The Mantenere Russian River Chardonnay 2019 is a $6.99 Trader Joe’s wine sourced from vineyards inside the Russian River Valley AVA which is in turn inside the Sonoma County AVA of Northern California.
The trademark for Mantenere is own by Francis Coppola Wines and Mantenere Cellars is located in Geyserville, California. Which also happens to be the home of Coppola Winery. I do not know if the Mantenere Russian River Chardonnay 2019 is simply a private store brand or if at some time this wine will be available at retail wine shops.
That does matter to the point that if it is a wine that will be sold everywhere then it is a Coppola wine. A store-brand may be produced to the wishes of the wine buyer for the store. A doubt a winery would ever compromise quality to produce a store brand, but it could possibly be made in a style not consistent with their own brand of wines.
Trader Joe’s seems to be specializing in value-priced wines from high-end growing regions. The Russian River Valley AVA is a premier Pinot Noir and Chardonnay area in western Sonoma County. Chardonnay from vineyards here never sells for $6.99 except for store brands such as Aldi, Costco, and Trader Joe’s.
A retail Chardonnay that has California on the label as a place of origin is not really a lesser wine, especially at this price-point. Large wine companies have vineyard holdings and partnerships in various areas of California’s wine country. Making effective use of their grapes helps them keep the selling price in line.
A Chardonnay incorporating grapes from a warm growing region added to grapes grown in mountain foothills then blended with Vally fruit will make a complex wine that belies its price.
Not that Russian River Chardonnay grapes can not also offer diversity. It is just that when a producer gets an offer for grapes from a high-end growing region at an excellent price I doubt if they are overly concerned if the grapes came from complementary regions.
Trader Joe’s does not offer information concerning the production techniques used for the Mantenere Russian River Chardonnay 2019, so if have to rely on the back label to find some useful information.
The back label mentions ripe apple, lemon curd, and a creamy texture. Apple is one of California Chardonnay’s prime flavors so no hints there, but lemon curd may indicate some sort of oak conditioning and at least partial Malolactic fermentation. A creamy texture can come from aging the Chardonnay “on lees”, along with oak.
At $6.99 you do not expect fancy new French oak barrels, but that is not the only way to get those flavors into value-priced wine. The important issue is not so much how those flavors were incorporated into the wine, but how it tastes. Oak barrels are mandatory for more expensive wine, but cheap wine gets points for ingenuity. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
Mantenere Russian River Chardonnay 2019 Tasting Notes
The color is wheat yellow with a tint of gold, sometimes the shade of yellow in a Chardonnay will give a clue if the wine was oak-aged or not. The nose is apple, canned peaches in a light syrup, pear, lemon, pink lemonade, and a light floral edge.
This is a medium-bodied Chardonnay with a firm mouthfeel, with a mix of smooth and tart flavors. It starts with a slightly sour green apple, grapefruit, spice, and lemon. The mid-palate brings coconut cream, vanilla, and lime.
The acidity is well-balanced by the body the wine.
- The Mantenere Russian River Chardonnay 2019 is an interesting and tasty Chardonnay.
- There is a pleasing mouthfeel and the flavors contrast well with each other.
- $6.99 Chardonnay does not get much better than this.
- An excellent party wine, three bottles for $21.
- The Mantenere Russian River Chardonnay 2019 is an excellent bargain.