Wine of the week: McManis Chardonnay 2016

McManis chardonnayThe McManis chardonnay demonstrates why the California producer makes some of the best $10 wine in the U.S.

McManis didn’t defend its best cheap wine title this year; the brand came in third, behind arch-rival Bogle and Washington state’s Columbia Crest. It wasn’t, apparently, for quality, but because – as several voters reported – it’s not easy to find McManis in some parts of the country.

Ah, three-tier, you never let us down, do you?

This is a shame, because McManis makes some of the best $10 wine the U.S., as the McManis chardonnay ($10, purchased, 13.5%) demonstrates. It does exactly what $10 grocery store chardonnay is supposed to do and that most don’t bother with, choosing to focus on a cute label, clever name, or to sneak in some residual sugar.

The McManis chardonnay is varietally correct, and tastes like chardonnay – more warm climate than usual, with tropical fruit instead of the flavor of green apples. Second, it isn’t off putting in any way, no dirty flavors covered up with sweetness, and it still tastes like wine, with acidity and freshness. Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment: The fake oak is excellently done, with a taste of oak and not a bucket of it.

Highly recommended, and it will return to the Hall of Fame when the 2018 lineup is announced next month. Drink this on its own when you want a glass after work, or with almost anything save red meat. In this, it will go with almost any takeout that shows up during the holiday season.

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