The lil’ koala Chardonnay is a $4.99 Aldi’s wine imported from South East Australia. This is a non-vintage wine with a cartoon critter label, at one time if a wine had a cartoon critter on the label it was probably a wise idea to avoid it. But, inexpensive wine has seen enough improvement in the last few years that I figure even critter wine is safe to try. As an Aldi’s private brand, there is no information available about the making of this Chardonnay, the tasting notes on the back label suggest it underwent malolactic fermentation (changes tart, citrusy acid into more rounded peach/pear tasting acid), but other than that this is a mystery Chardonnay. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a pale, clear wheat yellow. The nose isn’t bad, there is some juicy peach, lemon chiffon, pineapple, lime and freshly sliced apples. It tastes of apple, pineapple juice, melon and pear. The mid palate adds a slight mineral edge, a blast of tart, acidic tangerine and a final splash of slightly creamy peach. The acidity is semi sharp, but not bad, there is enough fruit to even things out. The body of the wine is slightly thin (if it were fuller it would probably sell for twice as much), but that is a minor complaint. The finish is fairly full and lasts an impressively long time.
When it comes to inexpensive Chardonnay, I must say I am a fan of the Chards from Australia. They have an outdoorsy, why cook inside when we can fire up the outdoor grill lifestyle and these cheap Chardonnays really fit into that scene. They tend to be fruit forward with a good balance of tart citrus along with juicy fruit and enough acidity to work well at the dinner table. The lil’ koala Chardonnay drinks surprisingly well and is a solid 5 buck wine. To me, there is great Chardonnay, then there is the rest. As one of the rest, the lil’ koala Chardonnay is $4.99 well spent.