2008 Blue Fin Chardonnay

2008 Blue Fin ChardonnayPrice: $3.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer “For a number of years, we sold a great-tasting Chardonnay called Blue Fin that was made for us by one of Napa’s oldest wineries. And then they decided to “retire” the label. Bad. Then, fortuitously, one of our long-term wine partners bought the label, and offered us a great deal on Blue Fin Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Good. As we mentioned, this is a label we (and you) know and love, so quality and consistency are key. After all, what good is a low price if the wine doesn’t taste good? We guarantee Blue Fin Wines taste as good as ever. Blue Fin Chardonnay features elegant flavors of fig, tropical fruit and spice, with just a hint of vanilla. This is a truly refreshing wine.”

What I Think:

An unnamed long-term wine partner? Do tell… it has now proven to be yet another offering from Bronco Wine Co. most famously known for lavishing the world in Two Buck Chuck. With that out of the way let me try to remain objective. Couple that with the fact that I usually don’t get along with Chardonnay and that may be a difficult task. With the wine in the glass I was greeted with a bouquet of nectarines. On the palate the wine was fresh and crisp. At this end of the price scale the only oak you get is toasted chips which they thankfully passed on for this offering. The palate is filled with white apple flavors leading to a steely balance on the finish. This one brings an old saying to mind; “Simple is as simple does.” Chalk this one up as a surprise, a nice, easy going picnic wine.

Rating: 12th Bottle

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17 thoughts on “2008 Blue Fin Chardonnay

  1. I remember seeing this in the Fearless Flyer and I thinking, “I wonder if Jason’s reviewed this one yet.” Now that you have, I think I’ll pick up a bottle.

    Erroll

  2. I totally disagree with your comment on the Pinot Noir Jason. It is one of the best I’ve ever had and for the price…I’ll be coming back for more.

  3. Blue Fin Merot is not longer available at Traders Joe’s, they are not carrying it anymore. Can anyone tell me where to find this, it is the best.
    Thanks

  4. Jane – I just picked up a bottle today at Trader Joe’s, and the shelf was full! I’m in Washington State – the store is in Everett…..just an FYI – you might want to check again..

    • Jane,
      If they don’t have it, ask if they can order it. Sometimes, all they need to know is that someone wants it.

  5. @Jane The Blue Fin is made by Bronco Wine Co, the esteemed makers of Two Buck Chuck, and is a Trader Joe’s exclusive offering. You may want to check out this list of the other Bronco labels, see which they have at Trader Joe’s and try a few in hopes of finding one of those Merlot’s agreeable. That is unless as Julie says it is back in stock! Thanks both for the comments.

  6. Trader Joe’s low priced wines are low priced, because it’s all they’re really worth. The American pallette is not very sophisticated (as proven by the immense popularity of light beer.) In wine, Americans will drink just about anything. TJ’s has focused on the $4 and $5 range, but these wines fall far short of the purpose of wine – to be a good partner with food.

    When someone offers me a Two Buck Chuck at their home, and then presents it as a “smart” value choice, I’ll simply ask for a soft drink.

    Me, I’ll go to Costco, and get a much better discount wine (or better) for $7 – $9.

  7. Bob, while I’m curious which Trader Joe’s wines have disappointed you, you got me thinking about finances. Let’s say someone drinks a couple glasses of wine with dinner most nights. We’ll stipulate each bottle is stretched over two nights, so about 3 bottles per week. 3 * 52 * $8 = $1248 per year on your everyday discount Costco wine. That’s well within the budget of many people, but–just for perspective–a whopping 11.5% of total income for someone at the poverty line of $10,820. Suddenly that soft drink you mention sounds appealing.

    The authors of The Wine Trials have conducted research showing the average non-expect has a slight preference for less expensive wines in blind tastings. Only for those with wine training is there a positive correlation between price and enjoyment, but it’s still smaller than conventional wisdom holds.

  8. Don, I just had the 08 Blue Fin Chard ($3.99), and it’s a good example of my point. About half way though the bottle, I could just as easily have poured it down the drain as finished it.

    The wines I refer to are the ones in the stacked floor displays, of which there are many for $3.99, $4.99 and $5.99. I’ve tried about 15+ over the past 18 months (including Chuck), and finished most of them – but still think that’s all they are worth. Underpriced values? No. Bargain Finds? Not in my opinion. Better than Yellow Tail @ $5.99? Yes, some probably are.

    The wines on the actual store shelves, of course, are not in this category. But, they are also not $3.99. I have enjoyed some “values” off these shelves (mostly french) in the $7.99 to $12.99 range.

  9. I think I can understand where you’re coming from, Bob. You do usually get more out of 4 bucks if you use it to go from a $5 bottle to a $9 one, compared to using it to go from $13 up to $17. There’s also an opportunity cost in that while some varieties of Shaw aren’t a horrible value per say, you lose out on the chance of drinking something interesting and exciting (or at least refreshing) instead.

    I’m surprised as a matter of odds that you didn’t find any gems among all those display bottles. But I can tell you that what goes on display is often decided by someone who hasn’t tried the wine, and it’s not a reliable indication of value. It’s just as likely to be an indication that the bottle is pretty, has a clever name, or can be somehow linked to a holiday.

  10. I quoted your review on my own blog,, today. I’m beginning to think that I must have gotten a bad bottle, because your review and the others I found all thought it was pretty great, dry, and simple. My bottle was very sweet.

    • Might be! It has been a long time since I’ve had this one but I certainly would have revolted at sweetness and definitely if it was syrupy. That said I wouldn’t classify this as “great” in anyway. Simple and easy going sure, but great no…

  11. The Blue Fin Chardonnay we purchased recently from Trader Joes Cleveland: Basically, low priced boxed wine in a bottle. It was pleasant with no bad after taste, yet it just had the same finish as your typical boxed white.

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