The 2012 Trader Joe’s Reserve Yountville Chardonnay Lot 82 is a $9.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive. Yountville is one of Napa Valley’s 15 sub–AVA’s and is located in the center of Napa Valley. Named for George Yount who planted the first grapevines in Napa Valley in 1836. Cabernet Sauvignon comprises 70% of the grapes grown in Yountville and Yountville is the home to Thomas Keller’s French Laundry restaurant. The Lot 82 was cellared and bottled by The Vine Intervention, which is a branch of Drake Wines, a winery and vineyard located in Arroyo Grande, California (which is located in the Central Coast AVA, not Napa Valley). In checking around the web, I found that most Yountville Chardonnay falls in the $18 to $40 range. Trader Joe’s is not telling who grew the grapes or who produced the wine. The 2012 was an excellent vintage in Northern California. The alcohol content is 13.9%.
The color is an extra virgin olive oil yellow. The nose is dominated by bright citrus, tangerine and grapefruit, along with apple, peach and pear, with a touch of honey. This is a full flavored Chardonnay with a silky mouthfeel and a solid slap of acidity on the mid palate and finish. It begins with peach mixed with lime, lemon, pear and dried apricot. The wine transitions to tart grapefruit along with a crisp jolt from the acidity. The finish a blend of silky smooth fruit and tart citrus and the acidity keeps is moving along for a very good length of time.
The 2012 Trader Joe’s Reserve Yountville Lot 82 Chardonnay is a seriously good ten buck Chard. I am not going to say that since it is from Napa that it must be better than this or because it uses Yountville fruit it is automatically better than that. But, because it is from Yountville, it is different from this Chardonnay or that Chardonnay and that alone is reason enough to give this $10 Chardonnay a try. The Lot 82 is very lightly oaked, it has a bit of butter and a little oak spice, but is generally bright, lively wine. This is a small production Trader Joe’s wine, it won’t last long, so grab a bottle while you still can.