Consumer Reports is famous for rating just about everything. Every so often CR comes out with the “best value” Chardonnays. Now the word “value” may rub some people the wrong way, especially when it is applied to wine. Bottom line, value wine just means good wine that won’t break the bank. So ignore the value label and focus why it is such a good deal. 2012 and 2013 Whole Foods label “Trackers Crossing 365”, Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw and Kirkland Sonoma Chardonnay were on Consumer Report’s list. And with good reason, the wines are not only affordable, they are not too shabby.
If you live in the Arlington area, most likely you have shopped at the Whole Foods off of Clarendon and Wilson Boulevard. Whole Foods is known for being a little on the pricey side, but that doesn’t apply to the Trackers Crossing 365 wines. Add $7 to your shopping bill and pick up one or more of the Trackers Crossing wine Chardonnays. The Chardonnay is stellar. Tropical fruit, subtle butter with a touch a spice. Easy drinking wine, crisp and refreshing. The Trackers Crossing 365 Merlot is nice, however, the Shiraz is not worth it if you tend to like Shiraz being peppery and a bit more full bodied. It is light and not as impressive.
If you have shopped at Trader Joe’s you know all about “two buck chuck” wines. If you don’t, you’ve been living under a rock. Charles Shaw wines are fine. They’re great for a party or even for a weeknight wine. The Chardonnay is the best out of the bunch. Crisp and refreshing, it taste like Chardonnay. The reds are good, Merlot, Cabernet and Shiraz. The merlot tastes like Merlot, round fruity body. Little fact you may not know, Charles Shaw is owned by Franzia, which explains why there is a white Zin under their label (cringe face). “Two buck chuck” is more like “three buck chuck” now, but you still can’t beat that price. It’s a wonderful thing when you can get a pizza AND a bottle of wine and only spend a ten spot.
Finally, the favorite of the three wines listed in Consumer Reports best Value Chardonnays, Kirkland Sonoma Chardonnay. By far the better of the three and more elegant. Kirkland buys wines from well-known wineries and puts their name on it. (Trader Joe’s wines like the reserves and grand reserves do this as well.) Kirkland is a solid Chardonnay, one that could be served at a holiday dinner or even special occasion. Crisp apple and pear with your first sniff and sip. Vanilla and spice linger on the finish. For $7 this wine is the perfect wine for any occasion.
Consumer Reports and your Examiner have made it easy for you, so get out there and go buy some bargain,value, wallet friendly, affordable wine.