Everyday: There’s a buttload of mediocre to crummy cheap chardonnay out there, if my recent sample-bottle tastings are any indication. So it was refreshing to sniff and sip the Parducci Small Lot Blend Mendocino Chardonnay 2010 ($11). With an almost riesling-like nose, it delivers zesty apple and lush tropical flavors and simply glides across the palate with just the right heft. The finish is long and surprisingly crisp. Try it with crab and other shellfish or pasta with a creamy sauce or anything featuring corn.
Occasion: It’s too hot, at least in these parts, to drink anything but whites right about now. The Santiago Ruiz O Rosal ($22) is just flat yummerific, with strong peach and mint notes. This rich blend of albarino, loureiro and treixadura boasts strong aromatics and an intense mouthfeel, with stout fruit and crisp acidity fighting to a draw. I’ve been a sucker for minerally Mediterranean whites of late, and this is one of the best I’ve come across. Virtually any kind of seafood will play well with this multilayered delight. Seriously cool label, too.