The French model

2010 Three Sticks Wines Chardonnay Durell Vineyard, Sonoma, $55

2011 Sanford Winery Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills, $30

2012 Stoller Family Estate Chardonnay, Dundee Hills, Oregon, $25

2010 Chehalem Chardonnay "Ian's Reserve," Willamette Valley, Oregon, $35

Old vines speak louder than younger vines. Vines in their 40s and older tend to speak their vineyard sites very clearly, with great distinction.

2011 Stony Hill Chardonnay, Napa Valley, $42

2010 Hanzell Vineyards Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley, $70-$75

If your wine store does not carry these wines, ask for one similar in style and price.

Bill St John has been writing and teaching about wine for more than 40 years.