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Would like recommendations on inexpensive Chardonnays

I was wondering whether anyone had found a good Chardonnay for $12 or less that would be worth buying by the case. My taste runs toward the dry and full-bodied, but I like balance; a finish that's too acidic puts me off, and I can't stand wines that are too floral. Thanks for your help.

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  1. I've never gone wrong with Chateau St. Jean Sonoma Cty Chardonnay that you can
    probably get for about $9-10 when purchasing by the case..........Another yummy
    one is "Woop-Woop' from down under which I have bought within the last week for
    10.99 and was very pleased with,...................

    1. Look at McManis Chardonnay from California. very well balanced for the price.

      1. It may retail for a little over the $12 mark (though I have seen it going for that in NYC) but it's one of the best QPR Chardonnays anywhere: Domaine des Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Chardonnay Beaujolais. Gorgeous wine and consistently so from vintage to vintage.

        1 Reply
        1. re: carswell

          Agreed . . . it's well worth the "surcharge" over the $12 price point.

        2. The Wall Street Journal just published an article on cheap chards from Argentina and Chile. Here are their recommendations:

          - - - - -

          Montes Alpha 2005 (Casablanca Valley) Chile $16.99 Very Good Best
          of tasting. Like sunshine. Bright, crisp, clean and bursting with ripe
          fruit. Concentrated, fruity tastes and a long, citrus finish.

          Falling Star 2004 (Cuyo) Argentina $4.99 Good/Very Good Best value
          (tie). Very pleasant, with nice fruit and abundant acids, like a very ripe,
          juicy lemon. Better chilled.

          Walnut Crest 2006 (Central Valley) Chile $4.99 Good/Very Good Best
          value (tie). Lovely quaffer, the kind of friendly wine to keep ready in the
          refrigerator, but it also has enough fruit and acidity that it pairs well
          with stone crabs.

          Concha y Toro 'Marques de Casa Concha' 2004 (Pirque) Chile $15.99*
          Good/Very Good Oakier than most, like an old-fashioned California
          Chardonnay, with toast, butter and a little oiliness. Charming. Try it with
          fried shrimp.

          Concha y Toro 'Xplorador' 2005 (Central Valley) Chile $5.99 Good/Very
          Good Medium weight, with nice acidity, some nutmeg and a friendly, spicy

          La Playa 'Block Selection' 2005 (Casablanca Valley) Chile $9.99
          Good/Very Good Rounder than most, a bit richer, with nutmeg, cream, lemon
          and some weight.

          Navarro Correas 'Limited Release' 2005 (Mendoza) Argentina $10.99
          Good/Very Good Nicely lemony, with a good fruit-oak balance and a hint of
          Chardonnay plushness. Excellent with trout.

          Valdivieso 2005 (Central Valley) Chile $9.99 Good/Very Good Very fresh
          and very alive. Crisp, clean and just lightly wooded. A nice summer wine,
          good with paella.

          NOTE: Wines are rated on a scale that ranges: Yech, OK, Good, Very Good,
          Delicious, and Delicious! These are the prices we paid at wine stores in New
          Jersey and New York.

          - - - - -

          A word of warning: I have never ever encountered a good chardonnay under $12 (although I've never tasted the ones listed here), and *definitely* stay away from California Chards under $12 -- every one I've ever had is just awful.

          1 Reply
          1. re: oolah

            I know this is a little off the subject, but I love Montes Alpha for their Cabernet (haven't tried their Chardoney yet, but I can imagine it is also great). Montes Alpha Cab. is available at my local Costco (Marina Del Rey, CA) and after letting it breath a little, the wine really opens up.

          2. my go-to is Fox Glove Chardonnay --its on the upper end of "inexpensive" probably $12, but tastes like twice that. worth every penny! made by the varner brothers in california and has a rich, yet balanced "white burgundy" esque profile.

            1. Prices will vary depending upon where you live, as well as where you shop.

              Besides the aforementioned Domaine des Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Beaujolais Blanc (Chardonnay), which I, too, highly recommend, some other possibilities include a number of wines from the following appellations: Bourgogne Blanc, Chablis and Mâcon-Villages. It's difficult to cite specific producers, as I don't know where you live and, thus, what's available in your area, but some of the names to look for include Brocard, Long-Depaquit, the Cave Cooperative at Viré -- even Louis Jadot, etc.

              From California, look for wines like Cambria, Castle Rock, Clos du Bois, Edna Valley, La Crema . . .

              From Argentina, I'd personally recommend Catena before I'd recommend any of the wines from the WSJ, except for the Montes Alpha.

              1. Hess Chardonnay is pretty pleasing to most, i believe 11-13 dollars/ bottle. Rosemont Chardonnay (more appropriate for summer) is actually a little fruity, lacks much chardonnay charactor-but tasty and can be found easily, as well as 7-9dollars/ bottle.

                1. Most of the good Chardonnays in that range are from South America or Austrlia. Most US Chards tend to be either not very good at that price range, or more expensive to get some very good ones (the $18-22 range)

                  Casa Lapostolle, Bodega Catena Zapata, and Viña San Pedro, and Concha y Toro are all pretty consistent producers of Chards in your price range from South America.

                  Black Opal Chardonnay South Eastern Australia, Wolf Blass Chardonnay South Australia Yellow Label, Peter Lehmann Chardonnay Barossa, Alice White Chardonnay South Eastern Australia are all good from Australia.

                  Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay Columbia Valley is pretty good year in and year out.

                  1. The best that I have sampled in that price range is the Edna Valley Paragon C. Coast (CA) Chard. World Market usually has it in the US$10-12 range. Do not know if they offer any case discounts, but I do not believe that they do.

                    Looking at the WSJ list earlier in the thread, I have to say the I've had many of the Chilean offerings and have been highly underwhelmed by them. Many retailers and distributors know of my lack of "love" for Chilean wines (very general assumption here), so I am often "gifted" with a mixed case for me to try and to comment on. Unfortunately, none has impressed me, even when the distributor tells me things like, "hey, this one's a real value, 'cause I can get it for you for under US$8/btl." A value wine can cost anything, $5, or $500, provided that it offers me something for the price. Nearly all that I have tried, and I attempt to keep an open mind, but am open in my general dislike, when asked, have offered me no "value."

                    I was just given two bottles of the Montes Alpha 2005 (Casablanca Valley) Chile $16.99 "Very Good Best of tasting," and was left wondering where the Emperor's New Clothes were. MOF, the only Chilean, that I have found worth buying and consuming, has been the Santa Rita Casa Real Cab. For me, that was a real find, as I had plodded through many cases (usually free) and was not pleased with any. It showed me that they ARE out there, but dang, they're really hard for me to find. I'd rather spend US$25/btl. on a lower-tier negociant Puligney-Montrachet, than drink all of the free btls. of Chilean Chard, that I've experienced. Too much good wine, and too little time.

                    Good luck in your search,

                    1. Talbott Kalihart - around $10-12
                      La Noble Chardonnay - around $8 - 9
                      Louis Latour Grand Ardeche - around $10

                      1. I like the Banrock Station from Austrailia. I can get it for around $5 per bottle. Usually scores in the mid to upper 80's in Wine Spectator. A great value.

                        1. if you can find the Wente Chardonnay. First time i blind taste them i think they are great, almost taste like the 50-60 dollars quality. (retail cost about 10-12 dollars)

                          The Wente wine is from the livermore, which is like 60 km SW from San Fransico ( the km distance can be off)

                          i think this is an awesome product

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: wine guru

                            Totally agree about the Wente chardonnay. I live very close to their tasting room and it's a good chard for the money. The Riva Ranch is especially good. The Costcos in California sell it for cheaper than you can buy it at the winery.