Cheap Wine That Doesn't Suck: Copa Del Rey 2008 Chardonnay

Everybody's looking for a good deal on wine nowadays, and anybody who's been paying attention to the wine market knows that some of the best deals around are coming from Latin America. Or to put it more succinctly, Chile and Argentina. 

The quality of their grapes, skill of their winemakers and overall affordability have attracted such heavy hitters as Robert Mondavi, Kendall-Jackson, and Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Also Hahn Family Wines, which produces an array of quality wines, from inexpensive Cycles Gladiator to upper-crusty Hahn SLH Estate. 

Hahn's latest entry comes from Chile, the line of Copa Del Rey wines (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot). I haven't tasted my way through all of them yet, but I just popped the cork--actually, unscrewed the cap--of the Copa Del Rey 2008 Chardonnay, and got a nice, big hit of all that ripe, juicy fruit that Chile is known for. What really makes it, though, is once that lush pear-vanilla-tropical fruit flavor passes, a crisp, citrusy acidity takes over, creating a wine both rich and refreshing.  

At $12 a bottle it's a pretty good deal, especially if you like the riper style of California Chardonnays but don't want to be drinking something that tastes like mangoes soaked in grain alcohol. On the other hand, if you like that sort of thing, there's always a mango-tini.

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Bill Citara