Great Wine Values: Bonterra Chardonnay, Mendocino County, California

Bonterra Chardonnay.

Whether we’re shopping for food or wine, organic products tend to be pricey, and understandably so. Natural farming is more labor-intensive and often yields smaller crops than conventional farming, in which chemical fertilizers and fungicides boost volume. That’s why it’s a rare treat to find this delicious organically grown chardonnay at such a remarkably fair price.

Founded in 1993, the Bonterra brand helped pioneer the shift to organic farming in California, and this chardonnay from windswept Mendocino has long been one of its flagship wines. As with many modern interpretations of the grape, this cuvée blends three types of chardonnay to craft a balanced and seamless whole. Two-thirds of the wine was fermented and aged in oak barrels that concentrate and enrich its texture. Of these, a small proportion were new barrels, whose toasted staves impart a nutty, vanilla-laced scent reminiscent of cognac. The remainder of the wine was fermented in cold, hard steel to preserve the freshness of its apple-pear flavors and provide the wine with a bracing undercurrent of quenching acidity.

Bonterra chardonnay, Mendocino County, Calif., $10.99 (regularly $14.99, sale price through June 25). PLCB Item #7395.