The Purple Moon California Chardonnay 2011 is a $3.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive produced from vineyards located in more than one California grape growing AVA (American Viticultural Area). This Chardonnay is made by Delicato Family Vineyards, who also produce Gnarly Head, Brazin and Handcraft Artesian wines, along with several other labels. If you want to know who produced a Trader Joe’s exclusive label wine, check the back of the bottle. The label, by law, has to tell where the wine was bottled. Many times, the winery named does not actually exist ( Purple Moon is a virtual winery), but the wine has to bottled in an actual winery. With a little help from Google, you can figure out that since it was bottled in Manteca, Ca., Delicato had a hand in the making of this wine. Often Trader Joe’s wines are small volume wines that sell out quickly, they make enough of the Purple Moon wines to last all year. The alcohol content is 13%.
The color is a very pale golden yellow. The nose is citrus and tart apples, with a light floral edge. This is a tart Chardonnay, with plenty of acidity. It tastes of grapefruit, lemon, fresh squeezed lime and melon. There isn’t much of a mid palate, but the wine does transition to a little dash of minerality (some San Pellegrino action) and a late hit of some soft peach. The acidity is strong, but not overpowering, this Chardonnay would pair well with spicy fish tacos. The finish goes brings a bit too much tart, almost sour citrus, but it flames out early.
The Purple Moon Chardonnay is a $3.99 food wine, the tart flavors and the acidity need food to find their balance. It isn’t a bad drinking under four buck Chardonnay, it will definitely do on a tuesday night. It is just that inexpensive White wines from Spain and Italy are made specifically for the meal and inexpensive White wines from California almost never are. So, this is nice, an inexpensive California food wine that will actual cost less than the meal itself.