There are some questions you should ask when picking a white wine. Is it light and refreshing, as delicate as flower petals? Or rich, golden, and weighted like liquid butter? Does the bright acidity wake up your tastebuds? Will you need a platter of oysters to pair with all of its crispy deliciousness? What about the aroma? Does it smell like a vacation, with fruity or perhaps even oaky fragrances? Is it light in alcohol and easy to drink?
The characteristics of white wine vary from grape to grape, but, on the whole, these wines are typically lighter in body when compared to reds. They also display different fruits — think apples, pears, citrus, and melon. They almost always show acidity on a greater level and rarely are they higher than 14.5% ABV.
Within those constraints, there’s plenty of room for variation. The permutations are literally endless.
There is one thing a white wine doesn’t need to have to be considered great, though. An expensive price tag. For every high end bottle of good white wine, there’s a more cost-effective one just waiting to be purchased for the low low. And you can find a solid few of them at our old pal Trader Joe’s.
Today, we’ve rounded up 10 white wines that are valuable in price and quality and worth checking out ASAP. None of the bottles featured on this list cost more than $25 and they’re all currently at TJ locations across the country. We’ve also linked to online stores where applicable.
Let’s get straight to it!
A to Z Wineworks Pinot Gris
Average Price: $13
Produced in Oregon, A to Z was launched in 2002 by wine industry veterans and friends Deb Hatcher, Bill Hatcher, Sam Tannahill, and Cheryl Francis. They started out just making a pinot noir, which has since been dubbed one of the Best American Pinot Noirs under $20 by Food & Wine. The foursome expanded their vino ventures when they teamed up with fellow winemaker Michael Davies and NBA coach Gregg Popovich in 2006.
Now the group sells chardonnay, riesling, rosé, sparkling rosé and this outstanding pinot gris.
This wine features the scents of lemon trees, quince, and a faint hint of honey. The sip starts with a splash of acidity but the palate is actually soft and layered with notes of pineapple, lime, yellow apples, and white flowers. This wine is thoroughly refreshing and light with a smooth lingering finish.
This is a versatile white wine that is just as good with food as it is all by itself.
Pine Ridge White Blend
Average Price: $11
Produced in California, this wine is comprised of grapes from two different areas of the West Coast’s wine region to create a juice that is fruity, floral, and jumping with acidity. The 80 percent Chenin blanc used for this wine comes from the Clarksburg appellation — AKA the Gem of the Delta — and gives the wine its fresh fruit character, while the 20 percent viogneir from Lodi gives the wine its floral and spicy nature as well as some viscosity.
It’s a light and bright white wine, but it’s also got a body that you can feel.
Floral fragrances jump out of the bottle along with smells of yuzu, peach, and ground ginger. As for the acidity on the palate, WHEW! It’s smacks the tongue like a load of concrete and yet the tastes of honeyed apples, lemon curd, and lemongrass are just as noticeable. There’s a creamy, almost yogurt-like softness on the backend of the wine that rounds it all out while the acidity continues to dazzle the tastebuds in the finish.
You feel every bit of this wine from the moment it first hits your lips ’til it settles in the pit of your stomach.
Is it summer yet?
This is the white wine you want to sip on a scorching hot day. Or pair it with spicy dishes in the thick of winter. This wine will cool down all the heat no matter the situation.
MBALI Chenin Blanc/Viognier
Average Price: $5
Now here’s another chenin blanc and viognier blend that has similar density to the one above, but this South African gem is much more tame in acidity. Sweet tropical fruits dominate. No wonder there’s a colorful image of a Protea cynaroides on the bottle — this wine is just as soft and pretty as the petals of the country’s national flower.
The fragrance of raw honey, honeysuckle and melon lead on the nose of this wine, but on the palate the tropical fruit flavors are undeniable. Passion fruit collides with notes of cantaloupe, lychee, and golden plum for a nearly weightless wine that floats across the palate gracefully.
Acid? Where? Not in this wine. It is supremely soft and light from the first sip to the finish, which lingers with a dousing of honeydew.
This wine here is what we like to call a porch pounder, but it can also be enjoyed solo on the couch.
Joseph Händler Riesling
Average Price: $7
This wine hails from Pfalz, Germany, one of the biggest producers of the grapes in the world. German rieslings have a reputation of being on the sweet side, although not all of them are. The residual sugar is certainly noticeable in this bottle, but it wraps up clean and polished.
This wine smells like perfume rollers, sweet-scented lotions, and fruity candies at the bottom of your grandmother’s purse. It’s a truly delicate white wine that tastes like the zest of lime and candy-coated fruit on the palate. There’s glace apricot, dried mango, and sweet, hard-candied pineapple — all on the sip.
As for the finish, it’s not all that long but does include a welcomed dry note on the back end.
Got chicken? Then get you some of this riesling to go with it. Whether you’re braising, grilling, roasting or frying, this white wine is going to compliment the white meat.
Ferrari Carano Fumé Blanc Sauvignon Blanc
Average Price: $15
Produced in the heart of Sonoma County, California, this sauvignon blanc is comprised of grapes from a variety of vineyards across the region including Dry Creek, Alexander and Russian River Valleys. While majority of its fermentation is spent aging in stainless tanks, a bit of it spends time in oak barrels, which provides the wine with more complexity and depth.
Floral, grassy and citrus on the nose, this wine tastes like a fruit bowl full of tangerine, peach, melon and grapefruit. There is some fresh minerality that evolves throughout the sip, while a barely-there hint of oak gives the wine body and character.
This wine has a lot of lively flavors that make it good for pairing with a variety of foods like fish, baked chicken, veal, or pork. Is spicy pork ramen on the menu? This fresh suav blanc can cut through fat and tone down hot peppery flavors, too.
Average Price: $24
It shouldn’t take much to guess where this vibrantly pale-gold wine comes from. Yup, another Sonoma gem has found a spot on the top shelf at Trader Joe’s, and rightfully so. It’s an excellent chardonnay with personality and pizzaz that will have you pouring glass after glass.
Is this wine or fresh squeezed nectarine blended with apples, melons, peaches, butterscotch and spices? It’s hard to tell from the bounty of aromas pulsating out of this bottle. On the palate, this medium-to-full-bodied wine radiates with flavors of peaches and pears and a shock of bright and unexpected acidity. The finish is just as sunny and rounds out long and silky, with hints of clove and vanilla spice.
This is a chardonnay with some finesse that deserves a spot on the dinner table. Roast a chicken, sear some scallops, make risotto if you’re feeling fancy — any of those dishes can take on the body and complexity of this white wine without overpowering it.
Bread & Butter Chardonnay
Average Price: $12
This wine hails from Napa Valley, California, and is produced by a team of folks who believe wines are made to be easy-going and approachable. This buttery, oaky chardonnay is definitely that.
No surprises here — this wine tastes exactly like its name says: bread and butter.
Notes of vanilla and almond hit hard on the nose while the sip leans into its creamy, buttery croissant character. The slight touch of acidy taps the tastebuds mid-sip but the wine evolves back to its creamy nature in the long and lingering finish.
Bring on the creamy pastas and soups. You’ll want to pair this with decadent and rich dishes.
Vignobles Lacheteau Vouvray
Average Price: $10
What’s tart and sweet at the same damn time? This chenin blanc from Vouvray, Touraine within France’s Loire Valley, that’s what.
This shiny, nearly-yellow wine has an interesting nutty aroma, like pecans and almonds, unsalted, unsweetened just raw, and in their natural form. The palate is juicy and sweet, with pear flavors before it blossoms into a tarty green apple with an almond underlining. The finish is quick and soft with a dash of residual sugar that will leave you licking your lips.
This wine will go well with the stinkiest cheese you can find.
Villa Sonia Pinot Grigio
Average Price: $6
Here is a light, fruit-forward wine that may make you yearn for summer. It’s comprised solely of pinot grigio grapes grown in Veneto, Italy.
This almost-clear white wine smells of citrus fruits but displays more rounded notes of green, yellow, and orange melon flavors in the sip. The finish is super short but there is a hint of lemon on the very back end of the wine. Overall, this pinot grigio is really soft and has barely any weight to it, making it incredibly easy to drink.
A tower of chilled langoustine, clams, scallops, and oysters on the half shell will go a long way with this wine.
Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio
Average Price: $10
This is pinot grigio is from Italy’s Trentino region. The properties owned by Mezzacrona extend from the Adige Valley to the foothills of the majestic Dolomites. All that mountain air makes an impact on the juice, giving it a little more body than the style above and a lot more minerality too.
This is an aromatic white wine with scents of green apple, Asian pear, and wildflower. Golden Delicious apple shows up on the sip and is greeted with a zippy splash of citrus and fresh minerality that lasts throughout its elegant finish.
This is the wine you drink to start the night. It’s easy-going and will pair with a bounty of appetizers as well as light salads, pastas, chicken, and fish.