Let’s break down this wine. First it’s Chardonnay, which is a white grape originating from Burgundy and has found a home in California. There is a quite a bit of Chardonnay grown in the Napa Valley and most of it is in a similar style. What does that mean? Basically, it means that it’s a little fuller bodied than Chardonnay grown in France. Usually with luscious tropical fruit flavors. That comes about because of the amount of heat that Napa Valley gets. It’s much warmer in Napa Valley than Burgundy. The other defining factor for most Napa Valley Chardonnays are the rich, buttery and oaky flavors. This is a flavor profile that many consider to be consistent with most California Chardonnays.
This is a also a Grand Reserve release from Trader Joe’s. These don’t come along that often and when they do, they are usually a good buy. This wine is no exception! Trader Joe’s has no winery of their own, they buy all that wine from other wineries and slap their own label on it. Which just means savings for you!
So how does this one taste? I quite enjoyed it even though I’m not a huge fan of those oaky, buttery, rich Chardonnays. This one was a little restrained compared to many I’ve had. Oak was in check, but not overpowering. The alcohol is a little high for white wine, over 14%, but everything was pretty much in balance. Nice dash of acid to keep the mouthfeel lively. Nice tropical fruit aromas and flavors in the mouth. This is a 2010 wine. Most white wines are released the year after harvest so we are usually buying 2011 white wines right now. My guess is that this was wine that didn’t sell quickly enough and Trader Joe’s bought up the lot and is releasing it now. An extra year didn’t hurt this wine at all and things are more rounded out for the extra aging. I think this would be an excellent wine with a Thanksgiving turkey dinner!
If you like your Chardonnays a little bit on the heavier side this Trader Joe’s Special Reserve Napa Valley Chardonnay 2010 might be for you! It’s a little on the oaky side from my tastes but I know many of you love this style. It’s a little more expensive than most white wines at Trader Joe’s but the quality is there. I’ll give it 7 bells for my own personal score, but it could go up a bell or two for you personally if you like this style of white wine.