I just had to pick this wine up when I saw it. I have no idea why, but the posts on the previous two vintages of the red Chartiot are the two of the most read posts on this site by a pretty wide margin. A couple of people seemed really offended that I compared the Chariot red to Coke...geez...it's just cheap wine. Take it easy. It's built for your unsophisticated fat-ass, sugar-loving, potentially diabetic American palate. Just like Coke. I've mentioned it before, but for whatever reason, I get more hits on this site from Trader Joe's wines than anything else. I guess that TJ's wines are a crap-shoot (speaking of which, you should read this funny thing over at the Cab Franco Files...), so maybe people are trying to flesh out the rare gem from the garbage? I guess there's also a significantly smaller market for what I tend to drink most often, which is stuff in the 10-30$ price range, so maybe that explains why people aren't interested in reading about wines that are, well, better, probably more expensive, and definitely less available. Anyways, enough bullshit, what's up with this wine?
5$ at Trader Joe's. Sarah had a glass of this before me and said the following: "It smells like something...and I just can't place it." I poured a glass, and immediately said "Milk left-over after you've had a bowl of Fruit Loops." Yeah, I know it sounds insane, and I haven't had Fruit Loops in, I don't know, 15 years? Maybe longer? Anyways, Sarah immediately said "Oh my God! You're right!" So somehow, both of us have a pretty vivid memory of eating Fruit Loops (maybe that explains why I was a tubby little fat-ass when I was a kid?), that neither one of us want to revisit, and yet it's stuck in our sub-conscious as a specific enough smell to become a wine descriptor. (And that should tell you why you should trust your own palate...I mean really, Fruit Loops? Is anyone taking me seriously now other than Sarah?) Here's what the Fruit Loop thing breaks down too: I think it's got a lot of candied lemon and some other lime-ish citrus to it, although I'm sure there are some other things in there too. The nose has some floral characteristics to go with all the citrus. Once the Chariot gets in your mouth, it's obvious that it's off-dry to a certain extent (and if it isn't, it sure is sweet), but still has enough acid to balance it all out before leading into a finish with hints of peach. I don't really know what to think of this wine. Hand's down, I do not think it is as good or as interesting as the Red. This is a style of wine that is sort of in no-man's land as far as I'm concerned. Why? The wine-maker has painted himself in a weird stylistic corner. Everyone was probably expecting something like this to be completely dry, or God forbid, Chardonnay-ish. Consumers are confused by wines like this. What the fuck do you do with them? That's the age old question, isn't it? Go grab some Thai food, some Mexican food, or basically anything that's nuclear spicy. I also happen to think that there are a lot of other semi-dryish wines that are a whole lot better. Alsace comes to mind; so does the Loire; so does Riesling. All of them have good values to drink that are far superior to this particular wine, although they may be twice as much. For me, I'd be happier with something that wasn't so syrupy sweet...in this case, I'm going to acknowledge my bias and compare this to Sprite. This tastes like industrial food. (How else do you get Fruit Loops? Is there a chemical that pertains to "Fruit Loop" scent? It's scary as fuck, but there probably is some industrial chemist that has created exactly that. How else would the taste of Fruit Loops be so fucking consistent?) I'd prefer a 9 or 10$ Kabinett Riesling, or even a domestic one. Lots of choices out there. If you're cheap and like Sprite, have at this--it's not too bad. C+/B-