Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay – RP90 $14.95
Kendall-Jackson, a.k.a. KJ, somehow got a reputation for making grocery store wine. If this is grocery store wine, then I’ll live in the aisles because this is outrageously good – at any price. There is a tendency to confuse high volume producers like Kendall-Jackson with bulk producers. Those that take that stance are missing some incredible wines and, more importantly, incredible values. Most KJ wines are estate grown, meaning they are in charge of every step in the wine producing process from growing to harvesting to bottling. This is handcrafted wine that can hold its own and BEAT many wines 3 times the price.
From their own vineyards in Monterey and Santa Barbara, this wine is created from the top 3% of their Chardonnay lots! Suddenly the advantages of being a high volume producer are becoming more apparent. Much like the reserve programs of Mondavi or Beringer, only the very best vineyards/grapes/barrels from their extensive wine programs go into the reserve wines. In the words of Charlie Sheen, Kendall-Jackson is winning.
A rich buttery style defines the Grand Reserve Chardonnay, which was aged in 69% French oak, of which 25% was new. A smokey nose leads into a rich palate of lemonade and mango. The finish is exceptionally long, with citrus and tropical fruit lingering on for 30 seconds or more. I can’t say enough good things about this $15 wine.
Parker gave it 90 points. I think it has an added depth and complexity to warrant 91. Either way it’s a screaming, case-worthy value.
Robert Parker 90 points
“The 2008 Chardonnay Grand Reserve, which comes from their vineyards in Monterey and Santa Barbara, is a richer, fuller wine with loads of tropical fruit and honeysuckle. It is crisp, full-bodied, and again, an impressive wine to drink over the next several years.
The lowest level of the Kendall-Jackson empire, the Vintner’s Reserve series, goes from strength to strength. For consumers hoping to maximize their dollar value, these serious wines are consistent choices. Their Chardonnay has always been good, but dramatic increases in quality have taken place in the Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon programs.”