If you like your Chardonnays with a strong tropical fruit presence, Monterrey County is the appellation you want, and there are many low- to medium-priced wines from Monterey. Hess Select, $8.99 at Costco, is a prime example.
Pineapple is sweet but pleasantly tart. Add a few twists of lemon and/or lime, and you have a refreshing glass of Chardonnay. It's a bit too dramatic for some tasters, and not very subtle, but that's what I want when I open a bottle of Monterrey Chardonnay. You can find many of the same qualities from Estancia and J. Lohr Riverside. Chalone, a premium estate, also produces a modestly price Monterrey cuvee ($12 to $15). For the most part, these tropical fruit traits do not come from winemaker manipulation but from the Monterrey climate, with warm sun and cool ocean breezes.