Crane Lake Chardonnay 2003

Crane Lake Chardonnay
A classic scene, and one that I’m getting quite used to: I’m in the liquor aisle with less than 10 dollars in my pocket looking for a wine. Complicating things, I was expecting 3 other people for our Sunday dinner. I’m usually the one to bring the wine since most of my friends know I review wine for a living now. Ok, so I still have a day job, but one can hope!

Okay… whitefish for dinner. Now, I’m not big on strict pairings of wine and food, but I personally enjoy Chardonnay with white fish. It is also hotter than hell today, so let’s find the cheapest Chardonnay we can. After searching for a few minutes, guess what the cheapest was? The label was very plain but the “3/$10.00” sign in front of the wine what caught my attention. Yeah, Crane Lake again. 3 bottles for $10.00. Awesome.

Pro tip: Bringing a cheap wine to a dinner party? Don’t even think about it unless you’ve tried it before. Now, I’m a little rough around the edges, but I’m not going to lie to you: I’ve had this wine before. Even I wouldn’t show up at a dinner engagement with a wine that costs 3 dollars that I’ve never tried. That very well could be a recipe for disaster, or, at the very least, an easy way out of being invited next week!

Well, in contrast to my less-than-satifactory review of the Crane Lake Merlot, the Chardonnay isn’t bad.

I could smell oak, berries an ethanol. Well-rounded in my mouth, I’m not ashamed to say I like this wine.

I firmly believe in having a wine rack that is ready for anything. And Crane Lake Chardonnay is a good way fill the chardonnay slots without breaking the bank.

Google backs up my review. Search Google for Crane Lake Chardonnay. What do you find? Gift baskets. Cheap for the manufacturer, yet still acceptable to give to someone as a gift.

Rating: 6.5/10
Price: $3.34
Enjoyed with: Whitefish, veggies and rice




43 responses to “Crane Lake Chardonnay 2003”

  1. Crane Lake Chardonnay 2003

    [Source: Cheap Wine Reviews] quoted: A classic scene, and one that I’m getting quite used to: I’m in the liquor aisle with less than 10 dollars in my pocket looking for a wine. Complicating things, I was expecting 3 other people for our Sun…

  2. Sandy Avatar

    I’m in Los Angeles, where can I buy the Crane Lake Chardonnay

  3. Bob Jacobson Avatar
    Bob Jacobson

    Crane Lake is available at Surf Liquor on Main Street in Santa Monica, CA.

  4. Lynda Gable Avatar
    Lynda Gable

    I found Crane Lake Chardonnay while visiting in California and found it very good for an inexpensive wine. I live in Indiana, where can I buy this Chardonnay?

  5. duncan heron Avatar
    duncan heron

    I paid $18 at a fancy restaurant! Wow! A mark-up of 6 times.

  6. ali Avatar

    i would like to purchase 100 bottles of your cheapest chardonnay. Please advise me of the best price you can offer.
    Thank you for your time

  7. Valerie Blaisdell Avatar
    Valerie Blaisdell

    Tried Crane Lake Chardonnay while visiting my son in Ky. Thought it was the best (I hate to say cheap) inexpensive Chardonnay I have had in a long time!! Now back in WI, I am trying to find it!!

  8. duncan heron Avatar
    duncan heron

    Where in Durham, NC can I buy Crane Lake (besides in a fancy restaurant)? The last I had in a restaurant was $20. Tastes good to me!

  9. Caterina Avatar

    I tried the Crane Lake Chardonnay that came in a gift basket, and for a light glass of white wine with cheese treats, it was pleasant. Not overwhelming and not complicated, but enjoyable.

  10. Veronica Avatar

    Crane Lake can be found at HiTime Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa.

  11. J. Nelson Avatar
    J. Nelson

    Looks like Crane Lake wine is for sale At Jenifer Street Market, Madison, WI for $2.99 a bottle. Will pick a few up on my way home tonight!

  12. Pat Avatar

    I just purchased this wine to use in a chicken recipe. I had to open and try it at once to see what I could possibly get for $3.37. I was pleasantly surprised! This will be great in my recipe and on my table.

  13. Nancy Sommer Avatar

    I am sold on anything by Crane Lake ! Tried their
    Merlot first, liked it and went on to other of their reds.
    They are all good, and I have them on my table for my own consumption as well as company. Fortunately, I
    live in California, but am wondering where I can get Crane Lake in the Fort Worth/Dallas area. Anyone ??

  14. Bruce Avatar

    For those in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky, Crane Lake wines are almost always available at Meijers – they sometimes even have it on sale (3 for $8). IMHO, the Cab is wonderful, the Shiraz pretty good, the Chardonnay is acceptable and the Merlot – well, I don’t even like Merlot …

  15. Terry Avatar

    Crane Lake is available at WalMart for less than two-buck-chuck.

  16. Ken Avatar

    Have you reviewed any of these wines?:
    I bought a bottle of their red from Argentina
    (Malbec 20%/ Bonarda 80%) for $2.99, and it was fairly decent.

  17. Pearl Avatar

    Hello, I searched all over for the Crane Lake Chardonnay 2005 in Central Wisconsin. I found it a great liquor store, Daley’s Beverage Mart, in Portage Wisconsin. It is super easy to get to . . . . after taking the Portage exit 92 (Hwy 51S), go through 4 stoplights, and it is on the left at 1623 Pinery Road. (608) 742-4651. They order on Wednesday’s I believe and offered to order a case for me. I believe the case price is around $3.00 a bottle. Oh, and they carry Pinoit Griigion, Merlot, etc. as well. Who can beat that?? Great price, excellent location, and super friendly service!!

  18. Bob Pittinger Avatar
    Bob Pittinger

    I am in Ohio and would like to purchase a case or two of Crane Lake Merlot, but can not find it. Does anyone know where we can buy it in Canton, Ohio?

  19. Jen Avatar

    Crane Lake in Indiana now is distrobuted by National Wine and Spirtis and if you can not find it in your local Package store, ask and they should be able to bring it in.

  20. Peg Avatar

    Crane Lake is the house wine at Charcoal Grill. Perhaps you’d like to try it. Buy one get one free from 4-6. Without knowing it’s price I thought the Pinot Grigio was good enough to look for.

    I live in Racine WI…. and I haven’t found it yet.

  21. Peter Avatar

    Crane Lake was served as a jug wine at a fundraiser/dinner that we attended last night. Wow! Quite surprising. Very nice and oaky enough. Understand that it’s available at Costco.

  22. Maria Avatar

    For Bob Pittinger in Canotn OH: Acme sells all the Crane Lake wines. I have bought it at the Whipple & N. Canton stores.

  23. Jenna Avatar

    I found this website after googling cheap and good wine reviews… Luckily for me (or unluckily haha) the state liquor store is half a block from my work… Picked up some Crane Chardonnay 2006… very nice for $6.99!! The nose was actually quite fruity with a small lacking finish that is you don’t notice when paired with food… an excellent buy: smooth and easy, simple and delicious! Thanks for this website it has turned out to be quite handy 🙂

  24. Rick Avatar

    In OREGON you can find Crane Lake at Rite Aid. Yes I said Rite Aid. I don’t ask, I just buy it!

  25. Pieter Avatar

    Crane Lake can be purchased at Meijers stores in Michigan, Indianna and Ohio. It’s our “house wine” and very acceptable at a party after the expensive stuff is gone!

  26. Sonya Avatar

    I live in Stockton California and received 12 bottles at my house warming party last year. I opened one bottle for every month I lived in my house and guess what….I had the Crane Lake 2003 California Pinot Noir last and fell in love! Now I can’t find the Pinot Noir to save my life! What’s up with that? I’ve looked and called around everywhere, including Rite Aid who thought they had it, to Big Lots which had the Shiraz, to a huge grocery store called Winco and they had every one of the Crane Lake wines except for the Pinot Noir. I can’t even find it online in a basket. Only the other wines are being sold in the basket. Please help.

  27. Cole Avatar

    For all of the folks in the Milwaukee/SE WI area, you are going to have a tough time finding this wine for awhile yet. This was strictly an “on-premise” item for the last couple of years, meaning that only restaurants/bars were allowed to buy this line of wines. Now that Fred Franzia announced his intention of making this his new “2 Buck Chuck” for the rest of the world (not just Trader Joes shoppers), you should be seeing this on the shelves at smaller wine/liquors stores soon. But probably at closer to $5. The grocery stores are a different story altogether, don’t hold your breath.

  28. Dave J Avatar
    Dave J

    Daughter getting married in August. Looking for drinkable(cheap) wine suggestions. Approx. 150 guests

  29. Jeannette S Avatar
    Jeannette S

    Love Crane Lake White Zin and can get others at Winco Market, which is in California, Oregon.

  30. walt mcloud Avatar
    walt mcloud

    hey guys! dont want to bust your bubble here, but i have been sellling wine for years! crane lake wines are mass produced wines using bulk cheap grapes with addittives and flavorings , in other words they are boxed wines in a bottle! save your money by boxed wines ! the same with charles shaw wines from trader joes stores! boxed wines in a bottle chateua cardboard!

  31. Bill Avatar

    Where in Northern AZ can I find Crane Lake wines?

  32. Guillaume Avatar

    Crane Lake Merlot and Chardonnay are being featured on Monday, June 16th at a $75 per person dinner at Szechwan Restaurant in Evansville, Indiana at a fundraiser for Sichuan Province Earthquake Relief. And the wines are available at Wine Tree, a local store.

  33. Mike Avatar

    Walked in the liquor store in Saranac Lake, NY and saw it in boxes marked $2.99. We asked the manager if it was good. She said she drank it all the time. Took it back to our B&B and drank it with a picnic meal on the porch! Completely drinkable–loved it! Bought more on our return to FL.

  34. Rebecca Avatar

    I but Crane Lake at Food 4 Less in Chicago for $2.67 a bottle and think it is way better than Charles Shaw.

  35. eibhlin ni fithceallaigh Avatar
    eibhlin ni fithceallaigh

    Wow! OMG! is this good. I just stumbled upon Crane Lake Sparkling Brut. 5.99 at Molly Stones in Northern California. We love sparkling wine and champagne and have drank practically everything between 2.99 and 400.00. This is really consistent and is better than many more expensive brands. You will not be dissapointed and will hopefully be pleasantly surprised. For this price, it is absolutely lovely. Extremely drinkable. Sweet but not cloying. Sharp but not bitter or too dry. Wonderful bubbles. This is my new house wine. I knew nothing about Crane Lake until I noticed that the shelves in the store were emptying quickly of this brand. I hope they can keep these great prices. Best drink discovery of 2009. 4 stars.

  36. Ohiogirl Avatar

    Crane Lake is produced by Bronco wines, the same folks that make Charles Shaw, but I do think the Crane Lake wines are better, not as sweet.

    In the San Fernando valley you can find them at —

    Supposedly they carry the entire line, I called and it’s $3 a bottle, 10% off if you buy a case.

    Oh and sadly the Pionot noir and pinot grigio are often not produced – I spoke with the rep and the grapes just get too expensive.

    Happily I’ve had the chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc, liked them both. To my surprise, it was the Sangiovese that knocked my socks off. A beautiful true flavor!

  37. Cat Avatar

    I haven’t tried it yet, but I picked up a bottle the other day for $2.99 at Clark’s Nutrition in Palm Desert.

  38. Jack Avatar

    Have tried the Chard and the petite Syrah, like them both, both are available at Lowes Food stores in NC

  39. Tom Avatar

    I picked this one up at a gas station in Garland,Tx. Suprisingly for $3 it was pretty good.

  40. Judy Avatar

    I picked up a bottle of the Crane Lake Sangiovese at Winco for $3.48. What a pleasant surprise. It is not common to find sangiovese and my spouse and I both loved it. I went back for a few more bottles the next day!

  41. ECY Avatar

    Is Crane Lake Chardonnay available in Fort Worth TX

  42. GDM Avatar

    Crane Lake Chard at the Baron’s stores (which are friggin’ awesome, btw) in San Diego and South Riverside Counties for … wait for it … $1.98!!!

    Most excellent, Garth!

  43. TC Avatar

    How come they didn’t do their homework when creating their label? Instead of a crane they show a heron. Shouldn’t it be Heron Lake Wine?!

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