A Baker’s Dozen: $30 Chardonnay

Top bottlings for savvy holiday shoppers


It’s always a good time to be talking about Chardonnay, but never better than now. As we lead into the holidays many will be faced with making the daunting choice of bringing a bottle or two to dinner. It’s a perilous responsibility fraught with potential for disaster, but it doesn’t have to be.
When in this position stop trying to be the hero and play the numbers. The numbers say that Chardonnay continues to be the most popular white wine in the country. It’s usually pretty food friendly after all, particularly with the buttery turkey that is looming in our future. While I prefer to pair wine with the stuffing and accoutrements that surround the bird, when you are an invitee you often are walking into dinner blind, so pairing the wine with the bird is a safe and wise route to take. Picking one that most people seem to enjoy makes the choice so safe it’s bordering on bland, but this isn’t about you now is it?
And finally, while you don’t have to spend about $30 to get a fine bottle of Chardonnay, this is roughly the price where you start getting great bottles of Chardonnay, or most any wine for that matter. There just isn’t that much difference between $30 and $50 bottles of wine so if you find a great $30 bottle of wine, enjoy it for what it offers and recognize it as the great value that it is. And of course share it with friends and family this holiday season. So without further ado, $30 Chardonnays worthy of your attention this holiday season.

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Top 6 Chardonnay Tasted 10/13

Eyrie Chardonnay (2011)
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Frank Family Vineyards Chardonnay Napa Carneros (2012)
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Chappellet Chardonnay "Estate" (2011)
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Mauritson Wines Chardonnay Alexander Valley (2012)
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Elyse Chardonnay (2011)
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Schug Chardonnay Carneros (2012)
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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: DM94523
    77883 116

    Wine industry icon Jean-Charles Boisset makes some fantastic Chardonnay under his JCB Wines label. I recommend the 2010 vintage of JCB #81 ($28)! Get it here:

    Nov 19, 2013 at 7:49 PM

  • Snooth User: Scorpio
    1356846 15

    Explain to me because I am not that knowledgeable what wines red and white have more of a sweet flavor. I prefer the reds, like sweet blackberry etc.

    Nov 21, 2013 at 10:35 AM

  • Snooth User: VanTilrl1
    555186 47

    Very very disappointed that there aren't French wines on this list. Where are the classics from?

    Nov 23, 2013 at 9:27 PM

  • Snooth User: ChefJune
    359212 33

    You left out the very lovely 2012 Sonoma Cutrer Russian River Ranches @ $27 (but only from the winery).

    Nov 25, 2013 at 11:35 AM

  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 8,994

    Scorpio, in the United States, anything labeled "Late Harvest" (either red or white) is going to be sweet.

    If you live in the U.S. south, look for Muscadine wine. Muscadine is an indigenous grape variety that is made into both red and white wines--there's probably a rose out there, also. This will be confusing, but my understanding is that some wineries make dry versions of Muscadine. So, I guess you have to experiment. I live in the west and had never seen Muscadine on store shelves, but I was in North Carolina this weekend and had nice examples of red and white.

    I've never had it, but I'm pretty sure that Moscato, which seems to be on every store shelf these days, is sweet.

    Nov 26, 2013 at 4:28 PM

  • What about Rombauer or the Mersolie Reserve?

    Nov 26, 2013 at 9:21 PM

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