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White Wine Reviews, Cheap Chardonnay
White Wine Reviews
We read dozens of white wine reviews to assemble our list of top picks and fleshed them out with more than a dozen other good cheap white wine suggestions. While many discount white wines are panned by professional tasters and consumer reviewers, many are embraced as light, well-rounded, drinker-friendly wines with just the right amount of floral and fruity undertones in the nose and on the palate and a finish that pleases.
The wines mentioned below are good values and should be enjoyed while still relatively young; cheap white wines don't benefit from aging. Do note that the quality of a given wine varies from year to year, and the reviews we read sometimes refer to different vintages (the year of production); sometimes there's no vintage noted on the label or in the review at all. Our assessments are based on the consensus opinion that emerges in the white wine reviews that we found.
The wines are discussed below in alphabetical order, by grape variety.
Chardonnay.Chardonnay is the most popular wine in the U.S. in terms of market share, where it has the plurality with 13.3%. Chardonnay typically possesses the flavors and aromas of melon, citrus, apple, nuts, and a hint of grass. Chardonnay grapes are often used in blends -- to make Chablis, for example, or white Burgundy -- but they also stand alone. These varietal chardonnays are relatively complex, with medium to high acidity, and capable of presenting with taste and texture that take on characteristics of the grapes' growing region and the vinification process; in other words, it pays to know where the grape is from. Chardonnay is routinely aged in oak barrels, but a French chardonnay differs from a Columbia Valley (Washington) chardonnay -- the former is likely to be lean and crisp and the latter fruity, oaky, and velvety in the mouth. Chardonnay is a nice accompaniment for fish, poultry, mushrooms, cheese, and Asian and spicy foods.
It's a safe bet that for less than $10 you can enjoy a rounded, full-flavored chardonnay. Our pick for best cheap chardonnay, and one of our favorites overall, is Bodini Chardonnay 2011 (starting at $9.44, Amazon) from Argentina. This crisp white wine has hints of lemon and green apple with a crisp finish to match. A hint of oak is present as a result of 30 percent of the wine being aged in French oak - the other 70 percent is aged in stainless steel. This wine received high grades for its price point, 89 from Wine Advocate and 88 from International Wine Cellar. The vintners recommend pairing with a Waldorf salad, mango salsa, or coconut shrimp. Another Argentinian wine, Bodega Norton 2011 Cosecha Tardia Natural Sweet White Chardonnay (starting at $8.99, Amazon) comes from the Cuyo region and has a touch of honey sweetness. This bottling holds a spot on Wine Enthusiast's July 2011 list of top 10 white wines for less than $10 and an 87 point rating from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Another value buy is Yellow Tail Chardonnay 2010 (starting at $7.99, Amazon) from southern Australia. The wine received a gold medal at the prestigious German international wine show Mundus Vini and a gold at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show. Tropical fruit and melon can be found in the sweet and savory palate which ends with a creamy finish.
Cheap chardonnay wines can also be less than satisfying. One that evokes a negative response from bloggers such as Cheap Wine Guy is Tisdale Chardonnay (starting at $4.19, Amazon). The naysayers consider this California wine barely drinkable, with an acidic finish, unpleasant aftertaste, and offputting smell. Others, however, say they pick up faint topical fruit flavors but conclude that you get what you pay for.
Dr. Loosen Red Slate Riesling Review
2011 Bodini Chardonnay Review
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