Monday, August 3, 2009
Crane Lake is owned by Fred Franzia of Two Buck Chuck fame. Normally, that means that I wouldn't touch this bottle unless you gave it to me gratis or I had to be polite or something. However, recently, this wine was in the Wall Street Journal, in the Tastings column of all places (if you can't read the article because the WSJ says it's paid content, just go to Google and Google "Australian Chardonnay: Not Back Yet." You should be able to read it for free...) And the surprise? This wine not only was the best value, but it was one of only two wines that they liked out of about 25. They paid $5.03, but right now at TJ's, you can get this wine for $2.99. So I just had to try it to see if it was any good. A couple of other notes--this is Australian bulk wine that's blended/bottled in the US, so it's a bit of a departure from normal Bronco Wine Company fare, and 2. Australia has a huge glut of grapes right now. Some of them are great, and the market for them has pretty much collapsed from everything that I've read.
I was expecting to slam this wine. Here's the thing: it's actually insanely good for 3$. Simple, but it's varietally correct, has good acidity, nice fruit, and it's cheap. Pears and some citrus. Nice balance. How is this 3$? You could have 6 bottles of this, or 1 mediocre bottle of California Chardonnay...I wonder if perhaps this is what Two Buck Chuck used to taste like in the beginning (because it tastes like shit now...), and that they lowered the quality after everyone got hooked? A
UPDATE 8/21: I would recommend that you drink this wine the same day you open it. Because I had a bottle hanging out in my fridge half drunk for 3 days, and when I poured my self a glass, it wasn't exactly what I would call good. Definitely had fallen apart and had oxidized to an excessive degree, which wasn't something that bodes well for drinking this wine. All those more nutty, sherry-like characteristics do not flatter this wine.