The Curious Beasts Chardonnay 2019 is a supermarket wine, it is made for Safeway, Albertsons, Jewel/Osco, and a host of other stores in the chain. It is produced exclusively for them the same way Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s, and Costco have their wines made for them.
The Curious Beasts brand has been around for several years but seems to be sold exclusively in a supermarket chain for the past few years. The label says the grapes are sourced from California, but in the past, it looks to have been a Sonoma wine.
While there is an associated Curious Beasts website, there is also a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Red blend in the line, they do not provide much technical information. They mention toasted vanilla and butterscotch flavors which come from oak barrel aging and say the wine is as smooth as silk.
Custom store wine brands have a major price advantage over retail wine brands. The store brands typically pay the winery for the wine on delivery and the winery has no further responsibility. The price of producing the wine is dwarfed by all the distribution, marketing, branding, and sales costs. Stores can buy an exclusive label from a winery at a major price reduction.
The Curious Beasts Chardonnay 2019 was selling at my local Jewel/Osco for about $12. While it is hard to say exactly the price saving over a similar retail wine shop Chardonnay and my guess would put this wine in the $15 to $16 range. In a small sample, I have found Trader Joe’s exclusive wine selling at wine shops outside of Trader Joe’s sales territory for about 40% over TJ’s prices.
I do not have the same track record with Safeway exclusive wines that do with other store brands, but I expect the Curious Beasts Chardonnay 2019 to be excellent. Wines in this price range usually deliver quality and value. The alcohol content is 13.5%. Oh, and it has Mexican Day of the Dead skeletons on the label so that is another mark in its favor.
The Curious Beasts Chardonnay 2019 Tasting Notes
The color is a pale wheat yellow. I know some of the color for Chardonnay come from oak barrels, but I can match the color to the length of the aging process. The nose has some weight to the aromas, it is rich and toasty, there is apple, creamy vanilla, lemon, soft spice, pineapple (not sweet), melon, peach, and lime. The Curious Beasts Chardonnay 2019 is darker-tasting Chardonnay, rich and almost bold, but still balanced.
This Chardonnay tastes like a ripe apple, oak spice, vanilla, melon, tropical fruit, and Anjou pear. The mid-palate offers that nutty/salty “on lees” thing, burnt butterscotch, guava, and lime. This is a Chardonnay that is full-flavored. The acidity is on the cusp of that lip-smacking acidity that I enjoy in value-priced wine.
- The Curious Beasts Chardonnay 2019 is a delicious winter Chardonnay, yes it still tastes good when the weather heats up, but this Chardonnay is a good match cold weather.
- It has skeletons on the label.
- Store brands always offer value, seek them out. You typically get a wine that hits above the price you paid.