Wharton 2010 ChardonnayYou open a bottle of Wharton Napa Valley Chardonnay and pour a glass. You notice the color: light yellow with just a touch of gold. You smell, you sip, you contemplate. Depending on your experience tasting wine or the sophistication of your palate, you may pick up on various flavors in this wine – oak certainly, and perhaps lime or butterscotch or pear or wet stones. But no matter how expert you are in wine tasting, there's one attribute in this particular wine that you won't taste, see, or smell. And yet, it may be the wine's most important quality.

With his 2010 Napa Valley Chardonnay, winemaker Geoff Wharton honors his father, Al Wharton, who died that year from lung cancer. According to the Wharton Wines website, the winery will donate all net proceeds from the 2010 Chardonnay to the Lung Cancer Foundation of America. The Whartons' goal is to "remember and honor Al" and raise awareness of this devastating disease. (This is particularly meaningful to me, as one of my friends was diagnosed with lung cancer.)

Wharton Napa Valley Chardonnay is a wine for people who like chardonnay with well integrated oak. It's by no means a heavy chardonnay; the oak is nicely balanced with good acidity, lively fruit, and a touch of minerality. But it's certainly not a lean or crisp wine, in the style of certain unoaked chardonnays that are popular today. In my opinion, it offers the kind of classic Napa Valley chardonnay style that established this varietal so successfully in the US.

You can learn more about this wine on the winey's website. Contact Geoff Wharton to place an order. The wine was produced in very limited quantities, so you should act soon if you're interested. For its quality, the wine is reasonably priced. Your palate will be pleased, and you'll be happy knowing that your purchase is helping to support a good cause.

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