A Trader Joe's pick with a tiny price tag but plenty of flavor, we revisit the $5 Mbali Chenin Blanc Viognier to check out the latest vintage.
The Mbali Chenin Blanc Viognier is available exclusively at Trader Joe's and still sells for just $4.99, which is a feat in and of itself these days. It is imported by Amphora Imports.
From the bottle:
Bright aromas of passion fruit, guava, melon, sweet lychee and honeyed tangerine. A weighty mid palate that extends into a lingering aftertaste of yellow plum.
Mbali is the Zulu word for flower. The Protea is South Africa's national flower and is resilient to harsh conditions. The Protea inspires us to be resilient in our pursuit to craft fine wines.
Produced and Bottled by Zidela Wines
Chenin Blanc and Viognier make for a wonderful blend, and it's one that has been a staple at Trader Joe's for years first with the Pine Ridge and more recently with their own Petit Reserve version. Both of those; however, come from California. At the same time, we've long touted the excellent Chenin Blanc coming from South Africa so it makes perfect sense that they should have an entry in this category.
We've been recommending this wine for several years now so let's see how the latest vintage compares.
The 2022 Mbali Chenin Blanc Viognier begins with a pleasing aroma of full of melon, lemon, lime, tangerine, a little honeysuckle and a bit of grassiness.
Taking a sip reveals a fresh, light, tasty wine with a lively mouthfeel. It features similar flavors to the nose but the tangerine notes are cranked up in the mouth. The hint of grassiness from the nose is also evident when tasting, and that's something we didn't notice as much in previous vintages. It almost gives it a bit of Sauvignon Blanc character, which isn't a bad thing at all.
It finishes dry, tart and fresh and with good length. Simple but surprisingly delicious and very easy to drink, this is the type of wine we affectionately refer to as a porch pounder! And while it's not as good as the Pine Ridge which pretty much sets the standard for this blend, it is well worth the tiny price tag.
2022 Mbali Chenin Blanc Viognier
As always you can find an updated list of our recommended wines from Trader Joe's as well as more info on their pricing model and some tips and tricks for shopping the store in our giant guide.
You can also find more of our favorite wines from South Africa here!
And here's our previous review of the similar 2021 vintage:
The 2021 Mbali Chenin Blanc Viognier begins with a pleasing aroma of full of melon, lemon, lime, tangerine and a little honeysuckle.
Taking a sip reveals similar flavors to the nose but the tangerine notes are cranked up in the mouth. Fresh, light and tasty with a lively mouthfeel this is simple but surprisingly delicious.
It finishes dry, tart and fresh and with good length. And while it's not as good as the Pine Ridge which pretty much sets the standard for this blend, it's quite good for just $5.