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Inexpensive white to pour at a fundraiser

I've been asked to come up with a case of dry white wine to pour at a wine and cheese fundraiser at short notice. Can anyone suggest a wine, maybe an unoaked Chardonnay, in the $6-10 range? Something mass-markety that I'll be likely to find at my local liquor store? It doesn't have to be great -- Just pleasant, inoffensive. There won't be many wine connoisseurs in the crowd. Most people will probably choose the moscato, but we want something dry for those who don't like the sweet stuff.

I tried asking the wine guy at the liquor store. He unhesitatingly recommended Two Oceans South African Chardonnay at a mere $4.99 a bottle. But I found it just not quite good enough -- sour and too oaky. Further suggestions will be appreciated.

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  1. I personally don't care for Chardonnay with cheese. Have you looked at Pinot Grigio? Believe it or not Gallo puts out a nice one that's very reasonable & goes VERY well with many different cheeses.

    1. Avant by Kendall -Jackson is quite good for the money but might be around 14 bucks. Crisp and clean tasting. You might see if it is in your price range (or maybe the store will make you a deal for a volume purchase).

      If you have Chateau Ste Michelle in your area, they have a really nice (dry!) Riesling that pairs really nice with cheese...and it is only about 7 dollars a bottle where I live.

      I think I have had a Cupcake vineyards Prosecco that I thought was nice. I like bubbles and cheese together and I think it is well under 10 bucks per bottle.

      Most stores will offer a discount for a case of anything too.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sedimental

        Cupcake also does a nice inexpensive chardonnay. I think Costco sells it...at least here in L.A.
        Not sure the price...but I'm pretty sure it's less than $10.

        1. re: sedimental

          Chateau Ste Michelle is $11.00 here in Florida. Try a Vinho Verde from Portugal. Slight bubbles, somewhat dry, and on sale for $3.59 a bottle. A big hit at the last get-together. And a pleasant surprise to the wine lovers.

        2. Foxglove is the second label for Varner and they do a nice inexpensive chardonnay, but it's about $12 a bottle.
          I agree with others that chardonnay is maybe not the best wine to match with cheese.
          What kind of cheese will be served?

          2 Replies
          1. re: SteveTimko

            For the money - Foxglove rocks! It will pair well because it is not all messed up with oak and butter.

            1. re: jock

              Yes, Foxglove is an excellent QPR. Hey Steve, as always good advice!

              And Jock, we gonna have to get together again in 2012. Happy Holidays to you and the family!


          2. This will be a bit above your target price, but the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc
            and Viognier blend is a nice wine for $12.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bclevy

              That is a very nice, lower-priced white, and should be very cheese-friendly, of course depending on the cheese. Even with a more acidic goat, it should be fine. Good call.


              1. re: bclevy

                I was hoping nobody would ask! I am not sure what it will be. It's being donated and I am not in charge but I am expecting mostly hard or semi hard cheeses like cheddar and gouda, possibly brie, possibly even cheese spreads. No goat cheese. I almost added a note to my original post not to overthink the wine-cheese pairings. The event is not that fancy. I am definitely going to check out the Cupcake and Gallo. And I'll look into some of the others for my personal consumption, but I think that $12-$14 is really too high for this event.

              2. Do you have any clue, as to what the cheese(s) will be.

                Unlike others, I am a fan of Chards with certain, creamy cheeses, though do have to admit that most of those are FR, and above the stated price-points. Still, with a Brie, a nice, not too oaky Chard, can be excellent.

                Good luck,


                1. By the way, I just saw Bogle makes a chardonnay. I don't recall having tried it, but I'm a fan of some of their reds, especially their zinfandel, so if you can find a bottle of that, I'd try that. It's typically $9 a bottle or less.

                  1. Le Rime is a Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio blend from Banfi Vintners that is very pleasant with cheese and other aperitivi. and runs about $9 a bottle (probably can get a better price by the case).


                    1. New information.

                      I went to the liquor store yesterday. I found the Pine Ridge Chenin/Viogner for just $11 a bottle. I decided I could up my price a bit and bought a bottle to sample. Nice stuff! I figured I'd found my wine.

                      I just talked to the event organizer who picked up the cheese. And it's going to be a cheddar extravaganza. A bit of gouda, brie, swiss, and then mild cheddar, aged cheddar, very aged cheddar, cranberry cheddar...The lightly floral Pine Ridge seems so wrong.

                      The internet suggests Sauvignon Blanc with cheddar, but a bottle of Houge I had on hand failed the test. Not offensive, but quite watery.

                      I've got untried bottles of Columbia Crest Chardonnay (lighty oaked) and Columbia Crest Two Vines Vineyard 10 (an unoaked white blend) in the fridge. I think my husband will kill me if I open them both. Partially drunk bottles are piling up in there....

                      If anyone has a last minute vote on which of these three would work, let me know. If the Columbia Crest doesn't work out, I may just get the Pine Ridge and call it a day. Most people will probably choose the moscato, and those who want a better pairing with their cheddar can choose red!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: CathleenH

                        Columbia Crest (lightly oaked) is a good, low-priced chardonnay. I use it often for every day drinking wine.

                        1. re: CathleenH

                          A bit depends on the exact cheeses - Cheddar vs cheddar. With Cheddar, there is usually a bit more acid, and I would think that is where the SB rec. comes in. With many cheddar cheeses, there is much more "milk," and then a Chardonnay (and very possibly the Viognier/Chard blend), or maybe even a PN, would come into play. However, the only really good PN, at the low-end, that I have had recently, has been the Acacia, at ~ US $ 24/btl., so not really in the mix.

                          In very general terms, I find that more whites go with cheeses, than do reds, until you get to the hard cheeses, and their "regional" wines, often red.

                          Most of all, good luck, and enjoy!


                          [Edit] I find that Conundrum (nee Caymus Conundrum) is a great, general cheese white wine, but the normal price is ~ US $ 20, so I have not mentioned it.

                          1. re: CathleenH

                            have to say I like red wine with Gouda and Cheddar -- Chianti or an American Sangiovese blend. And I normally don't like red wine with most cheeses.

                            1. re: ChefJune

                              i'm completely in agreement with you on this, ChefJune.

                              gouda (ESPECIALLY if it's an aged gouda) and any decent Cheddar that has some character, can both pair up well to a red wine. imho.
                              this is especially true if the cheese is served on salty crackers, as often seems to be the case.

                          2. Luckily, I found some sharp cheddar in the fridge. I opened the Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay and tried the wine with it. The folks who voted against Chardonnay with cheese were right in this case. It was pretty awful. The Pine Ridge is not an amazing pairing, but it's far more pleasant so I'm going with it.

                            Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions.

                            1. If you want to pour a drinkable wine I would go with a Vinho Verde (make sure they make u a deal for the case) $5 per bottle (goes with lighter cheeses or Laurant Miguel Viognier for $6 to 7 a btl for nuttier cheeses. Hit me up if you need more help.