99 Cents Store
My wife and I went up north for the weekend and stopped in at a 99 cents store in Camarillo. I took a look at the wine section and found they had about three or four cases of 2003 Carmenet chardonnay. The label said it was bottled for Ruth's Chris steak house. I bought a couple of bottles and tried one yesterday. For 99 cents it isn't bad at all. It's a bright yellow gold color, aromas of oak and fruit, and it's the same on the palate - very oaky with apple tones. It even seems a bit astringent at first. The other wines on the shelf were either not interesting or over the hill. I checked the 99 cents store near our house but they didn't have this particular bottling.
I posted this on the LA board, but the Hall Monitors didn't like it there so I'll pass it along here: the 99 Cent stores in our area (in and around Pasadena) that sell wine have an apparently large stock of a 2004 Coastal chardonnay called White Lie. It's very light and crisp, which I like. I was delighted the other day to see the same wine in Gelson's, on a closeout special for a mere $8.99!
The 99 Centers also have a lot of an undistinguished but quite drinkable Azure Bay cabernet. Too bad it's not Boeuf Bourgoignonne weather...
re: Will Owen
I saw your post over there, too. If it is the one I am thinking of, the label says it is an "early harvest" chardonnay meaning less calories because of a lower sugar content due to the early harvest. That sounds strange to me - it's supposed to be like a "chardonnay lite." But if you say it's nice and crisp it sounds like it is worth trying out for 99 cents. Thanks.