I've been traveling around a bit over the past couple of weeks, and now that I've landed intact it seems like time to mention a few of the things I tasted while I was gone. I'll save the ribs at Sweatman's Bar-b-cue outside Charleston, SC for another day...too much sense of loss over the fact that it's now a 715 mile drive for me to get there and eat more of them (door-to-door, and man, how much do I love Google maps?)

Instead, I'll recommend two white wines that I had during a tasting at Vintage Point in Sonoma, a kind of winery importer/wholesaler/broker/marketing firm/jack-of-all-wine-trades company. They represent a range of wines, from cult cabs like Hundred Acre down to wines the rest of us can afford; these are in the latter category.

2006 Goose Ridge Chardonnay ($15) From vineyards near the Red Mountain AVA in Washington, this had rich leesy notes in the aroma, nice Chardonnay character, and an appealing restraint (though plenty of flavor). A couple of people thought it was too oaky; I thought the lees character was more present than the oak, and liked it for that.

2006 Luna Vineyards Freakout ($15) Evidently named for the winemaker's response to Northern Italian whites (one wishes one could have been there), this Sauv Blanc-Chardonnay-Pinot Grigio-Ribolla Gialla blend opened a slight bit reductive, but resolved into round, rich pear and apple flavors with a firm texture. Good value for a general purpose, bring-it-to-dinner-parties white.