My wife got me a 4 pack of varietal juices from Draper Valley Vineyards for christmas. I was so excited! We quickly decided what nights to try them in the coming weeks, and for a few of them even planned meals around them. For the Chardonnay, we unfortunately didn't planned a meal around it, which perhaps lead to a less than great experience with it.
It has a weak scent, of apple cider and dried autumn leaves. It's a great white grape juice - very dry for a juice (still very sweet compared to a wine.) Fre Chardonnay tastes like this but watered down 1 to 1. Full bodied, heavy mouth feel. The taste is very mild, and it's very very low on acid. Fruity, tastes of apple. We had it with Panda Express - bad pairing! My wife says it could be a good dessert drink with cherry cobbler and ice cream, we'll have to try it. It's fairly complex for a single ingredient juice, which means it's just barely more than a one note drink.
We haven't given up on Chardonnay, however, we still have the "Award Winning"™ Ariel Chardonnay to try!
Works as a wine Alternative: If it's paired well, I think it could be. It's so very low on acid that it doesn't cut at all, but it's the driest of the juices we've tried so far.
We later did a taste test with all four of the Draper Valley Vineyard drinks we go, one cup straight, another cut with 1 part water 3 parts juice.
The chardonnay, without any food, I liked better cut with water, the apple/grape flavor comes through more with less sweetness. There is a thickness to the uncut Chardonnay, and the water thins it a touch.
Did I like it: Yes, with reservations. I'm starting to think my wife and I are just not Chardonnay people. It deserves a proper pairing, and with the weighty, intense food we usually lean towards it does not pair well. 5 out of 10.
Would I Recomend it: We got a Draper Valley Vineyards 4 pack, they currently have a deal on a 6 pack, one of each of their juices. This is a great way to experiment and learn more about the most popular types of grapes out there. It was a very educational experience, and we found some juices we definitely return to. Recommended!
Who Might Like it: If you're ditching alcohol and want chardonnay, it's worth a shot. It does taste like chardonnay, but very sweet.
(Compare to Sutter Home's Fre Chardonnay)