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Mar 3, 2007 09:48 AM

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.