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Looking for an inexpensive white wine recommendation.

I'm hosting an event and I will serve 2 reds and 2 whites. I have the reds picked out, and one of the whites will be vinho verde. I am having trouble deciding on the other white. I'd like something with more body than the vinho verde. I don't want to do a chardonnay, although I might consider an unoaked chard. I'd also like to keep it under $10 per bottle.

I'm thinking about white rioja, although it seems to be hard to find (apparently there is a shortage). Pinot gris (grigio) seems too similar to vinho verde, as does muscadet. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. IMO you're going to get far better value in riesling than any other widely-available white wine. While a $10 riesling in general isn't as good as a $20 riesling, dollar for dollar for my palate it's heads and tails above a $10 chardonnay.

    If you can push your price point up into the mid to high teens you'll have that much more choice too.

    Plus on average more food friendly. I should mention in passing that a big part of this decision would be based on what food you're serving at this event, if any. First consideration should always be whether the wine matches the food to begin with.

    1. Chateau Ste. Michelle makes a basic Riesling that I get for $8.99 retail. It's very drinkable, and not one-note.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ChefJune

        And frequently on sale at Target for even less than the 8.99.

          1. re: carolinadawg

            it's not deliberately dry.

            I'd say it's lieblich to off-dry.... in a very food-friendly range.

        1. re: linguafood

          I looked at a bottle of Rueda today and almost bought it to taste, since I'm not familiar with it (I mostly drink reds, so I'm not real familiar with many whites) but the description on the back or the bottle (or the shelf tag maybe?) made it sound very similar to the vinho verde. Maybe I should try it?

          1. re: carolinadawg

            You're right, it might be. Maybe Vermentino would be a better choice, but I also agree with others here if you can get a nice dry Riesling (I personally like Blue Fish which is a freakin' steal here in PA at $8.99).

            I also like an Alsatian cuvée (Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat) that's been popping up here: Crustacés Dopff & Irion. Not sure if you can get it where you are, but this is also dirt cheap = under $10.

            1. re: carolinadawg

              It's not like Vinho Verde at all, and very good . . .

              1. re: carolinadawg

                Rueda is nothing like vinho verde; it's more floral, mineral, and fuller. Marques de Caceres makes an excellent version, less than $10/bottle, and on sale fairly widely. A Sardinian vermentino, French picpoul de pinet or an Argentinian torrontes might also work.

                1. re: bob96

                  Woot. Agreement on the Rueda, Torrontés and Vermentino.

              2. re: linguafood

                Torrontes would be my first choice for you also.

                1. re: linguafood

                  My first thought was a Torrontés as well. If the OP has access to a Costco they sell a Torrontés < $10

                2. Perhaps a New Zealand sauvignon blanc?

                  An Oregon pinot gris might fit the bill too.

                  1. Riesling. It plays nicely with almost any food, even at lower price points. Several options come if a liter sized bottle for a bit over 12, but you are getting the extra volume for the price.

                    Otherwise, my favorite grape for wine is Gruener Veltliner. Primarily from Austria, but I've had a few from Hungary which were very nice and cheaper. One from TJ's for 8 bucks a bottle. Drank like a 12 dollar plus but can't recall the name. Sorry:)

                    1. They carry Foxglove chardonnay at Apex Beverage Company in North Carolina for $15. It's a good value wine and people will feel comfortable drinking chardonnay. Foxglove is the second label for Varner.


                      2 Replies
                        1. re: linguafood

                          stainless steel. It a chronic Robert Parker 90-pointer. That's a bad thing for some people.

                      1. Would you be willing to consider a sparkling white wine? I seem to recall the last time I purchased a bottle of Gruet Brut it was around $10 and both wine novices as well as wine geeks seem to like it.

                        1. I'd surely consider Côtes-du-Rhône and Côtes-du-Luberon blancs. These are very versatile wines.

                          1. C'dawg, Winestore has several dry to off-dry whites in your price range that may work for you. Off the top of my head:

                            -Belle Provencale - Chateauneuf du pape blanc $10.
                            -Little James Basket - Viognier & Sauv. Blanc blend $12
                            -Herencia Blanca - garnacha blanca $10
                            -Tikves Rkacitelli - very dry and nice acidity $10

                            They also carry some verdejo, albarino, unoaked chards and white blends that may also work. They offer 5% discount on 6 bottles or more and 10% off for a case. http://winestore-online.com/

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: lynnlato

                              Belle Provençale is a Luberon blanc.

                              1. re: collioure

                                Oops, my mistake. Thanks collioure. I misread their site. It's a similar blend, good value and dry as well.

                                Winestore also carries (or at least they used to) a picpoul that is lively and acidic and off the beaten path. Again, I think it was about $10.

                                1. re: lynnlato

                                  Hey, you don't get Chateauneuf blanc for $10, and it's way overboard for casual drinkers.

                                  I used to serve Picpoul in the US but I have learned to prefer good CdRhone blancs. Most CdRousillon blancs are not much to write home about, but little by little Roussanne is creeping in. They tell me Marsanne doesn't grow as well down here.

                                  1. re: collioure

                                    Liking CdR whites more and more, especially if acidity if kept. Luberon blancs can also be fine values: the Perrin line is a bargain delight hear.. Not greatly excited by Languedoc-Rousillon whites--have had a tasty Minervois blanc, tho, and do like Picpoul with certain foods--but vin gris-rose of Corbieres or Minervois is terrific.

                                    1. re: bob96

                                      D'accord! I bought no CdRoussilon white this season, but someone keeps giving them to me.

                                    2. re: collioure

                                      No, similar varieties grown in the region was my point but the Belle Provencale is a good value and would work for the OP. Winestore is a good bargain retail shop in our area with several stores and they carry a lot of Charlotte's own Eric Solomon selections.

                                      Carolinadawg, they have locations in Blakeney, Southpark (near Firebirds) and Lake Norman. Great values!

                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                        I'm sure I would like la Belle Provençale. it is exactly the kind of wine I recommnded above. In white Roussillon does not grow the same varietes as Provence. With a few exceptions Roussillon whites are like Rioja blanco - big on Viura/Macabeo and Vermentino/Rolle. Rhone whites, often with Viognier, are more interesting wines to me.

                                        1. re: collioure

                                          Once had a very nicely floral/mineral grenache blanc/chard/marsanne? blend, Domaine Lafage "côté EST" Côtes Catalanes Blanc, (<$12) and have since been seeing more grenache-based whites.

                                          1. re: bob96

                                            Domaine Lafage is active down here, expanding by buying top vineyards, but somehow I don't run into their wines. Their domaine is well off my route de vin.

                                            Domaine Lafage Côté Est Blanc, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes – 60% grenache blanc and gris with 30% chardonnay and 10% marsanne.

                                            I don't look for whites down here any more, but maybe I should stop in. Thirteen of their wines, Côté Est blanc included, were recognized at the annual tasting down here. That’s exceptional.

                                            Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

                                            1. re: collioure

                                              Off-radar French whites like the LaFage are not always available here (NYC at the rime)--in fact, it's only the standards that are available regularly---but are nice finds, and good on price, like some of the Savoy whites can be. For wines from the SW at these prices, they're more interesting than, say, the standard Cotes de Gascogne or the export varietals in cute labels.

                                2. re: lynnlato

                                  Thanks Lynn, I've never heard of Winestore! I'll definitely check them out.

                                3. Do you have access to a trader joes wine shop?
                                  I really liked this dry reisling, i found a better description than i could give:
                                  "2011 Pacific Rim Dry Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington State $8.99 - While dry, the ripeness of the fruit gives the impression of some palate sweetness. This is one for the more full-bodied, robust dishes"

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                                    Oh yeah, that Pacific Rim Riesling is nice.

                                  2. Thanks to all for your help and suggestions. I'm going with a Rueda from Trader Joe's.

                                    Really appreciate all the input and I'm looking forward to trying many of these suggestions as I expand my white wine horizons!