Product Type: Tesco Wine
Newest Review: ... for the kind of wine we're talking about to help you put this one into context. Tesco's version of the wine certainly displays some of... more
Was it chilly in Chile this year?
Tesco Finest Chilean Chardonnay Reserve
Member Name: cmh4135
Tesco Finest Chilean Chardonnay Reserve
Advantages: Cheap and drinkable
Disadvantages: Not worthy of the finest lable and not typical of a New World Chardonnay
Supermarket wines can often produce a pleasant surprise. Generally, although it's not always the case, they'll be cheaper than their branded counterparts, but, for me, more important is that they can often be produced by some of the branded wineries and whilst not the same as the labeled versions can, nonetheless be as good.
Tesco Finest Reserve Chilean Chardonnay is almost such a wine. It is produced for Tesco by the Valdivieso winery in central Chile. I first came across Valeivieso when I developed a love for strong, fruity reds and soon discovered that they also produced a fair few good whites. Valdivieso labeled wines are, as a rule, not that expensive and can be found in many of the major supermarkets.
Chilean chardonnays tend to be very fruity wines, the high temperatures ensuring that the grapes are nice and ripe when they are harvested. The wines tend to be full-bodied and dry, yet fruity.
You might be wondering why, thus far I've said nothing about the wine itself other than the producer. Simple. It's to lay down the benchmark for the kind of wine we're talking about to help you put this one into context.
Tesco's version of the wine certainly displays some of the varietal characteristics but just doesn't quite make the mark as far as I'm concerned.
To look at a glass of chilled wine you'll notice that it has a clear appearance and a pale yellow colour. It lacks the depth of colour of most New World chardonnays which will be yellow to straw in colour. This should give you an indication of what is to come.
Swirling the wine in the glass to release the bouquet produces a fresh aroma of fruit and, to a lesser extent, wood. The wood is the easiest to identify as being oak. The fruit is harder. One would expect to smell tropical fruits in a Chilean chardonnay but I was hard pressed to identify any particular fruit. At a push I'd have placed this wine somewhere between citrus and light tropical but, had I been blind tasting I could easily have mistaken the wine for a sauvignon blanc or possibly a European chardonnay (which is less fruity due to the cooler climes) at this point.
On the palate you discover that the oak nose actually makes way for a buttery taste. This, for the anoraks, is actually as a result of malolactic fermentation whereby the fruity malic acids are made into the smoother acids found in milk. The fruit that one detected when smelling the wine is again hard to place. It's not citrus (as the nose might have suggested) but equally the tropical element is rather lacking. At a push there is some passion fruit there but I'm pushing it.
Despite the lack of identifiable flavours this remains a balanced wine. It is dry, but full bodied, the acidity being tempered by the fruity flavours. It's not going to give you the well-rounded feel of a typical New World chardonnay but, to it's credit, has not been overly oaked for the mass market. Again, on a blind taste I'd probably place this as an unoaked European offering rather than a New World wine but at least that's consistent with it's nose!
At 13% this is not a weak wine but you'll find that it won't slip down quite as readily as a lighter Sauvignon Blanc for example.
This is a wine best served lightly chilled but not too chilled as you'll lose what fruity flavours there are. The buttery notes in the wine mean that it's an excellent partner to buttery dishes such as roast chicken or, oddly enough, anything with basil in it! It doesn't partner peppery foods very well and wouldn't stand up to spiced dishes.
Whilst I think this own brand wine is very drinkable it is a disappointment to the wine variety and the winery that produces it and I expected more. A half case will cost you around £21, so around £3.50 a bottle. At that price it's acceptable but, at the single bottle price of £4 (or thereabouts) you're starting to push the boundaries and I'd suggest that you opt for a Lindeman's or Cono Sur chardonnay, both of which are often on offer at around the £4.50-£5 mark in most major retailers.
Drinkable but not great.
Summary: An atypical New World Chardonnay
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