J & J Cellars Zinfandel 2008

Purchased from the J&J Cellars tasting room in Paso Robles, around $15 dollars.

Teri: J&J Cellars was a beautiful winery to drive out to in Paso Robles. The tasting room is in the middle of the vines with nothing but beautiful views of grapevines on either side. We enjoyed our time at this winery with the friendly company of the staff and the family dog lounging around outside. The Zinfandel was one of our favorites out of all we tasted while we were there. To the nose it contained hints of spice, raspberry, and dark fruits. The flavor was full bodied and left you with the taste of sweet red ripe fruits and some chocolate. 75 points

Aaron: I loved the complexity of this wine.  The fruit came through effectively, followed by a hint of chocolate.  For me, it’s all about the finish and I definitely liked this one.  It was very gentle for a Zin and at $15 a bottle, it’s hard to beat.  80 points

Cupcake Chardonnay

Purchased from Total Wine & More, $7.47 (you can also find for similar prices at Costco, Target, and many other grocery/liquor stores)

Aaron: I thoroughly enjoyed this white.  This was the third of three chardonnays we tried in a single night and it definitely stood out as the most impressive to me.  There was a buttery smooth consistency as the wine melted into my mouth and I felt that it was surprisingly full-bodied.  I did not get as many fruit flavors as I expected but the warmth of gentle butterscotch was perfect for an after-dinner glass.  I was also surprised to sense a hint of a bite on the finish; not to say it was harsh, but I was pleasantly reminded that I was still drinking alcohol.  85 points

Teri: If you are looking for a white wine that will win over novice and semi-experienced wine drinkers for any group occasion, this one is it. Despite its feminine looking and sounding label the wine inside can be an easy favorite of both men and women alike. It it definitely leans more towards the “buttery” side of a Chardonnay with strong warm flavors of butterscotch and vanilla and finishes with a lingering crisp finish and a slight taste of citrus. The aroma is also very pleasant. I could smell a lot of the vanilla and butterscotch even before the taste. This is sure to be a crowd favorite before, during, or after dinner. Pair it with rich flavors to complement its “buttery” nature or enjoy it on its own. 89 points


Coppola Chardonnay (Rosso & Bianco) 2009

Brought over by a friend. Can find this label at most liquor/grocery stores, $10-15 dollars.
Total Wine & More, $7.99

Aaron: I was pleasantly surprised with this white.  I generally prefer reds and was happy to enjoy the lingering finish.  If asked, I would describe this wine as moderate and mellow.  It was much fuller than expected which improved its rating but overall I can’t say that it stood out beyond anything I’ve ever had. 80 points

Teri: I have always been a fan of the Coppola label. A friend of mind, remembering that I had mentioned this fact years ago, brought this bottle over for dinner. I had not had a white made by the Coppola label and this Chardonnay was quite favorable. It is part of their Rosso & Bianco, specialty wines made for everyday enjoyment. The smell was a mix of butter, vanilla and pear. The taste contained a gentle balance of a slight butter flavor mixed with a taste of crisp citrus and green apple. I could also taste some vanilla and a slight hint of oak. The finish was long and smooth, sometimes quite uncommon for white wines, and I the mix of flavors would accompany almost any occasion. 81 points

Beringer Chardonnay 2010

Purchased from Costco in a two-pack. Original price estimated between $10-15 dollars.

Aaron: Overall, this is an easy-to-drink white that is perfect for bringing to a party or serving for people who may be new to wine drinking.  It goes down very easy and is crisp and light.  It’s not overly complex and doesn’t have a lot of flavor in my opinion, but that makes it perfect for casual drinking.  I found myself drinking this wine and swallowing immediately rather than letting is settle to savor the flavors; this is partly a function of its simplicity, but is the reason I would recommend it when going to a party. 80 Points

Teri: This Chardonnay is light and crisp and would be perfect on a hot day or paired with spicy foods. It contains flavors of pear, apple, and lemon and leaves the palate feeling refreshed. Not my personal favorite but would be an easy starter for those new to wine. 74 points