Ashokawna Russian River Chardonnay 2018

The Ashokawna Russian River Chardonnay 2018 is an $8.99 Aldi exclusive. The Russian River Valley AVA is in western Coastal Sonoma County. The Sonoma Coast AVA is west of the Russian River Valley AVA.The Russian River Valley runs north/south parallel to the coast. The river originally flowed east/ west until a cataclysmic event thousands of years ago changed its source forever.The name Ashokawna meant water to the east and was the indigenous people's name for the Russian River. Sonoma's Russian River Valley sub-AVA is a premier location for farming Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.Aldi seldom gives technical information concerning the production of their wines. That is to be expected; they do make an effort to keep costs in check to offer good affordable wines. Aldi has an outstanding reputation in Europe for selling bang-for-the-buck wine.The back label of the Ashokawna Russian River Chardonnay 2018 mentions aromas of “pineapple, citrus, and vanilla.” Also, flavors of “butterscotch, brioche, and baked apple.”This would suggest that the Ashokawna Russian River Chardonnay 2018 underwent partial malolactic fermentation and had considerable oak barrel aging. The citrus may indicate that some of the Chardonnay is unoaked and did not undergo malolactic fermentation.Aldi has price advantages over typical retail wine. I am not privy to their contracts with the winemakers but typical with store brand wines, payment in full is made upon delivery. Wineries often have to wait for their wines to sell before receiving a return on their investment.Aldi does no advertising or marketing; you would be surprised how much of the cost of a bottle of wine is marketing. Store brands do not need full distributorship services, so there are savings there too.An $8.99 store-brand may be the equivalent of a $12 or $13 retail wine. Twelve or thirteen dollars will buy you an excellent California Chardonnay. Aldi store brand wines can offer excellent value if they deliver in the taste department.I have high hopes for the Ashokawna Russian River Chardonnay 2018. The winery that I suspect made the wine is known to produce high-quality wine. If a winery's name is not on the label, then it is not their wine; this is Aldi's wine.A store-brand wine may not be the exact wine that a winery would produce as their own. These wines are made to the customer's specifications, so while store brands might not be exactly the wine that would fit the producer's portfolio, I know of no winery that would ever skimp on quality. The alcohol content is 13.5%.Ashokawna Russian River Chardonnay 2018 Tasting NotesThe color is a clear, clean wheat yellow. The nose is ripe, apple, the aforementioned pineapple and vanilla, lemon/lime (kind of a non-sweet Sprite), spice, and spring flowers.The Ashokawna Russian River Chardonnay 2018 comprises clean, crisp flavors and more rounded oak-influenced flavors.It tastes like a stew of tart apple, lemon curd, butterscotch, and spice. The mid-palate brings buttered bakery bread, lime, stone fruit, creamy vanilla, and guava. The acidity is well-balanced; it provides enough backbone so all the flavors can unfold.The SummaryThe Ashokawna Russian River Chardonnay 2018 is one of those wines where I feel like a jerk for complaining.This is a delicious Chardonnay, but it is not as seamless as the best Chardonnay.Yes, I know that is nitpicking because the top Chardonnay seldom sells for $8.99, and even comparing this Chard to the best is actually high praise.If you find this wine at Aldi, buy it, it drinks well above its price tag.

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