1997 Shafer “Red Shoulder” Chardonnay

($30): Clean, “piney” fruit with a dash of oak. The palate is fruit driven but the heavily toasted oak frame clashes with it at this point. The texture is creamy but not overdone. I’ve not been a big fan of this bottling in past vintages but I would say that this is the best of the three (’95-’97) that I’ve had. If you’re a fan of California Chardonnay and are willing to part with $30 for a bottle, search this one out.

JD (3/99)