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flowers chard One of Samuel Beckett’s characters in The Expelled said,“I have always been amazed at my contemporaries’ lack of finesse, I whose soul writhed from morning to night, in the mere quest of itself.”   Finesse is not always a good thing, especially when in the service of self-abasement.

But, in wine, finesse is always desirable. The Flowers 2009 Chardonnay performs a ballet in the mouth.

Despite its creamy texture it is very light on the palate, even delicate. Red apple, white flowers, walnut, a hint of honey, and lemon flavors dart like a thousand tiny arrows carried by persistent but never biting acidity and refreshing minerality. Subtle toast rounds out the flavor profile and introduces the long citrus-infused finish.

On the Chardonnay spectrum, this one tends toward the cool to moderate weather flavors and restrained but deftly presented oak. Yet it has plenty of power. I paired it with naked crab cakes that struggled to match the wine’s intensity—a saffron alioli would have helped. It was a perfect match for the side dish of swiss chard and caramelized onions—don’t be shy about pairing this with strong flavors.

At around $40 this is not inexpensive, but if you decide to splurge a bit this will not disappoint.

14.2% alcohol. Opened on 8/2/2012.

Good: Finesse

Bad: I can’t find a flaw

Distinctive: Charming use of oak