The 2011 Acre Russian River Valley Chardonnay is a $7.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive. There is or at least was an Acre Wine Company that produce wines sourced from the Central Coast (the wines they make list for 3 times as much), and this bottle shares their bottle graphics, a silk screened grape vine, but this bottling says vinted and bottled by Our Cellars. Vinted and bottled translates to, the people who grew the grapes and produced the wine are not the same as the name on the bottle, which is what you would expect to an 8 dollar Russian River wine. Trader Joe’s says the wine was aged in French oak barrels, 80% new French oak and with new French oak selling for $1,000 a barrel, you would think that whoever originally produced this Chardonnay did not have $7.99 in mind as a price point. Also, you don’t see too many California 2011 vintage Chardonnay’s on the market, just yet. 2011 Southern Hemisphere wines (Chile, Australia, etc.) are on the shelves but cool weather California wines usually are held back a little longer. So what we seem to have here, is a wine produced from a premium AVA inside Sonoma, California, with a jumbled pedigree, that might be rushed to the market a little too soon, but we probably won’t complain because the price is right. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is shiny daisy yellow. The nose jumps out of the glass, it’s apples, pears and citrus with a pretty floral edge. There is a full substantial mouth feel, but the actual flavor of the wine is slightly muted, slightly watery. This Chardonnay is hollow upfront, very faint apple and then a second later lemon and tangerine kick in. There is a very appealing buttery edge to all the flavors and this is the first wine that I can think of that has more going on in the mid palate than in the main body of the wine. The mid palate adds a blast of acidity from fresh grapefruit and lime then soft peach floats thru. The acidity from the mid palate helps the finish tingle on and on for a very long time, you can feel the finish long after the flavor fades away. With that said the acidity really isn’t out of balance, it is more like the fruit needs a little more time to develop.
The Acre Russian River Valley Chardonnay is not a home run, but isn’t a swing and a miss either. There are parts of an awesome Chardonnay contained in this bottle, just not all the parts. For $8, an almost but not quite wine is a nice change of pace from an $8 competent, but goes along with the herd wine.