Home Varietals Chardonnay Chardonnay Challenge: 16 Low-priced Chardonnays Reviewed

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’ve been drinking a lot of chardonnay lately.  I tried 16 in total and I’m finally ready to present the summary of results.

Overall, I was thrilled by how many of the chardonnays I tried were good.   And I was even more thrilled by the diverse flavors I found.  Some were the predictable buttery-oaky chards that everyone tells me they hate, some were mineral and crispy, while some were tropical and vibrant.  Out of the 16 I tried, there are 6 that I would buy again and would recommend to others.  Some of the other 10 are still good, but I’ve picked 6 that I think outshine the others.

Which one I would recommend to you?  That somewhat depends on what your looking for, since there was a good variety in what I tried.

Top Picks

Veramonte ChardonnayThere are three different chardonnays that I gave 89 points and they are all different.  My personal preference is the Veramonte Chardonnay Reserva from Chile.  It has a nice, crisp fruity flavor at a decent price ($8.99).  I had heard a lot of good things about Chilean wine, but hadn’t tried many of them before this one.  Now I want to try more.

If the classic buttery-oaky chardonnay is what you’re interested in, then Concannon – Central Coast is a great choice.  I’ve been getting crap from the anti-chardonnay crowd who don’t like this style of chardonnay for the past couple months for spending so much time on chards.  But for those who are pro-butter and pro-oak, this is your pick.

For those who want an unoaked chardonnay, and are OK with spending a couple extra bucks, I’d recommend Monjardin Unoaked Chardonnay from Spain.  It has a nice mineral, lime and pear flavor with a medium-long finish.  This is a very enjoyable wine.

Best Value Chardonnay

My top pick for best value is the Twin Fin Chardonnay from California.  I can usually find this wine for $6.99 and it is a really tasty chardonnay with a tropical edge.  The flavors in this one are pineapple, banana and vanilla, which make this an interesting and good cheap wine. 

Interesting and Worth a Try

There are two others from the list that I would recommend and they are both unoaked chardonnays and both priced at $9.99.

  • Brampton Unoaked Chardonnay from South Africa is nice and light with apple, peach, pear and mineral flavors.  It also has quite a long finish–particularly for a $10 wine. 
  • Brancott-Gisborne Unoaked Chardonnay from New Zealand is another wine with a tropical twist.  The tropical flavors aren’t as prominent as the Twin Fin, but you’ll enjoy the pinapple and pear flavors that this wine presents.

Wine Ratings

There are other chardonnays that I tried that are decent, but you won’t go wrong with my top six.  Here’s the full list of the wines I tasted for this challenge and how they rated.  Cheers!

Brand

Year

Region

Rating

Price

Veramonte

2005

Chile

89

$8.99

Concannon – Central Coast

2004

California

89

$7.99

Monjardin

2005

Spain

89

$11.99

Twin Fin

2004

California

88

$6.99

Brampton

2006

South Africa

88

$9.99

Barefoot

N/A

California

87

$6.99

Brancott – Gisborne

2005

New Zealand

87

$9.99

Alice White

2006

Australia

86

$7.99

Razor’s Edge

2006

Austrailia

86

$12.99

Three Thieves

2005

California

84

$9.99

Smoking Loon

2005

California

83

$8.99

Dynamite Vineyards

2004

California

83

$9.99

French Rabbit

2005

France

77

$9.99

Ernest & Julio Gallo – Café

N/A

California

77

$4.99

Fetzer – Valley Oaks

2005

California

74

$7.99

Charles Shaw

2005

California

72

$3.39

2 replies to this post
  1. [...] This is pretty much a classic chardonnay.  It has citrus and mineral on the nose.  Tart apple and lots of butter on the palate.  It is well balanced, but not too exciting.  I gave it an 85 and wouldn’t be likely to buy it again.  It wasn’t bad, just nothing special, and I think I can find better chardonnay for less. [...]

Leave a Reply