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White Wines Under $30 That Will Keep You Warmer Than An Ugly Sweater

There’s this notion about white wine, that it’s best enjoyed in the summer. When it’s warm and the sun is beating down. We don’t know why this connotation exists or how it came about, but we do know that it’s not entirely true.

Yes, a zippy Italian Vermentino can be the best solution for cooling down on a scorching day in the middle of July. And sure, nothing quite beats the luxury of sitting poolside with a bottle of Chenin Blanc from South Africa. But these wines and several other white varieties are totally capable of keeping you cozy in the colder months, too. Just like the hideous sweater you wore to last year’s office holiday party.

In fact, there are bottles of Chardonnay and Viognier that can keep you as warm as chestnuts roasting on an open fire. As warm as any whiskey in America (almost).

To help get you in the mood for a few fall and winter white wines, we’ve rounded up a list of the 10 best bottles of white wine to drink right now and on the cold nights to come. The bottles listed below are all under $30, because enjoying quality wine doesn’t necessarily mean you need to break the bank. These selections are also widely available and can be found in retail shops across the country, or you can have them delivered straight to your door by clicking the linked prices.

Mas La Chevaliére Chardonnay 2019

White Horse Wines

ABV: 13%
Average Price: $16

The Wine:

2019 was an exceptional year for grapes grown in the South of France like this Chardonnay, which is produced in the Languedoc. There was little rain during the spring and summer and the temperatures were particularly hot, yet the grapes maintained good health and displayed their natural acidity during maturation—the point of the winemaking process that occurs after fermenting and before bottling, when the wine usually sits in barrels.

At Mas La Chevaliére — one of the wineries under the Domaine Laroche umbrella — the wine matures in stainless-steel tanks, so there are no signs of oak in the juice. Just 100 percent pure Chardonnay greatness.

Tasting Notes:

The pale-straw wine opens up with the aromas of breakfast grapefruit sprinkled with sugar, while rich flavors of bright and ripe apricot and cantaloupe blanket the palate and balance out the citrusy acidity. The finish is as clean and fresh as the first snow of the season.

Bottom Line:

This is an easy, breezy wine and a great example of what Chardonnay grapes actually taste like. Since it’s matured in steel tanks, there’s no presence of those oaky, toasted vanilla and buttery notes usually associated with Chardonnay, making this one a refreshingly bright change from the rest of what’s on the market.

Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay 2018

Sonoma-Cutrer

ABV:13.8%
Average Price: $28

The Wine:

Comprised of grapes grown in Sonoma, California, 85 percent of this Chardonnay is barrel-aged while the other 15 percent is aged in steel tanks. The blend results in a perfect marriage of flavor for a medium-bodied, dry wine that will pair perfectly with those easy sheet-pan dinners like salmon and veggies or takeout favorites like chicken tinga or al pastor tacos.

Tasting Notes:

You know the smell of a fresh-baked lemon butter loaf hot out of the oven? That’s the aroma aerating the glass, while a soft harmony of roasted almonds, Bosc pear, and hints of oak permeate the palate. The short finish, peppered with a slight spice, shocks the back of your throat before it quickly evaporates.

You’ll be pouring your next glass before you even finish your first sip.

Bottom Line:

This isn’t a sweet wine by any means, but it’s just as comforting as fall time baked goods without all the sugar (only 1.80 grams of residual sugar in each bottle!). Sonoma-Cutrer’s humanitarian efforts make this wine even more soothing to the soul. Sales of every bottle of the Russian River Ranches Chardonnay directly support Sonoma-Cutrer’s $100,000 donation to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, a relief organization helping restaurant workers affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as well as the winery’s $50,000 pledge to No Kid Hungry, which provides meals to children in need.

Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2019

Cape Mentelle

ABV: 13%
Average Price: $26

The Wine:

It’s when night falls earlier and temperatures drop sharply that we dream of beach days and sorbet sunsets the most. That’s what this wine is. It’s a medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend of the warmth and splendor of the beach in a bottle. That shouldn’t be surprising, considering this wine is produced in Margaret River, Australia — near one of the most famous surf breaks on the planet.

Tasting Notes:

This wine is complexly vibrant, with fresh green lime, lemon sorbet, and chalk rock aromas. Yet it’s swirling with melon and a peachiness that creates a creamy texture to balance out that mineral backbone. Nectarine in the lengthy finish makes it a full circle experience, completely washing out the palate with the same acidity that’s noticed on the first sip.

Bottom Line:

This wine is a trip down under without the expensive and long flight. Pair it with a piping hot bowl of spicy laksa — a Southeast Asian favorite found often in Australia — and thank us for the staycation escape.

Domaine de Champarlan 2018 Menetou-Salon

Astor Wines

ABV: 12.5%
Average Price: $20

The Wine:

Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown in the heart of the Loire Valley, in a small region known as Menetou-Salon, make up this classically French wine. True, there is some acidity in this wine, but it’s much gentler than that of the New Zealand and Australian Sauv Blancs of the world. This wine is bright and vibrant while at the same time warm and welcoming — kinda like the folks you love but may not get to see at Friendsgiving this holiday season because… 2020.

Sigh.

Tasting Notes:

This wine is ripe with fruit. Apple and pear radiate on the nose and transition onto the palate while the acidity of the wine is soothed by an herbal touch. Is that a hint of mint lingering in the finish? Yup, that’s exactly what you’re tasting. Pour another glass.

Bottom Line:

This is the wine you buy when you want something fresh and inviting without the bite. Pair it with a hearty salad or drink it by itself.

Pierre Sparr Pinot Blanc 2018

Pierre Sparr

ABV: 12.5%
Average Price: $17

The Wine:

Made from 100 percent Pinot Gris, grown in the Alsace region of France, this wine is a staple from a family that’s practiced viticulture since 1680. The devotion, passion, and tending of the land and grapes has been passed down from generation to generation, and you can almost taste the heritage in every glass.

Tasting Notes:

This is a fresh and delicate wine that subtly displays aromas of apricot and nectar. Pear is the most dominant feature, although you get a sense of Meyer lemon lending to the mineral structure of the wine. Those expressions combined create an unexpected creaminess. Not too dense, not too bright—a perfect balance of crunchy and soft stone fruit giving way to the right amount of tension in the finish.

Bottom Line:

Take this bottle out of the fridge 15 minutes before you plan to crack it open and let the fresh delicacy of the wine wrap around your tastebuds like a fine-knit quilt.

Nortico Alvarinho 2019

Binny

ABV: 13%
Average Price: $15

The Wine:

Unlike the effervescent Vinho Verdes of Portugal, which are often spritzed with a little CO2 before bottling, there’s no fizz in this white wine from the northwestern and coastal villages of Moncao and Melgaco. The result is a richer, fuller, juicy fruit wine kissed with salinity.

Tasting Notes:

Although the plots where this wine is grown are slightly more inland, the grapes are still heavily influenced by the sea. Peach and tropical fruit are most prevalent on the nose while the palate zings with fresh citrus and sea salt. Floral expressions round out the clean and airy finish.

Bottom Line:

Grab a jacket and pound this one on the porch while the sun is out. Take the bottle outside with you. Brisk weather will keep it cold. Be careful though, this wine is so incredibly easy to drink, you may find yourself running through it quicker than expected.

Tenuta Guado al Tasso Vermentino 2019

Wine Chateau

ABV: 13%
Average Price: $24

The Wine:

This is a savory thirst quencher, comprised of 100 percent Vermentino grapes grown in the Bolgheri appellation of Italy. On one hand, it’s soaking with white flowers. On the other, it’s sopping with fresh acidity. Put both hands together and you’ve got a completely balanced wine, worthy of a round of applause.

Bravo!

Tasting Notes:

Intense fragrances of elderflower are met with splashes of yellow fruits like apples, pears, and pineapple. This is a wine with body and you can feel the weight of it on the palate as a rich, saltwater acidity balances out the long and lingering finish.

Bottom Line:

Pair this wine with an Italian feast. It’s got the bones to cut through even the most decadent cacio e pepe or spicy Ragus. Caprese anyone?

Alban Central Coast Viognier

Drink Dispatch

ABV: 15.4%
Average Price: $30

The Wine:

Now here’s a wine to snuggle up with. Grown and produced in California’s Central Coast, this wine made of 100 percent Viognier. It has a medium-to-full-bodied profile, which means, it leans high in alcohol. This wine is a slow sipper.

Tasting Notes:

Wafts of white flowers and drops of honey are intense on the nose, but its orange marmalade that stands out in the sip. The texture of the wine is ethereally glossy. When you swirl it around, you can see its dense structure in the slow drizzle of its golden-hued legs sliding down the glass.

Bottom Line:

The high alcohol content is a dead giveaway that this is a good wine for pairing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the white wine for steak. This wine is an elegant counterpart for all your squashes, vegetable stews, and vegan chilis. It pairs exceptionally well with root vegetables but it also brings out the best in chicken and lean meats.

Royal Tokaji The Oddity Furmint 2016

Some Good Wine

ABV: 12.5%
Average Price: $20

The Wine:

Furmint is a grape that doesn’t nearly get the attention it deserves, but in Hungary, it reigns supreme. That’s thanks, in part, to the winemakers at Royal Tokaji who, 20 years ago, set forth on a mission to bring Furmint back to the glory it held when it was used to make the gold and sweet elixir aszú for European royals in the 17th century.

This one is much different from what was enjoyed in the 1600s, but it’s worth all the acclaim.

Tasting Notes:

Although Furmint can be sweet, this wine is notably dry. However, it maintains all the ripe sensations that can be found in sweeter styles too, in the way that apple and peach lead on the palate. Those notes are given a crispy uplift from the wine’s mineral structure, which remains throughout the long finish.

Bottom Line:

As hard as Hungarian wines are to come by, you’ll be a legend when you break out this superior and well-priced find at the next socially-distanced function.

Reyneke Vinehugger White 2018

Wine Chateau

ABV: 13%
Average Price: $18

The Wine:

Produced in the Western Cape, this is an organic Chenin Blanc, or Steen as they call it in South Africa. It’s charming and has an interesting character. Is that smoke you’re smelling after a quick swirl of the glass? Why, yes, it is. Quick someone fire up the braai!

Tasting Notes:

The first thing this wine greets you with is the smell of smoked applewood and orange peels. On the sip, you’ll notice hints of grilled peaches and nutty flavors, which get rounded out by a bit of spice in the silky and memorable finish.

Bottom Line:

Drink this wine now, with rotisserie chicken or duck. Or you can save it until you can actually get the grill going. It’s good for storing through 2023.

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