I have a love-hate relationship with the 50% Off shopping cart parked in the wine aisle at my local Pavillions grocery store. Half the time there’s nothing there I want to sample; the rest of the time there are deals too good to pass up. This post points up why sometimes, when dealing with Sale wine, a “too good” deal can cut both ways.
Woodbridge California Chardonnay 2011 by Robert Mondavi Alcohol 13.5% by volume; 1.5L; Regular price $15.99, half price $8.00 at Pavillions.
On the Label: “Our Chardonnay’s vibrant fruit, spice notes and creamy texture make it an elegant match for roasted chicken, grilled fish, fresh salads and creamy cheeses. Believing that wine should be an integral part of life, Robert Mondavi founded Woodbridge Wintery in 1979 to make fine wines for every occasion. He returned to his childhood roots in historic Lodi, California to craft wines using his signature techniques that combine rich tradition with state-of-the-art innovatin. To learn more, visit www.woodbridgewines.com .”
My take: I’ll be honest. I picked up this wine for three reasons: $8 for 1.5L, 2011 Chardonnay, and the Robert Mondavi name. I don’t remember but I believe when I first became aware of Woodbridge, they didn’t tie the Mondavi name to it; and I didn’t like what I tasted when I first found it, years ago now. So I almost never pick up Woodbridge wines. Plus, this was a bulk wine, and while I usually don’t mind bulk wines (especially chardonnays or pinot grigios), this was a Woodbridge bulk wine.
But I picked it up anyway. And for once, the label rang true. This wine went with chicken one night, fish the next. It was a terrific sipping wine for the cook; and because it was a 1.5 liter bottle, it lasted longer than two days which is always a plus.
My Rating: ~ Very Good ~ I went back to pick up another bottle, but didn’t find any still on sale. Found a lot of Woodbridge Muscat, which made me think that perhaps this bottle got mis-sale-labelled? If so, yay for me!
Byron Santa Maria Valley 2002 Chardonnay Alcohol 14.2% by volume; Regular price $18.97, 50% off for $9.49 at Pavillions.
On the Label: Santa Maria Valley’s unique combination of ultra-cool climate and very long growing season makes it a natural wonder of the winegrowing world. This wine was proudly grown, produced, and bottled on our estate to achieve the ultimate expression of California Chardonnay. ~Ken Brown, Founder & Winemaker May be cellared for five years or more. www.byronwines.com
My Take: Oooookay. I was good with the label until the last line…”may be cellared for five years or more”. Since this is a 2002, five years would put it at 2007. A judicious “or more” would be two more years – which would put it at 2009. And here we are, at the tail end of 2012.
I was really looking forward to tasting this wine, as Byron has a good reputation. Unfortunately, ten years past the bottling date is (and I’m guessing here) 3 to 5 years too long, which makes me wonder a) why Pavillions still had enough of this wine to put more than a bottle or two in the cart for their 50% off sale and b) if it was a new purchase, for God’s sakes, why? Two questions I’ll never know the answer to, I’m guessing.
This wine was to go with the roasted chicken. I tasted it. Hubby tasted it. We opened the Woodbridge that night, instead, and I decided I’d turn the Byron into Sangria. I put it back in the fridge and forgot about it until a couple days later. The next time I noticed it? After tasting it again, I poured it down the drain.
My Rating: ~ Life’s Too Short to Drink Out-Of-Date Wine ~ (otherwise known as Undrinkable) I’m hoping another Byron wine will come my way, so I can do a proper tasting. But as I mentioned in another post, do NOT drink white wines any further out than five years from the date on the bottle, unless a) you paid a heck of a lot more than $10 for it and b) someone else is treating you.
As usual, this is just my honest opinion and will totally depend upon my mood, the weather, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ.
~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~
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My Rating System: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!