The Wine Idiot Reviews: Trader Joe's Platinum Reserve Chardonnay, Oakville 2013 ($14.99)
This was definitely an expensive trip to Trader Joe's. I purchased the Ocean View Pinot Noir and this chardonnay at the same time, and I winced a little when I realized I was spending $30 of my grocery budget on wine ("hahahahahahahhahaa," my mother is saying, followed by: "BUDGET! Snort!").
But that friendly sommelier who helped me pick the pinot noir was SO excited when I said, "y'know...I got this chardonnay once..." If you've read my first installment of this series, you know this is a dragon I've been chasing. It was a $10-12 chardonnay that I'd grabbed at the insistent urging of another TJ's sommelier, even though I have always hated chardonnay, and it BLEW MY DAMN MIND. So when this guy said, "the Platinum Reserve bottles are even better than the black labels," my fate was sealed. Into the cart it went.
NOT DISAPPOINTED IN MY DECISION. THIS IS DELICIOUS. And if you like chardonnay, get in your car right now and go buy a couple bottles at your local TJ's. It's really that good. In fact, I picked up ANOTHER bottle the last time I was at Trader Joe's, even though I can't review it again (wait can I review it again?).
It smells sweet, light, grassy even. Definitely has some pear notes. It's not cloying like a "buttery" chardonnay--it's very smooth at first, then it just sort of explodes into fruit flavors. It has a crisp, clean finish. Yet, for all it's fruitiness and lightness, it doesn't taste like a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. It still has notes of that rich, smooth, utterly distinct "chardonnay" flavor. I wrote in my tasting notes, "THIS MUST BE WHY PEOPLE LIKE CHARDONNAY."
What the bottle says: Nothin'. Nada. It's a reprint of the front of the bottle, which indicates it is an "Oakville" wine from Napa Valley, and this is Lot #76 (2,746 cases were produced, in case you were wondering).
What the Wine Idiot says: Go get it. If you like chardonnay, get it. If you don't like chardonnay, definitely get it, because you can test-drive a smoother/richer white without going "ick." The OTHER reason you should get it is...
ABV: 14.8%, and I swear you don't even notice.
Who's responsible for this: Check out this super-secretness-- "Cellared & Bottled by Behind the Scene Wine Company, Napa, CA." WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN.
Do I need a corkscrew? Obviously.
What do smarter people say about it? Not a lot, apparently. No reviews. I can't even find a Fearless Flyer article telling me what it tastes like. I feel like this means that even Trader Joe's knows it won't be around for long.
Should I bring it to a friend's house? If that friend will appreciate it. If they're the kind of person who sees a Trader Joe's label and doesn't know that it can be a GREAT find, I'd save $10 and take a bottle of Pacific Grove Chardonnay instead. And buy this bottle for yourself. Teehee.