OK, so how good is Two-Buck Chuck Chardonnay, the reigning champion, and low-price leader of California Chardonnay?
It didn’t take my staff long to buy a bottle from Trader Joe’s (and a second bottle was sent to my office in Napa) and slip it into yesterday’s blind tasting of Sonoma Chardonnays (even though Two Buck carries a California appellation and the appellation was not disclosed in my tasting).
Well, the wine is certainly good and serviceable. I rated it about the same as I did last year (when it received an 83-point score). It’s simple, clean and fruity, with a light mix of citrus and herbal notes, though not especially varietal. The citrus-herb scent made me think it might have a dollop of Sauvignon Blanc. The label says 12.5 percent alcohol. No trace of wood, or oak chips!
The irony, though, is that Two-Buck performed as well as a trio of Chardonnays that sold for up to $35 a bottle. I’ll spare those wineries the agony of disclosure until their scores are published in an upcoming issue of the magazine or on our website.
One more element of intrigue: One of the Two-Buck's labels indicated it was bottled in Sonoma, while the other was bottled in Napa, so it would appear that there are at least two different bottlings in the market. It’s not uncommon for a wine of this volume to be made in different batches and for it to have multiple bottlings. The winery wouldn’t comment on the wine’s varietal make-up, or anything else, except to say that the wine’s owner, Fred Franzia, has bottling facilities in both counties.
So when you pick up your bottle of Two-Buck Chuck for this weekend’s blind tasting, make note of where it was bottled.
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento,CA — June 29, 2007 1:39pm ET
Gregory Popovich — CA — June 29, 2007 1:46pm ET
John Miller — Windsor, CA — June 29, 2007 2:18pm ET
James Laube — Napa, CA — June 29, 2007 2:58pm ET
David A Zajac — June 29, 2007 3:01pm ET
Dry Creek Vineyard — Healdsburg — June 29, 2007 4:45pm ET
Gregory Popovich — CA — June 29, 2007 6:51pm ET
John Miller — Windsor, CA — June 29, 2007 10:57pm ET
Gib Masters — Portland, — June 30, 2007 9:41am ET
Steven Mirassou — Livermore, CA — June 30, 2007 11:16am ET
R. Douglas Collins — Hermosa Beach, California — July 1, 2007 2:11pm ET
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