This was on sale at The Store for $3.99 for a 750ml bottle, down 2 bucks from its regular $5.99. That’s about a 30% reduction from an already cheapskate qualifying price, so I had to try it. Glen Ellen is a budget priced line of 7 different varietals (OK, 6 varietals and a White Zinfandel) from Concannon Vineyard, of the Livermore Valley, near San Fransico.
When my son was a very little boy, and we’d try to introduce some new food to him that he didn’t care for he would say, “Can’t like it”. For more than 20 years, that phrase has remained active in our household to describe food, or music, or television, or books, or anything we find unappealing. So the quick summary of this particular wine is “Can’t like it”. There was a slightly sour taste-not severe, but present. Oak, of course, is almost an inherent characteristic of Chardonnay, and most pleasant when subtle and background. But sometimes, and I’ve had this before in ultra-cheap Chards, the wine tastes like someone poured “oak juice” in it. Instead of a light fragrance and a hint of oak in the flavor, this wine just tastes strongly of wood-artificial wood, with an unpleasant “plastic” taste as well. After a mouthful, I had to work up the open mindedness to take another.
There are, at this moment, 3 different Chardonnays in our house, all opened and underway, all cheapskate qualifiers (the other 2 will be expounded upon another day). Just to be sure I wasn’t being unfair to the Glen Ellen, I waited until the 2nd evening and a 2nd try before concluding it was a “don’t buy again”, in case my mouth was in a bad mood the first try. I “A/B’d” it with one of the other cheapskate Chards we had on hand, and I had both the Mrs. and the now-grown-up son mentioned above taste it, without my tainting their judgment with my opinion. Both concluded the same as I. They also tried the other Chard, and agreed the Glen Ellen was not good. The Mrs. actually made a Mr. Yuk face and handed me back the glass. Ironically, I loved the Old Vine Zinfandel from Glen Ellen (see comments elsewhere), but they say Glen Ellen is “most celebrated” for Chardonnay. Perhaps “celebrated” means it sells the most. That would be understandable in that Chardonnay is probably the best selling variety in the U.S. It definitely is not their best. We, however, celebrated it being empty, and moving on to a different wine!