Recently, I lured four of my fellow wine-loving editors into joining me in the F&W Tasting Room. The bait? Thirty-six bottles of wine: Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and red blends from around the world, concealed in paper bags. I asked my colleagues to taste all those wines blind and name three favorites. Since each of the editors I enlisted prefers a different wine styleone loves rich, fruit-forward bottles, another likes the lean, minerally kindI guessed their wine picks would follow suit. (And they did.) To locate the wines you'll like best from among the choices below, simply identify the editor whose wine personality best matches your own.
Ray Isle, Wine Editor
"As a wine writer, I try to keep an open mind when I'm tasting. But personally I prefer wines that express a distinct sense of place."
2006 Domaine Oudin Les Serres Chablis ($28)
When I drink Chardonnay at home, I always tend toward the classic wet-stone austerity of Chablis. I could tell this precise, graceful wine was from Chablis the instant I tasted it.
2005 Philippe Bornard Arbois Pupillin Pinot Noir L'Aide Memoire ($30)
Somewhat to my surprise, I loved this funky, savory Pinotits flavors are so lively they almost seem to vibrate on the tongue. It's from a small producer in France's Jura region.
2006 Falernia Carmenère Syrah Reserva ($12)
This Chilean red, all violets and black pepper, reminded me more than a little bit of an intense Syrah from France's northern Rhône Valleywhich made more sense once I learned that it comes from one of Chile's coldest wine regions, the Elqui Valley.
Mary Ellen Ward, Managing Editor
"I'm mostly a cocktail drinker, but with a meal, I prefer wineideally one that's fruit-forward and smooth, without a lot of tannins."
2007 Francis Ford Coppola Director's Cut Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($20)
It would be hard to find a more classic California Chardonnaythe bottling's luscious texture, soft acidity and sweet oak notes made it Mary Ellen's favorite in the lineup.
2007 Feudo Arancio Stemmari Pinot Noir ($10)
This affordable Pinot Noir, from vineyards located on the southern coast of Sicily, is straightforward and ebulliently fruity. It's an approachably delicious wine.
2007 Bodega Tikalo Albaliza Tinto ($9)
Kristin Donnelly, Associate Food Editor
"I prefer wines that are lean, minerally and brightand often ones made by biodynamic or organic artisanal producers."
2005 Jacques Puffeney Arbois Chardonnay ($27)
This crisp white from France's Jura region, made in stainless steel and old oak foudres (huge barrels), has an exotic, savory aroma.
2008 Thierry Puzelat Touraine Pinot Noir ($20)
Puzelat uses fruit from several organically and biodynamically farmed vineyards in France's Loire Valley for this raspberry-scented, earthy red, which has an intense purity of flavor.
2007 Perrin Nature Côtes du Rhône ($14)
Made by the famed Perrin family of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this well-priced red, produced from organically farmed Grenache and Syrah grapes, is earthy, spicy and, to Kristin, unmistakably French.
Megan Krigbaum, Assistant Wine Editor
"I crave wines that have real substance to them. If the flavor seems diluted, that's definitely not the choice for me."
2008 Trivento Golden Reserve Chardonnay ($21)
This Argentinean Chardonnay, from a winery owned by Chilean wine giant Concha y Toro, was Megan's favorite in the tasting. She especially liked its distinctive apple-fennel-herb notes.
2007 St. Innocent Villages Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($22)
The clear flavors and elegant structure of this Oregon Pinot Noir make it very appealing. It's a blend of grapes from three different vineyards in the Willamette Valley.
2007 Quinta de Roriz Prazo de Roriz ($16)
"This is such a happy wine," Megan said, "with great spiciness and cherry-red berry fruit." It's from a fantastic vintage for Portugal's Douro Valley.
Emily Kaiser, Associate Food Editor
"As a food editor and a former restaurant cook, I tend to like wines that are particularly food-friendly and balanced."
2007 St. Francis Wild Oak Chardonnay ($25)
Emily felt this impeccably balanced Sonoma Chardonnay would be great with a Mediterranean dish, like braised chicken with olives and lemons.
2008 Pali Huntington Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir ($19)
This California Pinot Noir from the Pali Wine Company delivers a wonderful combination of wood, fruit and gaminess.
2006 Maison Bouachon Les Rabassières Côtes du Rhône ($17)
This tea-leafy red from France has a fragrant, food-friendly spiciness.