The Wine Idiot Reviews: Toasted Head Chardonnay, 2014 ($7.00)
You've seen this wine. If you've ever purchased chardonnay ANYWHERE...you've seen this wine. That usually makes me go...meeeehhhhhh. NOT THAT I ASSUME IT'S BAD. I just assume it's not a hidden gem, right? And that's what I like about Trader Joe's wine or "manager's special" wines at Ralph's--hidden gems. Getting something for just a few bucks that actually drinks like MORE bucks.
So I have always passed this wine by. But when it showed up on the clearance rack of my local Ralph's for only $7, I figured it was a sign.
Chardonnay has been an acquired taste for me. I've truly come to appreciate the "buttery-ness" of chardonnay, and honestly some of my favorite wines are those few chardonnays that, upon swallowing, taste like créme brûlée. In my opinion...this one takes that a bit too far.
It ain't subtle, Toasted Head. It is just overwhelmingly vanilla-y, nutty, and swear to god, toasted coconut-y. Yes...I drank quite a lot of it. But I'm warning you--a nuanced, magical chardonnay this is not. It is probably a good white wine for winter? In that it's got a lot of dessert-y flavors without being too sweet (somehow). It's serviceable. But it's not one of my favorites. I'd take my chances with a black-label TJ's chardonnay any day.
What the bottle says: "Toasted Head is named for the age-old practice of toasting barrel heads with fire, which is what helps to create the distinct toasted flavor in all our wines. Our chardonnay is barrel fermented, imparting a unique richness and complexity to the wine, complemented by tropical fruit, peaches and pineapple on the palate. The finish is well-rounded with toasted coconut and butterscotch notes."
What the Wine Idiot says: There ya have it! Apparently "toasty" is absolutely what this wine is going for. So...yeah. It is. I agree with "rich" and with a tiny bit of the fruitiness described, and I vehemently agree with how they describe the finish. BUTTERSCOTCH. 100% yes.
ABV: 14% - this shit will get you DRUNK.
Who's responsible for this? Produced & Bottled by Toasted Head Winery, Acampo, CA (This makes me wonder if they make any other wines other than chardonnay and if maybe they just slip "toasty" flavoring into every bottle...)
Do I need a corkscrew? Yes.
What do smarter people say about it? User Nicole Lougheed on Vivino agrees with me: "Those that don't enjoy buttery Chards need not read any further! As the name suggests the barrels used for fermentation are toasted providing a distinct toasty to this Chard. And this toast is liberally buttered - add in some tropical fruit and vanilla flavour and you've got a rich and smooth wine with enough acidity in the finish to keep it from being flabby." Natalie Maclean believes "this full-bodied Chardonnay would be terrific with roast chicken." I feel like that would be gross.
Should I bring it to a friend's house? If your friend is fucking bananas for coconut, sure. Otherwise...this is not the chardonnay I would recommend you bring to dinner.