Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 is a $6.99 Trader Joe's wine sourced from vineyards in the Edna Valley AVA inside San Luis Obispo County, inside the Central Coast AVA of California. Edna Valley is to the east of the Santa Lucia Mountains, and the Pacific Ocean provides a cool climate ideal for Chardonnay vines.As a Trader Joe's wine, there is no technical information available for the Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018. I can guess which winery facilities were used to produce this Chardonnay, since one of the largest American wineries owns property in the area. I don't know they made it, but it would seem to be a good guess. The front label says “Estate bottled”, which means there was an estate involved.The back label offers no info other than the stuff that California mandates have to show up on a label. No general tasting notes that may indicate oak treatment, no hints at all. The good thing is that Trader Joe's has a history with Edna Valley Chardonnay at value prices.The Edna Valley AVA has a high-quality reputation as a source for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, and several well-respected wineries are residing here. I thought that the Riddle name, along with the puzzle maze on the label, offered clues as to the source of this wine. But the Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 does not offer any clues or hints that I can decipher.All the clues we will get will have to come in the tasting portion of the Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 review. The alcohol content is ripe but typical for today's California Chardonnay, 14.1%.Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 Tasting NotesThe color is butter yellow with a hint of gold. Sometimes the color of Chardonnay can indicate if the wine saw oak aging, and the color says, maybe. The nose is melon, apple, honey, vanilla, lemon, grapefruit, stone fruit, and spring flowers. The honey, vanilla, and rounded fruit aroma would point to some malolactic fermentation and oak use.The Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 is a bright fruit-forward Chardonnay with bright acidity and oak flavoring. It tastes like a mix of lemon curd and vanilla, followed by brown butter and tart grapefruit. The mid-palate brings dried apricot, exotic spice, a touch of cream, and a nutty, salty taste.I sometimes think you can pop the top a pour a $6.99 Chardonnay, but the Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 needed a little time to open up. The oak influence needed to settle down before this wine started to show its best.The SummaryThe Riddle Edna Valley Chardonnay 2018 is a solid Chardonnay. I wouldn't go as far as to say it was delicious, but it was an interesting wine that was well worth drinking and hit above its price tag.It may not be the most seamless and balanced wine, but it does have its charms and has more depth than the typical value-priced Chardonnay.
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