The StoryThe Peaks and Tides Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2018 is a $9.99 ALDI exclusive sourced from vineyards along the Pacific Coast in Northern California. The Peaks and Tides brand also have a Cabernet Sauvignon and I think I saw a Pinot Noir.The Sonoma Coast runs from above San Francisco all the way to Mendocino County and much of it lies in valleys situated between Coastal Mountain ranges. It also runs east and overlaps with the Russian River AVA.I was at a Sonoma Coast AVA trade show a few years back and I picked up what I guess I would call gossip from some of the winemakers and winery Reps. They thought that large, politically connected wine companies to the east of Sonoma Coast used they clout to expand the boundaries of the AVA to include their holdings.I am not sure why that is a bad thing, but I know that there is a recent application to the California governing board to create a new West Sonoma Coast AVA. The coastal vineyards are mainly Boutique, high-end Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir specialists, but then again the Russian River portion is also a quality Pinot and Chardonnay growing area.This may be a matter of the little guy against big corporate wine and it is not a major concern to Cheapwinefinder wine drinkers. But a little gossip is sort of fun. In getting back to the Peaks and Tides the vineyards in Sonoma Coast are divided into the boutique, smaller but still commercial vineyard size and vineyards owned by larger wine companies.All the vineyards grow high-quality Chardonnay grapes, which is a very good thing for us drinkers of $9.99 store brand Chardonnay. It is a 2018 vintage that shows it went through a more complete production technique. Wines from the 2019 vintage probably underwent a simpler production that allowed the Chardonnay to be released for sale sooner.The packaging for the Peaks and Tides is the equal of retail brand wines in the same price range. The grapes came from a premium growing region, and if you Google "wineries located in (a town named on the back label)" you can make a good guess at which winery or one of their entities produced the wine. The alcohol content is 13.9%.Peaks and Tides Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2018 Tasting NotesThe color is a pale wheat yellow. The nose is rich and varied, there is apricot, honey, pineapple, lemon, apple, grapefruit, peach, banana, yes, the nose is not shy. This $9.99 Chardonnay has some very definite oak influence, along with a solid array of flavors.It tastes of green apple, orange-blossom honey, Meyer lemon, lime, and grapefruit (soft). The mid-palate adds a salty "on lees" thing, Anjou pear, spice, and vanilla creme. The acidity is balanced, it allows the flavors to unfold and gets you reaching for another sip.The SummaryPhoto by Sterling Lanier on Unsplash The Peaks and Tides Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2018 is a very good Chardonnay. Somewhere around $10 will get you a solid, enjoyable Chardonnay and the Peaks and Tides is another excellent example of a bargain Chard.I would say that this is a wine made with very good grapes, the wine exhibits a wonderful nose and full flavor. That this wine sells for ten bucks is a treat.