By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

My lukewarm feelings towards barrel-fermented chardonnay are well documented, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the qualities that a cool growing climate bring to the category.

Lucas Vineyards 2008 Chardonnay ($14) shows great balance from start to finish, which is something worth noting in any wine.

The nose is decidedly oak-inflected with toasted marshmallows and hazelnuts layered with pineapple, mango, roasted apple fruit aromas.

Medium-bodied with a bright, fresh attack that brings sweet apple and pineapple fruit, this wine turns creamy and vanilla-tinged on the mid-palate before getting nutty as it ends on a medium-length finish.

It's not something I'd drink every day, but there are truckloads of New York chardonnay — many more expensive — that don't show well-balanced, integrated acidity that this one does. And at $14, it's a good value.

I'll even admit to having a glass of this at the end of a recent flight of Finger Lakes whites.

Producer: Lucas Vineyards
AVA: Finger Lakes
ABV: 12%
Price: $14*
25 (2.5 out of 5 | Average-to-Very Good)
(Ratings Guide)