The Wine Idiot Reviews: Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Carneros Chardonnay Lot #51, 2013 ($12.99)
I am giddy about what happened when I purchased this bottle of wine.
If you read my review of the Kono Sauvignon Blanc, you'll know there's a Trader Joe's I go to that has recently started offering a limited selection of chilled white wine. One of the wines in that section was this black-label Carneros chardonnay, and the tag read "$9.99." I distinctly remembered this because I hemmed and hawed a bit before deciding I deserved a $10 bottle of wine that day.
However, when they rang me up, it came up as $12.99. I asked the checker and they went to go check on it. Sure enough, it had been tagged wrong. Trader Joe's being Trader Joe's (that is, awesome), they gave me the tagged price of $9.99. And very few things in this world make me happier than knowing I'm getting a REALLY GOOD DEAL (that comes courtesy of my dad HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, DAD!).
So I have to admit I was already primed to like this wine. And like it I did.
It smells like peach and melon, then tastes vanilla-y and smooth. Surprisingly, quite a bit of fruit comes out as it passes over your tongue--surprising because I don't expect chardonnay to be particularly fruity. It's more crisp than buttery, but once I started munching on Trader Joe's Multigrain Tortilla Chips (which have a distinctly nutty flavor), a certain toasty-ness wafted to the top as I swallowed each sip.
Yes. I liked this wine. Quite a bit. I *really* wish I knew enough about wine that I could make a guess as to what this wine really is (these black-label wines are usually much pricier wines from fancy vineyards that strike a deal with TJ's and sell off overstock at a steal provided they're sold under the TJ's label instead of the vineyards own label). Maybe someday. A girl can dream.
What the bottle says: Nothin'. As I said--mystery wine.
What the Wine Idiot says: I had three glasses in a row.
ABV: 13.5%, thankyouverymuch.
Who's responsible for this? "Our Cellars, Hopland, CA." God I wish I knew what that really means.
Do I need a corkscrew? You betcha.
What do smarter people say about it? Notes of Note said: "There’s definitely some floral stuff happening here; some pear and peach perhaps too, all working together in oak to produce a light, buttery taste. I know my folks are fans of both oak and the buttery effect, and that they left some of this bottle for us means they either had their fill of spirits (all good!) this weekend or simply ran out of time. I’m betting the latter." The Fearless Flyer says that under the winery's label, this bottle would cost $23 or more: "They come from smallwineries in the Carneros region, straddling both Napa and Sonoma counties, that specialize in these two Burgundy varietals, grapes that are ideally suited to the cooler climate of this area just north of the San Pablo Bay. The Chardonnay is crafted with 100% Chardonnay grapes, and delivers a classic Napa Chardonnay experience - oaky, buttery, with flavors of ripe apples, pears, and toasty biscuits, rich texture and a long finish."
Should I bring it to a friend's house? For sure. GREAT dinner wine.