Trader Joe’s VINTJS Chardonnay ($8.99) is sourced from grapes grown in the Chalk Hill AVA of Sonoma County. Chalk Hill is located inside the Russian River AVA and is well known as a Chardonnay producer. VINTJS is 96.4% Chardonnay and 3.6% Orange Muscat and was aged in oak barrels. As a Trader Joe’s Negociant wine, who grew the grapes and exactly how the wine was made is not released. The alcohol content is 13.9%.
The color is a clear, shiny, pale butter yellow. The nose is apple, buttery shortbread, lime and a little butterscotch. Medium bodied and rich tasting, pear, peaches in light syrup and apricot, the mid-palate adds citrus and buttered cinnamon toast. There is a well balanced dose of acidity and the oak is well integrated with creamy oak vanilla flavors, but not too dry. The tart, lip smacking finish goes on and on.
Getting a balanced inexpensive oaked Chardonnay isn’t easy, you see alot of unoaked or “naked’ Chardonnay at this price point, but somehow trader Joe’s pulls it off and for the bargain price of $8.99. There is a very pleasing blend of flavors, it is well made, good acidity and plenty of length and it is cheap.