For those California dreamers out there, we offer up this tasty trio of blended whites, straight from the vines of the Golden State.
I'm really glad we live in a post-Newtonian universe, where quantum theory reigns. I was getting tired of the previous scientific paradigm - you know, the old two-plus-two-always-equals-four baloney. These days, two plus two might equal four, or it might not, depending on how close you're standing to the action. In other words, the whole might be greater than the sum of its parts.

I'm not really a physicist, although I did use a differential equation just last week to calculate the projected increase in my belt line over the next five years. When it comes to my real area of expertise, wine, the rules are surprisingly similar: If the blend is right, the result can be greater than the sum of the individual varietals used.

Blending wine is both an art and a science, adding an extra level of challenge for the winemaker and an extra dimension of complexity to the finished wines. Some consultants make a handsome living by flying in just for the blending sessions. Even wines that are labeled as single varietals often have small percentages of other grapes blended in. (It pays to read back labels, which are often informative sources for this kind of info.)

A blend is a complex equation, a sort of calculus for the taste buds. Fortunately, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that these three summery whites exhibit the dynamics and synergy that good blends should have.
BERINGER ALUVIUM BLANC 1998 ($16)
Beringer is one of the great success stories of American wine. The company celebrates its 125th anniversary this year and is Napa Valley's oldest continuously operating winery.