Some of the so-called "new California wines" could be redubbed "weird California wines." But Berkeley-based vintner Chris Brockway is all about making "great California wines," and he succeeds mightily, even with a less spendy option such as the 2013 Broc Cellars "Brea" Central Coast Chardonnay ($15). This white gem from Santa Barbara County should delight chard lovers and non-fans, as it's smooth and rich but with an underlying crispness (it's aged in stainless steel) and freshness. Laced with tropical and citrus flavors, it's seriously and persistently tasty. Try it with lemony chicken or seafood dishes (calamari!) or a similarly crisp and fresh salad, with or without protein.

Available at Henry & Son, Sunfish, McDonald's, Thomas, Zipp's, South Lyndale and others.