a lingering finish. Absolutely knockout.


Merry Edwards, 2014 Olivet Lane, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Chardonnay, 14%, $60. ★★★★1/2: This is a striking chardonnay with great depth. Notes of melon, fig and spice. Supple texture. Rich, yet balanced. Nice length. Extremely well crafted. Impressive.

Cuvaison, 2015 Adda Carneros, Napa Valley Chardonnay, 14.2%, $26. ★★★1/2: This is a pretty chardonnay weighted to stone fruit — peach and apricot. A hint of honeysuckle and a splash of lime in the mix. A steal for the price.

Dierberg, 2014 Dierberg Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay, 13.8%, $32. ★★★★: A blousy chardonnay with rich flavors, but it has a nice underpinning of bright acidity. Notes of ripe apple, melon and toasty oak. Lovely.

Bravium, 2015 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, 14.1%, $25. ★★★★: A chardonnay that over delivers for the price. Layered with notes of pineapple, toast, honey and honeydew. Bright acidity, coupled with good minerality. The pineapple gives this chardonnay a refreshing twist. Delightful.

Peg Melnik’s Tasting Room blog