“This is my favorite chardonnay,” said LL. “Of all time.”

High praise from a woman who is very critical of chardonnays, having lived in California long enough to become palate-fatigued and spiritually-wearied by over-rich, over-oaken and over-blown models.

We were having a pasta of grilled salmon with a bit of sauteed kale and leeks, and I had opened a bottle of Louis Jadot’s ljj023.jpg Saint-Véran Domaine de la Chapelle aux Loups 2006. This is — especially for the price — a remarkably pure and flavorful chardonnay, almost crystalline in intensity.

Saint-Véran is a small all-chardonnay region in the Mâconnais, south of Burgundy proper. The 10-acre property surrounds an actual Chapel of the Wolves, dating from the 13th century.

The wine offers beautiful aromas of green apple, pear and quince, with hints of camellia. It would be tempting just to smell this wine, but fortunately in the mouth it delivers a winsome combination of roasted lemon and lemon balm, with touches of baking spice and apple tart, and a damp stone mineral element — stony but not steely — enlivened by scintillating acid. The texture is seductively silky without sacrificing spareness and a slight muscular character. Overall, a wonderfully balanced and integrated chardonnay that would make a great house wine, whether at your house or in a restaurant. Excellent. I paid $19 for the wine; prices around the country range from $15.50 to $22.50.

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