California Chardonnay – 2021 Unshackled


Our neighborhood recently suffered through a

particularly nasty week of cold temperatures,

brutal winds, downed trees and power outages.   

When the storm subsided and the heat came back on,

we hosted a gathering to see how everyone fared during the ordeal.


While most of the conversations focused on generators and deicer,

one neighbor asked me a question that had nothing to do with the weather.


“What type of wine do you like?”


With a nod to the wine that was in my glass,

I said,  “Chardonnay”.


If looks could kill, my neighbor would have been found

guilty of manslaughter. 


I can’t stand Chardonnay!”  she said. 


I could have…maybe should have…followed with 

“You haven’t been drinking the right Chardonnay.” 

But like a good neighbor, I bit my lip and shifted gears.  

“That freezing rain was terrible, wasn’t it?”  


I’m guessing my neighbor has only sampled the big, buttery oak bombs

that have given Chardonnay a bad name. 

Interestingly enough, there are many wine drinkers

who seek out that very style.   


The most polarizing wine in the world, 

Chardonnay truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Basic RGB

It’s Wine Thursday!

As the weekend approaches, 

we’re checking out a good wine that sells at a decent price

and is easy to find at retail and online. 


This week, we’re featuring a warm-weather

California Chardonnay which,

depending on your personal preference,

might strike the ideal Chardonnay balance…

not too crisp and not too heavy.





Where it’s from  

Unshackled is one of a number of sub-brands in the Prisoner Wine Co. family. 

Recently acquired by the California conglomerate

Constellation Brands, Prisoner is based in St. Helena. 

They source grapes from various locations

throughout the state with the majority coming from vineyards

in Napa Valley and the Central Coast.


What it is

Chardonnay snobs might adamantly refuse to try this wine at all. 

That would be a shame as there’s much to like. 

Yes, there’s oak and there’s butter here but neither is over the top. 

A small dose of Albarino added to the Chardonnay leads to some

pleasing fruit flavors including peach, apple and pineapple. 

It’s definitely rich, with a hint of honey and cream.

But there’s enough acidity to keep it lively.  


Where to buy it

Total Wine has the 2021 Unshackled Chardonnay for $16.99. 

It’s at Vons for $18.88. 

It’s $18.99 at Fred Meyer and QFC. 

The price at Ralphs is $19.99.   

You can order it from Woods Wholesale Wines for $17.08 

Empire Wine sells it for $17.95 

The price at Vine Republic is $17.98   

B-21 has it for $17.99 

and it’s the same price at Luekens, $17.99