Complex white wines for under $10?
Is this possible? I'm used to over oaked & buttery Chardonnays from California and Washinton. I had a incredible grand cru burgundy that was so complex and minerally and made me rethink what a chardonnay is. I'm looking for suggestion's for complex wines...doesn't have to be a burgundy, could be any varietal... sauv blanc, riesling, etc...I know $10 is a longshot but maybe there are some lesser known appelations out there being overlooked? I live in Minnesota close to a Haskells which I believe has a pretty good wine selection.
Finding Grand Cru Burgundy complexity for less that $10...that is a tall order!
In Burgundy, the best bet would be a Macon, though the quality varies a lot. It would be a good place to start though. My experience has been that among the affordable appellations for white Burgundy, Saint-Veran has a bit of an edge in terms of consistency and price/quality ratio. White Burgundy has had very fine vintages (hence consistent quality) over the past decade, except for 2003 and 2001, so with those exceptions you don't have to worry a lot about the vintage.
Other places that might interest you would be a white Cotes-du-Rhone--good value, and also a series of great vintages lately (except for 2008). Good value, interesting, some minerality in some of them. White Rioja is also tasty and good value, but some N. Americans find it a bit austere. Alsatian whites are very, very consistent in quality and tend to have a tight price/quality relationship. Some whites from the Willamette Valley might work, especially the Pinot Gris, though good luck finding a great one for under 10 bucks.
Has anyone tried any of the French whites at TJ's? I've noticed most (in northern CA) are somewhere around $7-$10 but never rolled the dice on one.
I don't think it is possible to get a great "complex" white for under $10. Drinkable, yes. Complex, no.
In my opinion, the best bang for buck in white wine is Muscadet, but the best Muscadets are going to be closer to $20 than to $10. I see that Haskell's has three cheap Muscadets, but not the good stuff. The good stuff would have to be shipped, which adds to the cost if your goal is to keep it as cheap as possible.
Complex, maybe not, but more interesting than many similarly priced single flavor whites can be found comign from Portugal. Quinta da Romeira Arinto Bucelas, Dao, Serres de Azeitao from Setubal and others are blends of often unique varietals, and always fresh, fragrant, and zippy--and all usually under $10. These are not Vinhos Verdes. Spain's value priced whites tend to be single varietal, though there are excellent white riojas from Marques de Riscal and Caceres for under $10. Italy is alas mostly out of the picture--except for its sea of industriall pinot grigio. Arhentina has been doing some Torrontes-Chardonnay-Viognier blends at good prices (Santa Julia, for one): have a look.
Agree with the Torrontes & the white rioja from Marques de Riscal. Not complex, but perfectly decent drinking wines.
I just recently discovered a Nederburg Chenin Blanc -- maybe a _tad_ on the fruitier side, but at $6.99 practically a steal. Have some nice cheese with it and it's all good.