June 29, 2007
The Top of the Top Chardonnay

You know what I first like about the Charles Shaw 2005 California Chardonnay, which judges at the California State Fair commercial wine competition declared the best chardonnay in the state?

It's the little tab at the top of each bottle. You tug it and the top of the neck wrap peels off easily and cleanly. There's no need for a foil slicer or knife, and no struggle to remove the cap gracefully and neatly. Pretty classy.

The wine? It's pretty classy, too, to judge by the two bottles I opened and tasted last night. Hey, I'm a big spender. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that this chardonnay is from Bronco Wine Co.'s line of "Two-Buck-Chuck" wines that sell for $2 each at Trader Joe's stores. (We got ours at the Sacramento branch along Folsom Boulevard.)

As chardonnays go, it's serviceable - clean, typical, balanced and quite pleasantly drinkable. Its fresh fruitiness runs to hints of apples and pears. It's a little sweet, but that's common in chardonnays nowadays, and not at all cloying. The finish is short, but the bite is more sharp than dull, and more refreshing than tiresome. I've had livelier, spicier and more complex chardonnays, but not at $2 a bottle. It isn't epic, but you won't have to feel embarassed if you pour it at your Fourth of July block party.

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