This post is by Ryan
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Blue Fin California Chardonnay (2008)
Blue Fin Winery
Today while picking up some lunch items at Trader Joe’s, I decided to check out a couple of their current wine specials. The store, well-known for Two Buck Chuck – now faniced up under the Charles Shaw name and priced at $3.49 a bottle – commonly stocks new products at great prices which are only available for short periods. A current special are a couple wines from Blue Fin Winery, priced very reasonably at only $4.99 a bottle.
Both a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were displayed, so I grabbed a bottle of each. Even if they weren’t any good I figured I’d only be out $10 – not a bad deal. I chilled the Chard and had some dinner before sitting down to sample each. Here are my notes.
Appearance: Clear, pale, light golden yellow in color.
Nose: Clean, with youthful aromas. Just shy of medium intensity, fruit balanced well with oak. Yellow apple, lemon, melon, nectarine, and stone fruit. Buttery and biscuit notes soften the citrus.
Palate: Dry with medium acidity that sneaks up on the finish, peaking sharply, but then smoothing out. Very slight tannin from oak, medium alcohol, and slightly fuller than medium bodied. Flavors include citrus, pear, apple, and stone fruit. Smooth body and grapefruit and butter on the finish.
I am not a fan of California-style Chardonnays – I definitely prefer my whites to have little if no influence of oak, and to express more of their fruit.
I have to say though that the Blue Fin was quite enjoyable. The oak was definitely present, but was very nice balanced with the fruit characteristics. I was also surprised by the acidity that sneaks up on the back-end – surprised, but pleased. The body of the wine was full enough to pair well with food, but I’m perfectly happy sipping this wine on its own. Sure there might be other more interesting white grapes being made into wine, but you really can’t replace a well-made Chardonnay.
Blue Fin California Pinot Noir (2008)
Blue Fin Winery
Napa, Pinot Noir
Appearance: Clear and bright, not pale but very light – text is clearly visible. The color is intensely purple to ruby red.
Nose: Clean and youthful, but very muted. Fruit dominated – despite it’s softness – with cranberry, cherry, strawberry, and raspberry. Very light hints of oak with some vanilla and spice.
Palate: Dry with moderate acidity. Light in body and tannin. Flavors are similar to the nose, and a little bland. Cedar, cherry, and apple. There is no presence of earth or intense fruit. Drinkable but not interesting.
Quite a disappointment after enjoying the Chardonnay. The simplicity of this bottle makes it palatable, but I don’t really care for it. My marker for American Pinot Noir is always the presence of intense fruit. European PN (Burgundy in particular) is more characeristic of vegetal, mushroom, and earthy tones. I enjoy both, mood depending, but the Blue Fin sadly fell short.
Overall enjoying one of two wines at such low prices I don’t see as such a bad thing. I would have loved having 2 for 2, but you can’t have everything, right? Unfortunately there’s not much information on Blue Fin available online – that Google seems to be able to uncover – so I don’t have a website to check. I do believe that Trader Joe’s carries a couple of their other wines – at very slightly higher prices. If there’s a store near you I’d recommend checking any of them out. You might find a great deal!