Chardonnay holds an important place in most American wine lovers\u2019 hearts: It was probably the first white wine many of us tried from California. Whether fermented in stainless-steel tanks or small oak barrels, it is still the white that most Americans reach for in the wine shop or at the grocery store, and it\u2019s present on countless restaurant wine lists. The variety has stayed constant, but the style and quality of these wines has evolved greatly over the decades.\r\n\r\nToday, Chardonnay spans multiple styles. The butter-driven, high-alcohol style once synonymous with American Chardonnay\u2014and the one that spurred the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) backlash\u2014has given way to crisp, food-friendly offerings, more in step with the increasing American (and my own) taste for high-acid whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Gr\u00fcner Veltliner.\r\n\r\nWhere once consumers and vintners couldn\u2019t get enough of amped-up oaky richness, today, it\u2019s a badge of honor to produce an unoaked Chardonnay that balances freshness and complexity. Ultimately, whether the style is unoaked or barrel-fermented, winemakers are producing delicious examples of this all-American variety at all price points.\r\n\r\nCalifornia Editor Steve Heimoff joins other tasters of American wines on our panel to explore these diverse Chardonnay styles and top picks, revealing a few surprises along the way. From California, Washington, Virginia and beyond, American Chardonnay is an excellent summer sip that pairs with myriad dishes.\r\n\r\nOn the other side of the globe in South Africa, another white of complexity and elegance\u2014Chenin Blanc\u2014is making waves. Tasting Director Lauren Buzzeo explores the wines, faces and places of this iconic South African white.\r\n\r\nSummer is the perfect season to experience Sonoma County\u2019s bounty of epicurean delights, the focus of Contributing Editor Virginie Boone\u2019s piece. This insider\u2019s guide to the artisanal food-and-beverage scene for which the California county is famous is a mandatory read for anyone with a taste for the best in America\u2019s burgeoning local culinary movement.\r\n\r\nWherever you are in the country, as you celebrate the Fourth of July and the summer months, raise a glass to the great things available to us on our own home soil.