Chardonnay, a wine that's notoriously difficult to match with food, finds its soul mate in a luscious salmon potpie.

Perfect Wine Match

Chardonnay may be the best-selling wine in America, but it's one of the most difficult to pair with food. With its ripe fruitiness, full body and creamy texture, Chardonnay--particularly California Chardonnay--can overwhelm many dishes. Yet California Chards find their true match in this salmon potpie; the fish, cream, smoky bacon and buttery pastry mirror the wine's personality. However, because California Chardonnay styles can vary widely, the trick is to choose a wine that has both the weight to stand up to the richness of this dish and enough acidity to cut through the cream. The elegant yet structured 2000 Beaulieu Vineyard Carneros ($18), with its bright apple and pear flavors and crisp acidity, hits all the right notes, while the 2000 Geyser Peak Russian River Valley ($16) strikes a balance between green apple and citrus flavors, creamy texture and refreshing acidity.

--Linda Murphy