I was pleasantly surprised with this Chardonnay because I’ve been tasting a number of Balletto wines this summer, and though they’ve been well-liked at the dinner table this is the first one I’ve wanted to write about.

The first sip shows that this is definitely not what you’d expect of a popular “California Chard.” It’s much leaner and quite lemony, more Chablis style than Californian, with lemon notes running through the palate, followed by pear and peach. Overall, the wine is very light and almost astringent, with citrusy acidity persevering through into the finish. Its acidity makes it a good food wine, and it pairs with a variety of light foods including fish and tomato dishes.

Recommended — BSE

WHO: Balletto Vineyards

WHAT: Chardonnay

WHERE: Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California

HOW MUCH: around $18   (media sample)