20 Fabulous White Wines Under $20

We reviewed a number of white wines a while back (see the Summer Collection post), and have recently added a few more to the selections – and taken a few off.   It’s not that the wines have gone down in quality, but that certain wines can be stand-alone drinks in the summer months, while other wines are all-year round, food friendly wines.  Like all of our selections, we have had at least one glass of each wine, and typically we have more than 6 knowledgeable people tasting the wine.  We would like your feedback on any of the choices, and most certainly let us know if you have wines that should get on our list. With the white wine selections, we try to find bottles which should be easy to get at your local store, or on line: ————————————————————

#20:  zero one: 2011 riesling

American wine from Columbia Valley, Washington State. Averaging $14. ————————————————————

#19:  joel gott: 2011 unoaked chardonnay

American wine from the Monterey region of California.  Averaging for $16. ————————————————————

#18:  Fantinel: 2010 friulano collio vigneti sant’helena

Italian wine from the Friuli/Venezia-Giulia region made from the Sauvignonasse grape.  Averaging for $20. ————————————————————

#17:  Spy valley: 2011 sauvignon blanc

New Zealand wine from the Marlborough region.  Averaging for $19. ————————————————————

#16:  andelsheim: 2010 pinot gris

US wine from Willamette Valley of Oregon, made from the pinot gris grape.  Averaging for $18. ————————————————————

#15:  simonnet-febvre: 2010 chablis

French wine from the Burgundy region made from chardonnay.  Averaging for $18. ————————————————————

#14:  la zerba: 2010 gavi

Italian wine from the Piedmont region made from the Cortese grape.  Averaging for $17. ————————————————————

#13:  tora bay: 2011 sauvignon blanc single vineyard

New Zealand wine from the Marlborough region.  Averaging for $15. ————————————————————

#12:  lusco do mino: 2011 albarino rias baixas zios

Spanish wine from the Miño River district of Condado do Tea made from the Albarino grape.  Averaging for $15. ————————————————————

#11:  Domaine d’orfeuilles: 2010 vouvray

French wine from the Loire Valley made from the Chenin Blanc grape.  Averaging for $19. ————————————————————

#10:  Waitsburg cellars: 2012 chenin blanc

American wine from Columbia Valley, Washington State. Averaging $17 ————————————————————

#9:  Robert anselmi: 2010 veneto white

Italian wine from the San Vincenzo region made from the Garganega grape.  Averaging for $13. ————————————————————

#8:  Alvarez de toledo: 2011 bierzo godello

Spanish wine from the Bierzo region made from the godello grape.  Averaging for $11. ————————————————————

#7:  Pewsey Vale: 2011 reisling

Australian wine from Eden Valley. Averaging $18. ————————————————————

#6:  Hermann MOser: 2010 GrÜner Veltliner

Italian wine from the Veneto/Lombardy region made from the Trebbiano.  Averaging for $16. ————————————————————

#5:  Laurent Kraft: 2010 Vouvray

French wine from the Loire Valley made from the Chenin Blanc grape.  Averaging for $18. ————————————————————

#4:  Dashwood: 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand wine from the Marlborough region.  Averaging for $18. ————————————————————

#3:  Dog point: 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand wine from the Marlborough region.  Averaging for $17. ————————————————————

#2:  Antonio Sanguineti: 2011 Vermentino

Italian wine from the Tuscany region made from the Vermentino grape.  Averaging for $14. ————————————————————

#1:  San Benedatto: 2011 Lugana

Italian wine from the Veneto/Lombardy region made from the Trebbiano grape.  Averaging for $16. ———————————————————— We’re ranking our top 10, starting with our personal favorites, but they all would get between 85-90 on the typical 100 point scale.  Here’s the detail: 1. We must start with Lugana from San Benedetto (2011), which we recently reviewed.  It is pale lemon-green in color, and has wonderful notes of peach, citrus, a Lugana-San-Benedettohint of honey, and herbs, which are beautifully accompanied by a crisp acidity and supple body on the palate.  At $15, stock up on this one if you find it.  A second choice for Lugana that we recently tasted was from the Provenza estate, running at about $20. 2. We have been tasting many vermintino wines from both Sardinia (the native land of this grape) and Tuscany. The palate is rich, slightly sweet, with pineapples, Sanguinetiapricots, and sweet pear flavors.  It has a nice finish, with some aromatic spice and a bit of green pepper with the Sardinian versions. Our favorite vermintino is Vitianofrom Antonio Sanguineti (Tuscany), which is about $13.  It is from a small producer, so it might be a bit harder to find.   You can also try Costamolino (Sardinia), Colle Solato (a Grechetto/Vermentino combination from Umbria), Poggioargentiera (Maremma region of Tuscany), and Poggio al Tesoro Solosole (Bolgheri region of Tuscany).  We also recently had a very good bottle of Vitiano from Umbria, which is a blend of verdicchio and vermintino – at $10, this was an outstanding bargain. 3.  The NZ sauvignon blanc wines tend towards flavors of grapefruit, pineapple, and exotic fruits (papaya, mango, star fruit, etc.).  However, a number of producers have been moving towards a more austere version, similar to Sancerre.  In our estimation, this is a mistake – its the exotic flavors that make the New Zealand wines very distinctive.  You’ll always be able to find Kim Crawford, which is very consistent.  But our favorite is Dog Point, with its lemon/lime tones, exotic melon after taste, and bright acidity  that wins the day.  It is a bit more expensive – about $19 – but worth the price.  A fantastic food wine. 4. Staying in New Zealand, we have to mention another note-worthy sauvignon blanc from Dashwood.  This wine can typically be found for $18, and is light-bodied, with vivid passion fruit, lime and fresh herb and cut grass notes.  It is also a great food wine. 5. Laurent Kraft Vouvray from Loire Valley France – $18. This is tightly focused, but also a fun wine, offering ginger, persimmon, quinine and chamomile notes to lead the way, followed by pear and green fig flavors. Long, mineral-edged finish.  For another fun Vouvray, you can also try Domaine D’Orfeuilles – $19. 6. The grüner veltliners tend to be hard to find, but they are really fun wines, so try one if you see it.  Our all-time favorite, based on flavor and price, is Hermann Moser Grüner Veltliner.  This is a very lush white, with plenty of dried apricot overtones moving to fresh-cut apple and pear flavors, followed by mineral notes on the juicy finish. 7. We have to have a reisling on the list – many sommeliers call reisling the “universal” food wine.  We’ve used it with spicy Chinese food, Mexican food, and Indian food.  We like some American versions, as well as some of the New Zealand versions that are now appearing in the US.  The best we have found at a low price point is Pewsey Vale from Australian at $18 a bottle.  It is a vibrant, bracing and compelling wine that fools the palate with a bit of sweet, but is actually lower in sugar than the German versions. This white tastes from pear, pineapple and lime flavors and has a very persistent, impressively finish. 8. We came across the Alvarez de Toledo Bierzo Godello at a restaurant in Wilmington, DE.  We were able to source this wine for $11, so we quickly put it on our bargain list.  It has a fruity, honey and herbal aroma, and tastes from melon, nectarine, and honey.  It is smooth, light, and has good acidity to work with fried seafood.

9. Roberto Anselmi Veneto White San Vincenzo– Roberto Anselmi is one of the best Italian white wine producers – he keeps his yields low, and makes his wines with pain-staking detail.  Roberto Anselmi Veneto White10.Waitsburg Cellars Chenin Blanc – We did cheat a bit on this selection – we looked at Wine Spectators list of value wines, and got intrigued with this one selection.  It was easily sourced from our local store, and it was as advertised – a crisp, light to medium body wine with a lot of character.  There is crisp acidity that matches a lot of foods, including some medium spiced Mexican food.  This wine has a nice lasting finish, and is well worth the price.

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