Chehalem 2009 Ian's Reserve Chardonnay (Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
Recommendations

★★★Exceptional  ★★Excellent ★Very Good

Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

These are chardonnays made entirely or primarily from fruit grown at Stoller Vineyards in Oregon, and others made by Greg La Follette from vineyards in California’s Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Production is limited, and the wines are available primarily in restaurants. You could do a similar comparison almost anywhere wine is made. A fine local example would be comparing the wines from Hardscrabble, Avenius and Boisseau vineyards, all made from three red blends produced by Linden Vineyards. Or simply compare stylistic differences between a cabernet sauvignon from California and another from Washington state, or even Chile.

Chehalem Winery Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay 2008/2009 Stoller Vineyards

★★1 / 2

Willamette Valley, Ore., $40

The 2008 and 2009 vintages were exceptional in Oregon, and the Ian’s Reserve is consistently one of the best chardonnays from the state: opulent in its fruit, lifted but not overwhelmed by oak and rich and creamy in texture.

Bacchus: On the list in the District at BlackSalt, Fiola, Taberna del Alabardero, Tel’Veh.

Chehalem Winery Inox Chardonnay 2009/2010

★★

Willamette Valley, Ore., $22

Fermented and aged without oak influence (thus the “Inox” name, after the French word for stainless steel), this wine was a pioneer in the “naked” trend for chardonnay. It consistently shows the true character of the fruit and picks up complexity after a few years in bottle. Local distributors are beginning to change over to the 2010, giving us an opportunity to compare the unusually ripe 2009 vintage with a more typical Oregon year.

Bacchus in the District and Maryland, Country Vintner in Virginia: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Whole Foods Market Glover Park; on the list at Bar Pilar, Brasserie Beck, Mie N Yu, Mai Thai. Available in Maryland at Finewine.com in Gaithersburg, Wine Source in Baltimore; on the list at Bluegrass Tavern, Dogwood and Salt in Baltimore; Faryab and Persimmon in Bethesda; Ray’s the Classics in Silver Spring. Available in Virginia at Iron Bridge Wine Co. in Warrenton, Planet Wine & Gourmet and Rick’s Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Wine Cabinet in Reston; on the list at Evening Star Cafe and Vermilion in Alexandria.

La Follette Manchester Ridge Chardonnay 2008

★★★

Mendocino Ridge, Calif., $50

An intense mineral structure combines with intriguing hints of spring flowers and a laserlike precision from start to lingering finish.

Elite: Available in the District at Cork & Fork, MacArthur Beverages; on the list at BlackSalt, Central Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Charlie Palmer Steak, Mio. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Curious Grape in Arlington, Balducci’s and Society Fair in Alexandria, various Whole Foods Market locations.

La Follette Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay 2010

★★1 / 2

Sonoma Coast, Calif., $40

Voluptuous in its fruit, the classic California chardonnay avoids the overwhelming buttery-popcorn flavor that made chardonnay a caricature in the 1980s. Sheer enjoyment.

Elite: Available in the District at Cork & Fork, MacArthur Beverages; on the list at BlackSalt, Central Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Charlie Palmer Steak, Mio. Available in Virginia at Arrowine and Curious Grape in Arlington, Balducci’s and Society Fair in Alexandria, various Whole Foods Market locations.