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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bargain Wine of the Week: 2007 Ramal Road Carneros Chardonnay

One of the tricks of merchandising and marketing is to use leftovers to produce a product similar to the main brand. Thus, every drug store has store-brand products that are actually made by the big-name companies. Wineries often do the same thing. They create a second-tier wine, give it few if any marketing dollars and use the off-cuts of the production process and sell it at a much reduced price.

It would seem that
Buena Vista Winery, one of the oldest wineries in California, has created Ramal Road wines, which it sells at $10 a bottle. (The label at the top of the bottle says "Buena Vista" in mouse-sized type and Ramal Road is the address of the Buena Vista winery.) The $10 price tag on sale (it is normally $15, we discovered later) is impressive for any Chardonnay that good. It is particularly impressive when the grapes are grown in the Carneros region that sits at the south end of the Napa-Sonoma border in California.

When you are at the wine store, remember that any Carneros Chardonnay is predictably great drinking. The best sells for more than $50 a bottle and most sell for $30-$50. This particular label, which doesn't even show up in a Google search, is easily worth $20.

The flavor that comes through in spades is pear and honey.

It also tastes of apple and citrus, with a little vanilla in the finish. A great bargain. Put away a case. This probably won't stay undiscovered for long, and then the price will undoubtedly go up.


  1. At what store did you find this wine? Is it available at grocery stores?

  2. We bought the Ramal Road Carneros Chardonnay at a big wine warehouse store called Total Wine. It has an amazing selection and very helpful clerks, and has stores in Virginia, California, Florida, Arizona, Delaware, South Carolina, Nevada, Georgia, New Jersey and North Carolina.

  3. We have a Total Wine in Alpharetta where I live (in Atlanta area). Great! I'm going to pick some up!

  4. When I went back to buy more Ramal Road, I noticed that it was no longer on sale — and in fact was now priced at $15. Either I got a heckuva deal on sale or they have realized that people will pay more for this wine.
    Often wineries will put a new brand on the market at a low price to get people hooked and then raise the price — but rarely this quickly.
    If you remember the Yellow Tail craze of a few years ago, or Alice White, they were introduced far below $10 and then the price went to $15 and higher.
    We think this wine is still worth it at $15, but it has risen out of the rules of wine engagement for Eat Well, Eat Cheap's Bargain Wine of the Week.