Rutz 2012 Chardonnay

Sonoma County, CA; 13.5% ABV
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 23 Sept

Rutz_2012_ChardonnayI seemed to recall others’ having said good things about Rutz (written on the front label as RVTZ), so I picked up one of these.  It’s decent Chardonnay for the money.

On the first day, the wine showed very ripe, perhaps a little over-ripe, fruit of yellow apple / pineapple but was nonetheless reasonably well balanced by good-tasting, ripe acid.  Despite the intense flavor, the body lacked much texture, allowing the acid to shine through.   While a sip started out pretty tasty, there was some sort of off flavor in the finish, as if the over-ripeness included some oxidation.  My friend with whom I opened this, who doesn’t drink wine much, thought it was much better than any Chardonnay he’d run into recently, but I disliked that off flavor.

The next day, the off flavor was to my surprise largely gone, and the wine was pretty good, if still not extremely exciting.

The third (!) day, the wine had gone distinctly downhill, so drink it up in the first one or two days.


7 thoughts on “Rutz 2012 Chardonnay

  1. seedboy

    So I am curious, if you were to choose among the recent GO chardonnays, which one? For me the Evening Land or the 2012 Macon, both of which are still available.

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Seedboy. I really like the Keller Estate “Casa de la Cruz,” of which the Berkeley store still had some yesterday afternoon. I just tried the Nillson (Nillsson? Nilsson?) 2013 Mendocino County Chardonnay, and I think it’s pretty good for $4. It’s a little lighter in flavor and body, but it has medium-ripe fruit of yellow apple, green melon, and lime, a nice fruit / acid balance, and a longish taste with very little if any oak. I thought it was very pleasant. It would be good with seafood; roast chicken might be a bit much for it. Overall, though, I don’t try that many of the Chardonnays, especially those with California-only designations.

    2. delmartian1

      Found the 2012 Macon at the San Marcos (SD County) GO this past Tuesday at $3.99. At that price was in a hurry to check it out so paired it that evening with a Chinese chicken stir fry. Went back the next day for a case: I think that says it all.

      1. seedboy

        Glad you liked the Macon. I have some picky friends who like it a lot. Even Macons are starting to get pricey, although that entry level Lafon you can get for $25 or less is a bargain.

  2. lim13

    Have to admit, BW…I was a bit surprised to see you reviewed another Rutz wine. I don’t recall reading a review of any Rutz product on this site that received a Thumbs Up. All were either Drinkable or Thumbs Down. I generally avoid them like the plague. But then, to be fair, I avoid most Chardonnays anyway.

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Well, I guess my memories are often confused while I’m in the store. 🙂 I haven’t tried to look it up, but I think Seedboy raved about an older Rutz Pinot Nor… anyway, so much for this Chardonnay.

      1. seedboy

        Rutz started out as a maker of small lots of fine wine, in particular, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. About four years ago a few of the GO stores obtained a bunch of back vintages of these wines and sold them for nothing. These included multiple vintages of its Quail Hill RRV pinot; that vineyard is now the Lynmar Estate, and also of Dutton Ranch PN and Chard. These were in 750s, magnums and even some double magnums. The mags cost $8 a bottle. The pinots were mostly brilliant, if you like good acidity and do not like the very ripe style that some employ. It appears that Rutz has gotten out of that business and is now bottling fighting varietals for Trader Joe’s and GO. I’ve avoided those wines, as I will avoid this one.


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