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Cheap White Wine
Cheap White Wines Buying Guide
If you think cheap white wine is only for grandma's spritzer, think again. Like its rouge counterparts, cheap white wines are earning a reputation as a reputable drink on their own.
They complement lighter foods, brighten up a lazy summer afternoon, and make an excellent substitute for that pre-dinner cocktail.
We confined our search for the best cheap white wines to those in the dry corner of the shelf. Our list is a small but representative sample of budget wines produced in the major white-wine producing regions of the world. Because wine inventories vary from vendor to vendor, we've provided suggestions for many of the popular varietals to increase the chances that you'll find at least one of the labels we consider to be a good cheap white wine.
From among that group we then made a few choice selections. At the very top of our list of cheap white wines we've placed 2011 Bodini Chardonnay (starting at $9.44, Amazon), a crisp and flavorful wine; Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc (starting at $8.49, Amazon), an everyday wine that pleases tasters with its pear/apple/lime flavor notes and faintly floral nose; and Dr. Loosen Red Slate Riesling (starting at $9.99, Amazon), a bargain given its lively fruit flavor, medium body, and refreshing crispness. All the other cheap white wines discussed below also score with reviewers for their drinkability and value pricing.
White wine is lighter and less complex than red, and generally considered a good option for newbie wine drinkers. Veteran wine drinkers also find plenty to enjoy in a good cheap white wine. The tannins are relatively muted, making for a drink that's unlikely to cause the drying or puckering in the mouth that's sometimes experienced with red wines. White wines are less likely to leave you with a headache and the dry varieties in particular have slightly fewer calories per glass than red. A glass of white wine is also quite refreshing -- it's always served chilled. (Experts at 2 B A Snob say cheap whites are best served at cooler temperatures than you'd choose for pricier bottles, but the optimal serving temperature still depends on the grape.) Indeed, you might even discover that you really prefer the budget bottles.
The most common white wine grapes include chardonnay, chenin blanc, gewurztraminer, pinot gris (a.k.a. pinto grigio), riesling, sauvignon blanc, torrontes, and viognier. White wine grapes grow in the U.S., Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America, South Africa, and several eastern Mediterranean countries. Wines produced in the U.S. bear labels that note the specific grape or blend of grapes used in making the wine. Wines from in Italy and France, by contrast, have labels that place the growing region front and center rather than the grape; white Bordeaux, for example, may contain a mix of sauvignon blanc, semillon, and muscadelle grapes while Pouilly-Fuisse is made with chardonnay grapes. A wine made entirely (or nearly so) with one grape variety is referred to as a "varietal."
Best Cheap White Wines
Dr. Loosen Red Slate Riesling
A dry, medium-bodied wine with snap and apple/peach/pear flavors and some mineral notes, this one cuts through sweet and salty brunch menus and other savory cuisines.
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Dr. Loosen Red Slate Riesling Review
2011 Bodini Chardonnay Review
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