Since my favorite budget Chardonnay recently doubled in price, I’ve been on the hunt for a replacement. We have a tight budget, so $10 for one bottle of wine might not seem like a lot but when you like drinking it a few times a week, the dollar signs start stacking up. This is what led me to the $6 Pacific Grove Chardonnay. My husband loves Chardonnay. There are some he likes more than others. We don’t often agree perfectly on styles. He likes the crisp apple and citrusy style all the time. I love a balanced Chardonnay, with those notes but with the addition of oak and often tropical flavors. Sometimes, you get something really oaky or nutty in a Chardonnay and the Pacific Grove Chardonnay certainly falls in this category. Mr.CGR hated it while I love it.
The Pacific Grove Chardonnay comes in at 13% alcohol. The internet hints that this wine is actually a La Crema made wine bottled under another label. I could certainly see that. This wine is small batch fermented in 100% oak. It’s also had Malolactic fermentation. The grapes are 100% Chardonnay. We chilled it down to about 55 degrees. With all the oaky goodness, I wouldn’t chill it much more than that. The wine is a golden straw hue. When the bottle was opened I got a whiff of browned butter.
The Pacific Grove Chardonnay has a nose almost entirely devoid of fruit. You get a massive helping of butter, toasted hazelnut, parmesan cheese, and caramel. There is the vaguest hint of pear and minerals. The palate of the wine is similar, but there is a smashing granny smith apple note blended with Asian pear. Tropical fruits round out the mid palette before it starts the bone dry vanilla finish. The finish is of a moderate length. The acid is on the higher end of the medium spectrum. The mouthfeel and body are creamy yet crisp.
My husband, bless his heart, still drank the “Whiskey Cheese Wine”. He felt the vanilla was overwhelming and it was too oaky. I disagree completely. I think it’s well balanced and a great entry level nutty Chardonnay. I think it’s screaming out to be paired with a roast chicken with all the traditional sides. This will be a wine I buy for myself when he’s away for work and enjoy every last drop! Overall, I give this wine an 86-point score. Mr.CGR felt it deserved around an 80. He liked the body, mouthfeel and the apple note but didn’t care for the rest at all. I’d encourage my readers to get to Trader Joes, buy a bottle, and tell me what you think!
Have you tried the Pacific Grove Chardonnay? Let me know what you think ASAP!