Our August 27, 2013 post The Best Chardonnay Under $3.00: A Comparison Tasting turned out to be one of TastedOnline.com’s most popular wine reviews so we decided to try and go one better…and do a comparison tasting of the cheapest Chardonnay that Walmart has on their shelves. We’re assuming these are bottles of Chardonnay are probably in every Walmart across the country and most likely a large number of other stores where mass-marketed wines are sold.
We picked all the inexpensive Chardonnay that was available at our local (Kernersville, North Carolina) Walmart, These included: Yellow Tail, Woodbridge, Rex Goliath, Beringer and Walmart’s Barefoot brand. We drank them randomly and blind than rated them for the best value. Here’s what we thought:
They were all chilled before drinking and all used plastic corks except the Baringer that had a reconstructed cork and the Yellow Tail that had a screw cap (typical of Australian wines). They were all light wheat straw color, all had some sweetness, but none of them were overly sweet as we had expected…three cheers, but that’s where the similarities began to separate.
Yellow Tail Australian Chardonnay 2017 ($5.48):
Very light oak, apple and peach aromas. Tart with fresh apple, mango and melon flavors. Oily texture, soft acidity and a tart, almost waxy tasting finish. OK cold, but as it warmed up it’s appeal decreased rapidly. We called it a Disappointing Chardonnay.
Woodbridge, Robert Mondavi California Chardonnay 2016 ($4.98):
Earthy forest floor and fresh cut grass aromas with hints of mango that grew more prevalent as it warmed. A creamy, heavier body than the others, but lacking in crispiness and fruit taste. A mineral mouth-feel was a real plus, but the finish lacked tartness. Neutral tasting Chardonnay.
Rex Goliath Australian Chardonnay, Non Vintage ($4.98):
Bread dough, citrus and summer squash aromas. Pear, pineapple and lemon flavors and a trace of fresh acidity. Much the same mineral taste as the Woodbridge, but quite neutral in every respect. The lack of crispness was accentuated by the dusty finish and was a real “turn-off”. Not bad mass produced Chardonnay.
Beringer Main & Vine California Chardonnay, Non Vintage ($4.67):
Fresh melon and apple aromas. Slightly tart apple and lemon flavors with just a touch of mineral. A good balance of flavors and acidity that ends with a slight fruity taste. Not-Bad Chardonnay.
Barefoot California Chardonnay, Non Vintage ($5.98):
Very light melon aroma. Quite tart almost a bitter taste. Low on flavor and acidity. We called it Nondescript… nothing really offended us, but nothing encouraged a second sip.
Russ Anderson, owner, buyer and sales person at the Caviste Wine Shop in Winston-Salem, North Carolina has often told us that at the end of a tasting or party you can easily identify which wine was the best by looking at the amount left in the bottles. Well that method was very telling here too…look closely at the photo and you will see which bottles have the least wine left in them. At the end of the day we decided that the wines were so similar (none were great, but none were totally objectionable) the best measure of value was the price…and that’s how we rated them.
2. Rex Goliath
4. Yellow Tail
If your in the market for these Chardonnays we strongly recommend that you buy the one that’s least expensive and you won’t go wrong!!! These were all drinkable, had “some” Chardonnay characteristics, but as you would expect, none were anything like a “real” white burgundy. So enjoy the $4.67 Baringer Chardonnay knowing you are drinking a true bargain and the best inexpensive Chardonnay Walmart sells.