For years, probably the most popular white wine grape on the planet has been Chardonnay. Winemakers love this French grape due to its capacity to develop wherever, in addition to its malleability within the vineyard. Now we have turn out to be used to a sure type of Chardonnay within the U.S: deep, golden-hued wine with dollops of vanilla and butter and sometimes a smack of sweetness from its excessive alcohol content material. However we’ve advanced. We nonetheless dig deep and large Chardonnay, however winemakers throughout the key wine areas within the U.S. and overseas are exhibiting that there’s extra to this grape than wooden and butter.
All of that is to say that, in my fourth 12 months as VinePair’s tastings director, I’ve seen how numerous wines from this grape might be. It’s a grape shoppers and wine professionals alike needs to be being attentive to in 2021, which is why I’ve included plenty of Chardonnays on this record.
That mentioned, there’s a lot superior white wine that I wish to share with you — some made with grapes you realize and love, and others it’s possible you’ll by no means have heard of. The bottles on this record are wines that I sip and instantly wish to share, educate about, and watch wine lovers get excited over. I’m hoping this record will do this work.
These are the wines I really feel we must always have a good time this 12 months. White wines from Austria and Oregon constituted of the identical grape with totally different expressions. Blends from the Rhône that shine, and fragrant Italian island varieties thriving within the Central Coast. For me, wine is all about exploration. I wish to strive all of it, at any and each worth level. As I acknowledged in my red wines roundup, wine is for everybody. Whether or not the white wine is $14 or $84, there’s at all times a brand new white wine to expertise, or a brand new type of one thing you like.
Get pleasure from this record, and know that that is only the start. These wines will begin you off, however if you happen to like what you see and style, discover extra within the area and magnificence of that wine to see how numerous white wine might be.
South African wine is so modern. The area is filled with thrilling blends and distinctive types of varietal wines. From probably the most reasonably priced to probably the most age-worthy, there’s a lot to discover. This wine is a good begin. The mix is wild, but it surely works. For the value, it’s a pleasant, earthy wine and smells like almond granola, pears, and honey, with calm acidity. Preserve a watch out for extra superior issues from this nation.
This can be a nice possibility if you happen to just like the steely angles of wines from Sancerre. You get wafts of white pepper and pears, with bracing acidity. The fruit is ripe, the mouthfeel is bone dry, and it’s reasonably priced sufficient to purchase a couple of bottles for a picnic. Ensure you carry some goat cheese.
Wines from this area all have very related aroma profiles: bell pepper and candy reduce grass aromas, with gassy acidity. The type is fairly constant. This bottle has all of that, however in the fitting locations. The bell pepper is muted a bit by a pleasant saline high quality. As an alternative of being overly candy, it’s fruit-forward, permitting the vigorous acidity to carry every part in place. It’s a kiwi Savvy B to hunt out.
Occasion time! This wine smells like mangoes and pineapples, and the acidity winds by way of the wine like time. It’s below screw cap and able to get down. What I’m saying is that there are plenty of low-cost bottles of Cali Chard on the market. This one is a strong seize and go.
That is one of the best deal on the shelf if you happen to’re observing a bunch of Pinot Grigio. You could know this wine already. It’s in all places. However I really feel I simply want to strengthen the workhorse nature of this bottle. It’s crisp and refreshing. The fruit is balanced with the acidity. It’s a straight-up legit, strong, on a regular basis white wine that may please all of the palates.
Citrusy and thirst quenching, spherical and juicy, this can be a nice wine for nicely below $10. This winemaker has a knack for making balanced wines at a really low worth, and that is one in all them. It’s strong, and an important seize and go. Seems like a case purchase.
There are some locations in Bordeaux that make wine white fetching well-deserved excessive costs. However there are plenty of thrilling choices from this area which might be nicely beneath $20 and are scrumptious for on a regular basis consuming. Bordeaux is commonly blended with Semillon for a smack of sweetness and Sauvignon Blanc for a shot of acidity. The result’s one thing like this nice bottle. Salty and vivid with grippy fruit, it’s positive to be a crowd pleaser.
That is one other nice low-cost bottle of Chardonnay. It’s tart and smells like bananas and vanilla. It’s not very oaky, but it surely does have wooded vibes and good depth for the value.
Among the most strong, reasonably priced, and balanced white wines on our market are from Portugal. So once you see one, seize it. This wine is vivid and balanced, with enjoyable, fizzy acidity. The palate is spherical, refreshing, and can elevate an eyebrow or two.
Within the city of Pinet, locals nosh on piles of sea urchins and bivalves recent out of the salty Mediterranean — washing all of it down with their native, cleaning and refreshing Picpoul de Pinet. This bottle — crisp and vibrant with mildly tart fruit — will take you there.
Final 12 months, VinePair had the possibility to style plenty of wines from Oregon and found that the state has a lot extra to supply than simply Pinot Noir. White wine grapes like Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, and Pinot Gris are additionally thriving there. If the latter varietal pursuits you, this bottle is a good start line. It has good, broad depth with good acidity to carry up the slight weight.
New York, rise up! The Finger Lakes has turn out to be a nationwide focus for wines constituted of Riesling. And man, are they nice. However Riesling’s lean steadiness reveals in different white wines from this historical glacial land, corresponding to this Chardonnay. This type is gentle and creamy, with average acidity balancing a slight grip on the palate.
When you’ve got by no means tried wine from this grape, then this can be a nice begin. Gewürztraminer is a really expressive wine and may overwhelm the senses if even barely out of steadiness. This bottle is harmonized in each layer. It smells like honey flecked with white pepper and has deep fruit balanced by frothy, vibrant acidity. You may sip this with some pad Thai or spicy wings, or you would simply sit and revel in it alone. It’s that balanced.
Virginia is one in all America’s most enjoyable up-and-coming wine areas. Thomas Jefferson could be proud. Talking of TJ, this wine comes from land he as soon as owned. The Viongier grape is shortly discovering its religious dwelling right here and exhibiting some true steadiness. This one smells like orange blossoms and honey. It has good depth and average acidity and a pleasant medium weight on the palate.
This can be a nice Riesling for people who find themselves undecided they like Riesling. It’s lush and alive with bracing acidity and a subtly candy vibe. It’s very balanced and easy-drinking. As an alternative of the traditional spicy meals pairing advice, I’m going to say the subtlety right here is actual, so a legit cheese choice or a berry tart is the best way to go.
The wines of the Soave are so satisfying. In the event you like Pinot Grigio however want just a bit extra weight, these wines — plus a Caprese salad — are a complete afternoon. This bottle is likely one of the finest in the marketplace and can present how this area rolls; a shy depth on the fruit with a welcoming broad palate.
Right here’s one more reason to deal with South African wine. That is such a basic but distinctive illustration of Chenin Blanc. It’s deep, filling your mind with salted honey. Vibrant acidity is available in quick like a solar beam livening issues up. It’s that brightness that makes this normally weighty white stand out. In the event you like Chardonnay, give this wine a strive.
It takes a minute to sound out Mah-la-goo-zee-ah, however you’ll fall in love with the wine earlier than you discover ways to pronounce it. There’s a complete world to discover in Greek white wine, as they’ve distinctive aromas and constructions not seen in different wine areas. This wine smells like honey with a whiff of aloe. It has a wispy refreshment type of mouthfeel, and also you’ll end up grabbing a bunch of bottles of this for a summer season day.
Past the various types of Chardonnay, there and so many white wines to discover in California. Vines from all around the world are thriving within the Golden State’s soils, due to winemakers’ expert palms. This very Italian grape is making itself dwelling in Paso Robles. This wine is like strolling previous a honeysuckle bush whereas consuming a juicy pear. It has a crack of crispness on the palate and can make you overlook your love for Pinot Grigio — if solely for a second.
I’m telling you: Oregon is coming for you with nice white wines. The state is nearly turning into Grüner Veltliner’s new dwelling. This wine is all creamy lemons and apples. It has a pleasant slight depth with a little bit of a grip. What an important addition to the already spectacular variety of American wine.
The Russian River alone produces all kinds of Chardonnay types, however what I discover fascinating about this one is that it has direct connections to the grape’s dwelling in Burgundy whereas being uniquely American. This wine is laser-sharp, but grippy and deep. There’s a refined trace of oak, and sufficient acidity to steadiness every part out. It represents the class that solely California solar may give Chardonnay.
Carneros, one of many cooler subregions of Napa, has the fitting average macroclimate for beautiful Chardonnay. Please be sitting down once you first sip this golden marvel. It’s so balanced, it’s maddening — with whiffs of fancy French butter and hints of caramel which might be harmonized by wiry acidity winding by way of the wine like a whisper. Sharing this bottle can be an train in persistence.
In the event you take heed to VinePair’s “Wine 101” podcast, you know the way a lot I like Friulian wine. Whereas there are a lot of completely fantastic white wines from grapes like Ribolla Gialla and Friulano, this area can be identified for glorious wines constituted of French varieties (a few of the finest Merlot on the earth, in my humble opinion). If a Chardonnay might be soulful, that is what it will really feel like. It smells deep and nutty, like almonds and honey. There’s a lean channel of acidity operating by way of the wine and letting the depth sink into your palate. What an important wine.
With all of the Chardonnay being made around the globe, we are able to always remember its true dwelling, Burgundy. And particularly, the chaotic soils of the Côte de Beaune, the place this grape emanates it’s inherent traits like nowhere else. This wine is bone dry, with a layered creamy depth on the palate. The acidity is nervy and retains depth and brightness of their corners, holding every part in place. The mouthfeel of this wine will make you cease for a second and suppose.
Godello deserves your consideration. It was as soon as nearly extinct. Then, it was introduced again to life as a targeted, low-yielding Spanish grape, making refreshing and concentrated white wines that sing with cured meats and fancy cheeses. This bottle has a slight grip that contrasts the wealthy, deep fruit. However that depth is lifted by simply sufficient acidity that brings in aromas of caramelized pears and honey.
South Africa is killing it with Chenin Blanc, however like Burgundy, we are able to’t overlook this grape’s unique dwelling within the Loire Valley of France. I really feel that generally, wines from Vouvray could be a bit complicated. This bottle is an effective start line. It has good depth and grip, with average acidity balancing the candy weight and wafting up aromas of honeyed fruit. Pairing this wine with goat cheese is a dream.
Gruner Veltliner shouldn’t be solely doing nicely in Oregon. It’s additionally pumping out liters and liters of scrumptious, on a regular basis wine from its dwelling, Austria. You could miss them, as they arrive within the type of Alsatian bottles — tall Riesling-like bottles with screw caps. However they’re right here, and they’re superior — generally ageing as much as 15 years and consuming nicely throughout. Tart fruit balanced by fizzy acidity with a depth of fruit, this wine will elevate within the palate like a spritz.
The grapes Roussanne (Rue-san) and Marsanne (Mar-san) from the Rhône area of France are a match made in heaven. Roussanne’s deeply fragrant, generally oxidized nature is of course complemented by Marsanne’s lean verve. These wines are so deep, large, expressive, and satisfying that you just’ve obtained to provide them an opportunity if you happen to haven’t already. This bottle reveals all of this — smelling like flowers and honey, with average acidity permitting simply sufficient weight to relaxation on the palate.