Guess what!!? In this review, we kick off a feature: California chardonnay week!
Why? Because I couldn’t find a hammer to smash myself in the face with? No, I’m doing this because (1) California chardonnays are incredibly popular, and (2) I dislike them so much, that if I can recommend even one with a straight face, it’s likely to be really damn good.
Our first is the big dog, the mac-daddy: Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve from 2008, which sells for $11. It’s a big label in the wine world, and therefore a little controversial. See various opinions:
- here (“it tastes like fruit juice mixed with oak essence and some vodka” … “I will not finish the bottle”)
- here (“rarely taken seriously”)
- here (“yellow colored” … “this chard is extremely popular for a reason”)
- here (“my favorite chardonnay under $12”) and
- here (“one of my favorite white wines”).
How does it taste? Not so great. But not terrible. The first word I wrote when tasting this medium-bodied yellow fluid: “chemicals.” It’s oaky, and buttery, but not excessively so. It has strong sweetness with vanilla, pear and melon, and medium acidity with citrusy something-or-other. The overall message is: extremely medium. If I needed a good California chardonnay, I’d definitely spend the extra bucks and get William Hill, which I reviewed right here.
Why is KJ one of the best selling wines in the universe? I don’t know. Perhaps Oprah recommended it? Or perhaps your Wineguider is screwed up, and this is really great wine? We’ll let the comments sort this out. So, our first entry in this week’s California chardonnay face-smashing celebration is too medium and too chemical-ish and thus is: