Oak Valley River Canyon Ridge Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2011

57397The entire name of this wine is Oak Valley River Canyon Ridge by Glenn Meadows Creek Russian River Valley Chardonnay, it is a $7.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive sourced from grapes grown in the Russian River AVA which is located inside the Sonoma grape growing AVA in Northern California. This Chardonnay is produced for Trader Joe’s by DFV Wines, who also produced Gnarly Head, Brazin and many other valued priced and interesting wines. The name of this Chardonnay is a “goof” by TJ’s and DFV, anytime Trader Joe’s has an inexpensive wine from a famous appellation or sub-AVA, there is always internet speculation that the wine is a $40 wine selling for 6 bucks, that the producer is a “Big Name” winery having money problems. So they gave the wine a “Big Name” or at least a very long one. The Russian River Valley AVA is a cool climate growing area that works very well with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (in France, both Burgundy and Champagne are cool climate growing areas) and DFV has long term relationships with vineyards in this region. The alcohol content is a hefty 13.5%.

The color is a pale crystal clear version of the glow from Marsellus Wallace’s briefcase in Pulp Fiction. The nose is apples, butter and honey, these are scents that can be a bit too much, but here they are light and delicate. This is a bright, fruit forward Chardonnay, mellow fruit upfront and tart on the mid palate. It tastes of Golden Delicious apples, Honey Dew melon, Del Monte canned pear halves and peach. The mid palate brings the tart pineapple, lemon/lime, a soft slap of minerality and a late wisp of apricot. The acidity is under control for the body of the wine, but gives a little bite at the finish, but that is not so bad because it helps the finish to be very lengthy.

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The OVRCRRV Chardonnay does not taste like your usual 8 dollar Chard, then again it probably does not taste like your usual $25 Russian River Valley Chardonnay either. It is well worth its $7.99 price tag, it is very lightly oaked and it has a nice blend of tart and juicy flavors. This is another of the, “ You can’t go wrong at the price, grab it while you can, because the only made enough to last a couple of months on the shelves, Trader Joe’s wines.”

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Don’t tell anyone, but there is absolutely no correlation between the cost of wine and the quality of wine.