I do love being surprised by wine.
Sometimes, the surprise comes in the form of some new aroma, flavor or texture I’ve yet to come across. Other times, I get surprised to discover an area of the world that I did not take to be a wine growing region makes some truly righteous juice.
And still other times, I have my preconceived notions about price and quality utterly shattered. Just stomped. That, perhaps, is the most fun, because I get to share that surprise with you, and there’s a better chance you can end up sharing in it.
The 2008 TRE Chardonnay is 100% Monterey County chard. It should be available for $9.95 at your local store (your mileage will vary on that note, of course). And, frankly, it’s pretty damn good chardonnay.
The wine is a bright lemon yellow in the glass. I originally wanted to call it “straw” but that didn’t seem right. My wife suggested I hold up a lemon next to the glass, and voila, that was exactly the color. The nose is primarily made up of an apple note, along with some grass and minerality that seemed almost sauvignon blanc-ish, but there is still something on the nose that leaves you no doubt this is chardonnay.
The wine is medium bodied, and something in here bites back ever so slightly (though, “heat” isn’t the right word–this wine clocks in at 12.5% ABV and feels like it). In general, the wine is clean and crisp on the palate. Notes of lemon zest and green apple mingle with a subtle, pleasant oaky roundness. The wine is in no way over-oaked, but it has touched wood and been bettered by it.
All in all, my expectations were admittedly a bit low when I popped the cork on the TRE Chardonnay, but I was pleasantly surprised over and over again. Easily recommended, especially when you consider the sub-$10 price point.