Wine review: Cucao Chardonnay Reserva 2006

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I stumbled on this at an importer tasting, and I don't know that I would have tried it if Sergio Reyes Moore of Geo Wines hadn't insisted. After all, who needs to taste yet another New World, over-oaked chardonnay?

Which goes to prove one of the the Wine Curmudgeon's most important rules: Don't pre-judge wine. The Cucao (about $12) is as far from New World, over-oaked chardonnay as possible. It's made with 15 percent marsanne, a Rhone grape used mostly for blending. This gives the wine a freshness that most inexpensive chardonnays don't have, and it adds some tropical flavors that make it a more versatile food wine. Think Asian or Cajun, which is usually too spicy for chardonnay. And it wouldn't be bad with roast chicken, either.

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