Tisdale Chardonnay

Name: Tisdale
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2005
Producer: Tisdale Vineyards
Price: $4.00

“It’s not horrible, but it ain’t good” were the first words out of my mouth after I tasted this wine. And this assessment is probably colored by all of the awful wine I’ve had lately from the corner store. It smells ok but the flavor is thin and the finish is overly acidic with an aftertaste of “feet” or something like that. Not that I’ve ever tasted feet, but that’s what it reminds me of.

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Smoking Loon Chardonnay

Name: Smoking Loon Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2005
Producer: Don Sebastiani & Sons
Price: $8.99

This is the last of my three Smoking Loon reviews and the only white wine in the bunch. I get a little vanilla and a little oak in the aroma. The flavor is fairly robust with some grassy, herbal notes and a lingering finish. Probably the best of the Smoking Loon bunch.

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Gallo Twin Valley Chardonnay

Name: Gallo Twin Valley Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: Non-vintage
Producer: Gallo Family Vineyards
Price: $4.99

A lot of the white wines I’ve purchased lately are from the mass produced labels such as Gallo and Turning Leaf. This should be interesting and the reviews should be useful to many people because you can buy this stuff anywhere. The bottle of this Gallo Chardonnay is tinted to make the wine appear much more rich and golden in color than it actually is when you pour it. Pretty clever. It has a sort of bizarre aroma, like honey and some sort of paper product. Like nothing I’ve smelled from a Chardonnay before. The flavor starts sweet (I’ve found this to be characteristic of mass produced wines) and then turns into a medley of odd tasting chemicals. The label says the flavor is citrus, vanilla and oak. I can taste none of these flavors. There is an aftertaste that reminds me of eating too much citrus fruit, it leaves that mucous-like feeling at the back of your mouth. This is one of the worst Chardonnays I’ve ever had. The only fortunate thing is that it’s non-vintage so I never have to try it again.

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Turning Leaf Reserve Chardonnay

Name: Turning Leaf Reserve Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2005
Producer: Turning Leaf Vineyards
Price: $6.00

Ok, so despite the issues I had with Turning Leaf’s Sauvignon Blanc, I’m back for more already. I’m testing out the “reserve” Chardonnay this time. It smells simple, like honey and butter. Unfortunately, it tastes like bad Chardonnay. For my money, no bad wine is worse than bad Chardonnay. There’s something about a wine that is unsuccessfully trying to taste rich that really turns me off. It’s like someone trying to make a dessert taste richer by dumping in a bunch of fake butter. There’s a distinct nasty chemical flavor, especially on the rough finish. You kind of get used to it after a few drinks but who wants to do that?

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Gallo Family Sonoma Reserve Chardonnay

Name: Gallo Family Sonoma Reserve Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2004
Producer: Gallo Family Vineyards
Price: $9.99

Since I paid twice as much for this one, I have my fingers crossed that it will be a ton better than the last Gallo Chardonnay I had. The cork is promising, it isn’t synthetic. The color is very pale and the aroma is…earthy, for lack of a better term. The flavor, predictably, starts with a sweet punch right off the bat. I taste mostly citrus fruit and there is a hint of oak on the finish. I don’t taste anything that resembles chemicals until the very tail end of the finish. You really have to wait for it, but it’s there. This isn’t a terrible Chardonnay the way the others recently have been. However, I know you can do better for this price.

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Redwood Creek Chardonnay

Name: Redwood Creek Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2005
Producer: Frei Bros. Vineyards
Price: $7.00

I like the label on this Chard. It has an old west look about it and the paper feels thick. Nice spiced apple aroma and a smooth, subtle flavor that culminates in a slightly tart, medium finish. This is the first decent Chardonnay I’ve had in a while and one of the cheaper ones to boot.

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Sutter Home Chardonnay

Name: Sutter Home Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2004
Producer: Sutter Home Winery
Price: $5.99

I got some new Riedel white wine glasses for Christmas and I’m christening them on this Sutter Home Chard, for better or worse. It’s a good thing I got the glasses too; I had broken every one of my white wine glasses. This wine smells like apples and fresh hay. It has some tart, almost harsh citrus flavors before the chemicals reveal themselves. It has that distinctive chemical flavor that plagues mass produced wines. The finish is also tart, like after you’ve eaten grapefruit.

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Jacobs Creek Chardonnay

Name: Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: Australia
Year: 2005
Producer: Orlando Wines
Price: $6.00

Smells almost pungently of melons and honey. Starts very smooth, almost silky and has some mild oak flavor. As it sits on the palate it gets increasingly tart and it’s slightly acidic on the finish. It’s pretty good, especially at the price.

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Jacobs Creek Chardonnay

Name: Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: Australia
Year: 2005
Producer: Orlando Wines
Price: $6.00

Smells almost pungently of melons and honey. Starts very smooth, almost silky and has some mild oak flavor. As it sits on the palate it gets increasingly tart and it’s slightly acidic on the finish. It’s pretty good.

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Three Thieves Unoaked Chardonnay

Name: Three Thieves Unoaked Chardonnay
Type: White
Grape: Chardonnay
Origin: U.S. – California
Year: 2005
Producer: Rebel Wine
Price: $9.99

I’ll try to avoid any bad puns or plays on words with the name of this wine but I can’t promise anything. The first thing you notice about this wine is the bottle. It looks like a miniature version of the cheap wine jugs you see lining the shelves of a liquor store. True to form, you get more wine in this little jug. That $9.99 price tag gets you a full liter of wine, one-third more than you get in a standard bottle. Also true to form, the quality is fairly low. It smells very tart and tastes very tart. I have experienced unoaked Chardonnays that had charming minerality and character, but this isn’t one of them. The three thieves seem to have stolen all the flavor (I knew I couldn’t make it…).

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