The Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Russian River Chardonnay 2018 is a $6.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive. And this is an unexpected Chardonnay, the Fearless Flyer didn’t have much of anything interesting to say and the front label is the usual Tj’s exclusive label. But the back label tells that these grapes came from a single Family-owned estate vineyard, the Stony Point Vineyard owned by the James Family Cellars. The James Family Cellars are a Pinot Noir producer, their website does not show any current vintage of Chardonnay, but they have grown grapes for Schramsburg Winery of Napa, maybe the best Champagne-style Sparkling wine producer in America. So, these are not grapes usually associated with $6.99 Chardonnay.
The back label also mentioned this Chardonnay was aged in French oak, again something that is not typically found for under 7 bucks. When I grabbed this bottle I figure it was a Chard produced along the lines of your usual 10 buck Chardonnay, but the single-vineyard estate, Russian River AVA, French oak details have me confused. Is this a regular drink-it-now value-priced White wine, with fancier grapes than normal or is this something else. The alcohol content is a rather precise 13.71%.
The Tasting Notes
The color is a very pale wheat yellow. The nose is melon, lemon, and apple, along with pineapple, peach, and pear. This is not your typical $6.99 Chardonnay, there is some weight on the body with a solid mix of tart citrus and sweet fruit flavors, the oak is subdued. It starts with creamy lemon, mixed with green apple, followed by grapefruit, and juicy peach. The mid-palate has a salty cashew sensation, along with a touch of vanilla and a late slap of tropical fruit. The acidity is excellent, it allows the flavors to unfold while adding enough lip-smacking acidity to get you to take the next sip. The finish is full and long.
- This summary is short and to the point. If you want a single vineyard estate Russian River AVA, French oak-aged Chardonnay for $6.99, then this is it. Buy it. These wines don’t come around that often.