July 24, 2007

Climbing 2006 Orange Chardonnay, about $14

As a category, chardonnay under $20 is a minefield, but in among all the unctuous, oaky or tasteless examples, here's a gem. It's from Orange in New South Wales, Australia, one of the few appellations defined by altitude — the vineyards start at 1,968 feet above sea level. Its cool temperatures and limestone soils drew Philip Shaw, winemaker for nearly 20 years at Rosemount Estate, to the area in the late 1980s. They've allowed him to make chardonnay like this: cool and elegant, with crisp apple flavors heightened by a mere hint of vanilla.

Distributed by National Distributing Co., Denver, Colorado

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