The 2010 Earth and Vine Chardonnay is a Trader Joe’s exclusive ($7.99) sourced from sustainably farmed grapevines in Sonoma County, California. The wine was produced for Trader Joe’s by Kunde Family Estates, a family owned and operated winery purchased by them in 1904, the original winery on the site, the Wildwood Vineyards dates back to 1879. Kunde Family Estates produces 100% sustainably farmed Estate grown wines. If you saw the movie “Bottle Shock,” then you saw parts of Kunde’s Estate, the boxing scene was on their property, anytime you saw panoramic views of grapevines, it was their vineyards and the French wine judging scene was shot in a derelict building on their property. I don’t know if the sustainably grown grapes used in the Earth and Vine Chardonnay are from Kunde Family Estates sustainably farmed vineyards. The Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer says this wine is about halfway between a “Naked” Chardonnay and an old school oaked Chardonnay. The alcohol content is 13.8%.
The color is a pale and crystal clear wheat yellow. The nose is lemons and honey with a late hit of honeysuckle. I was expecting a tart, crisp Chardonnay and what we have here is a balanced, slightly complex wine. It starts with lemon, dried apricots, melon, pear and fresh squeezed lime. The mid palate brings a slight mineral edge, tart pink grapefruit and some custard vanilla creme. The acidity adds some nice length, there is a solid backbone for the flavors to hang on to. The finish is subdued, but it does not go away, a faint echo always remains.
Eight dollar Chardonnay drinkers never had it so good, the Earth and Vine Chardonnay is well made, from Sonoma, tasty and balanced, there is some oak influence, but the oak knows its place. A versatile wine, will pair well with a wide variety of foods, cheap enough to drink out on the deck on a tuesday evening, a good enough to pull out when folks who are into wine stop by.