The Buttery Barrel Chardonnay 2020 is a $6.99 Aldi sourced from vineyards in California. The back label says, Cattlemen Ridge Wines produced this Chardonnay, and they are owned by Scheid Family Vineyards of Monterey, California.
Scheid makes many wines for both Aldi and Trader Joe’s; they produce their own high-end wines and have many value-priced wine brands. They also have a bulk wine/custom label division, and they seem to try out new wines as store brands occasionally.
Chardonnay wines with butter in the name are popular. The butter flavor comes from oak influence, barrel or otherwise, and malolactic fermentation, which changes the acid in the grapes from tart to more rounded. A few years ago, a Chardonnay with solid oak barrel flavors was not popular, but consumers’ preferences are inconsistent, and oak is back.
The Buttery Barrel Chardonnay 2020 should be the modern version of oak-influenced Chardonnay, where the wine is creamy with a hint of butter, but fruit and citrus still dominate the flavor profile.
I chose this Chardonnay because it was an inexpensive wine ($6.99), but it seemed to have an extensive production process. I figure that a winemaker would not go through all the trouble of malolactic fermentation and some oak program with inferior grapes.
Not that a simply produced wine is terrible, but the extra effort does indicate that someone thought highly of the grapes. The Buttery Barrel Chardonnay 2020 looks to have oak barrel aging, which is an expensive process; oak barrels can cost $1,000 each.
Aldi does not offer technical information about this Chardonnay, but any Chard that has a ” barrel” in its name really should be fermented or aged in oak barrels. My experience with Scheid wines has been very favorable, so I expect the best, not the worst. Plus, a $7 Aldi wine is probably the equivalent to a $10 or $11 retail wine shop wine. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The Buttery Barrel Chardonnay 2020 Tasting Notes
The color is a mix of wheat and golden yellow, a Chardonnay with a darker hue can indicate oak influence. The nose is ripe green apple, lemon curd, grapefruit, and vanilla. The Buttery Barrel Chardonnay 2020 definitely has oak flavors with ripe fruit and tart citrus flavors.
This Chardonnay tastes like a stew of peach, Anjou pear, and French vanilla, along with lemon, apple, and grapefruit. The mid-palate adds soft creamy butter, a salty sensation, stone fruit, and guava. The acidity is balanced and does not interfere with the flavor profile.
- The Buttery Barrel Chardonnay 2020 is buttery but not too buttery.
- It is a Chardonnay with some weight on the palate, maybe more of a cold weather Chard than a light and breezt summer Chardonnay.
- If you like a little oak barrel influence with your Chardonnay then the Buttery Barrel Chardonnay 2020 is a bargain.
- If you are butter curious then this Chardonnay is good place to check out oak influence on California Chardonnay.