Everyday: Consumers who are mostly versed in the California iterations might not even peg the Georges duBoeuf Domaine Les CheneviÃ¨res MÃ¢con-Villages ($16) as a chardonnay. Granted, it’s more crisp, refreshing and slate-y than most any domestic chards, but the focused stone-fruit flavors and smooth texture provide hints that this is indeed made with Americans’ favorite white grape. That makes it a superb introduction to the French versions, while the acidity and elegance speak to its fondness for food: Chicken or fish dishes, especially with creamy sauces, were made for this firm but smooth white.
Occasion: Conversely, the Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($32) could be confused for a chardonnay, with its rich fruit and lush texture. This perennial delight fulfills the first mission of wine: to be delicious. An ever-shifting array of fruit “” pear here, Meyer lemon there, melon everywhere “” assaults the senses as this spicy beauty slides along the palate and finishes long and strong. The complexity make this a wonderful stand-alone wine (I can’t imagine a tastier cocktail), but it also plays well with hearty pork and spicy Asian dishes.