Under-$15 Chardonnays that Overdeliver for the Money
Interesting, accomplished Chardonnay can be found for well under $15 — that’s no surprise. What was more or less unexpected before tasting for this roundup was just how much there is in the way of stylistic variation.
The nine selections below, listed alphabetically, all represent excellent value for the money. They also showcase the fact that enjoyable values are being produced around the world and right here in the United States. We just as easily could have included standout bottles from Australia, Oregon, and countless points in between. These nine, however, are all worth consideration. And at less than $15, what have you got to lose?
2020 Bonterra Chardonnay California ($14)
From organic grapes, this is like summertime in the glass: White peaches, sweet spice, a squeeze of Satsuma citrus, and a long and balanced finish.
2020 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay Reserva Chile ($12)
Silky in texture and energetic on the palate, this showcases citrus and melon pith, fresh herbs, and hard pears, all cut through with a vivid mineral spine.
2019 Domaine Bousquet Chardonnay Reserve Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina ($15)
Baked yellow apples, pineapples, honeycomb, and a hint of brown butter and vanilla lend this wine — produced from organic grapes — a real sense of elegance and complexity.
2020 Goose Ridge Vineyards G3 Chardonnay Columbia Valley, Washington ($15)
Slightly reductive in the best possible sense, this is savory and rich, with preserved citrus, toasted fennel seeds, and mashed apple and pear notes.
2019 J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco, Monterey ($14)
Lively yet concentrated, this shimmers with real tension and life. Lemon zest and pith, hard stone fruit, and sweet woodsy spices provide lots of wine for the money.
2020 Joel Gott Unoaked Chardonnay California ($12)
With its layers of sweet, ripe apples, suggestion of guava, lifted spice, and orange blossom, this shows that inexpensive Chardonnay can be made with good enough fruit that oak isn’t even necessary.
2019 Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay ($14)
Let the naysayers claim that too much of this wine is produced to be any good, because here’s the thing: It’s really well-made, generous with tropical fruit, honeysuckle, candied ginger, and cinnamon-vanilla baked apples. Impressive.
2020 Louis Jadot Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay Burgundy, France ($14)
Proof that delicious wines from Burgundy don’t have to cost a fortune, this is subtle and layered with yellow apples, honey-coated almonds, and the lift of flowers through the finish.
2020 Tabor Mt. Tabor Chardonnay Lower Galilee, Israel ($14)
This rings with bright autumn orchard fruit, mouthwatering acidity, and enough richness to pair with heartier dishes, too. Produced by one of Israel’s leaders in environmentally conscientious winemaking.
Prices are subject to change.