Best Chardonnays Under $20

From the Shop Smart Magazine I found this article on White Wonders, Many very good chardonnays cost less than$15. Knowing little about chardonnays or any wine for that matter, I found this article interesting and very informative. Knowing that you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a glass of wine is also a very big plus, especially in this economy.

One of the big reasons this article stood out to me was because the experts blind-tasted these chardonnays, they didn’t get to see the bottles making their decisions on taste and smell alone.

When it comes to chardonnay, the best-selling wine varietal in the U.S., it’s easy to find a winner for less than $20. One of the top picks is hard-to-believe-it’s-drinkable $5. Many wines have a pretty narrow range of attributes that separate the better bottles from the so-so ones. But a great chardonnay can be crisp and fruity with a range of flavors typical of the chardonnay grape – apple, pear, fruit cocktail, melon, fig, citrus, and honey.

These smart picks are divided into three types: Woody and buttery, fresh and fruity, and combination style.

Woody and Buttery:

  • Columbia Crest Grand Estates Columbia Valley 2006 – Washington State $11 Columbia Crest has been a consistently good value in our tests over the years. This vintage has a butterscotchy taste.

Tip: Drink with rich, savory foods. Think cream, butter, fat and heavy spice.

Fresh and Fruity:

  • Newman’s Own 2006 – California $13 Newman’s is especially food-friendly.
  • Frontera 2007 – Chile $5 The unsoaked Chilean wines are a good value.
  • Cousino-Macul 2007 – Chile $9 Cousino-Macul has grassy aromas as a sauvignon blanc does.

Tip: Drink with sushi and finger foods like cheese, olives, veggies and dip; light seafood meals like snapper and halibut; Vietnamese, Chinese, and Thai food.

Combination Style:

  • Frei Brothers Reserve Russian River Valley Sonoma 2006 – California, $20 A balanced mix of fruity and woody.
  • Casillero del Diablo Reserve from Concha y Toro 2007 – Chile, $10 Leans towards fruity.
  • MacRostie Carneros 2006 – California, $23 A big, woody wine balanced with fruit.

Tip: Drink with fish dishes like poached salmon with cream tarragon sauce, crab cakes, and seafood or corn chowder, pasta with white sauce, and mac and cheese.

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