Labels that say “estate grown” or “estate bottled” are the wine equivalent of craft beer. In beer, the term craft is legally defined by a brewer’s production scale but implies higher quality by suggesting the beer was made with better ingredients and more attention to detail. Estate wines are roughly equivalent in terms of their association with craftsmanship and quality, but the legal criterion used to define them is vineyard ownership. Most wines are made from grapes purchased from farmers, but estate wines can be made only from the fruit of vineyards owned and tended by the winery, so in practice, they tend to be small-batch, artisanal wines made from superior fruit. Estate-grown wines, like this vibrant Monterey chardonnay from Talbott, usually cost a little more than the average. However, they amply reward with more distinctive flavors, more complex layers of scent, and a longer, more resonant finish after each sip. In the case of this wine, only a small fraction is enriched in barrels, so you’ll find a seamless blend of flavors, like ripe pineapple, lemon curd, and blanched almonds that any chef would be proud of.
Talbott Kali Hart chardonnay, Monterey, Calif., $16.99 (sale price through Oct. 1, regularly $19.99) PLCB item #6697. Also available at: Total Wine & More in Cherry Hill and Wilmington, $17.99; Traino’s Wine & Spirits in Voorhees, $17.99.