Top Chardonnay Under $15

Get the best possible bang for your buck with these value Chardonnays


Chardonnay is the world’s most popular white wine, yet finding good value Chardonnay is often a real challenge. For whatever reason, perhaps its popularity, Chardonnay tends to be more expensive than other comparable wines and inexpensive Chardonnay has a tendency to be dreadful stuff. Perhaps I overstate my case there a bit, but the truth is that there is nothing I dread more, or have dreaded more throughout my professional career in wine, than the days I have to taste inexpensive Chardonnay.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are delightful examples out there that are well priced and the quality of all these wines is moving in the right direction. Where cheap Chardonnay used to smell and taste of tin cans and tuna fish, today you might find green olive juice instead! Hey, at least it’s a fruit instead of Chicken of the Sea.

So, every so often I brace for the worst and start popping bottles. Basically, your choices for inexpensive Chardonnay are limited to sweet, soft wines that are easy to drink but taste an awful lot like some fruit juice concoction. The new genre of unoaked Chardonnay saves vintners money as opposed to using expensive barrels instead. It also saves their wines from the barrel “alternatives” (which are what make many of the other wines taste like concoctions). Finally there are some simple, fresh and attractive wines out there, the trick is finding them!

Photo courtesy of prayitno via Flickr/cc
That’s where I come in. You may not have a palate that aligns well with mine, but at least you’ll be able to find the style of wine you’re interested in, whether it’s something fresh and delightful, or richer and sweeter. This doesn’t necessarily appeal to my palate, but I can see the appeal of the style. With that, I leave you with my top picks for Chardonnay under $15.


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Top 5 Chardonnay Under $15

France Beaujolais Brouilly Château de Nervers Duboeuf (2011)
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Carmel Road Pinot Noir Arroyo Seco (2011)
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Apaltagua Reserva Chardonnay Unoaked Chardonnay Chile (2011)
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Valley of the Moon Unoaked Chardonnay (2010)
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Louis Jadot Chardonnay Meursault-Blagny Premier Cru (2011)
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  • Have you done 5 Chardonneys that are "oakley"?

    Jul 24, 2012 at 1:39 PM

  • Yes, I like traditional oaky, buttery chards...can you rate some of these please?

    Jul 24, 2012 at 2:27 PM

  • Besides, La Crema, Rodney Strong and Chateau St. Jean come to mind if you like buttery Chards...

    Jul 24, 2012 at 3:31 PM

  • Snooth User: giavida
    688492 21

    I agree with the above two people....some reviews for oaky Chards please!

    Jul 24, 2012 at 3:33 PM

  • Snooth User: Alfamail
    871758 1

    You HAVE to add Cupcake, just an outstanding value, and consistently delish! Add Artessa to the Buttery list too!

    Jul 24, 2012 at 4:27 PM

  • Snooth User: jbirdawg
    710359 18

    Frei Brothers Russian River has been one of my wife's favorites under $15 for quite some time. She drinks more Chard than me. I like it as well. Rodney Strong Chalk Hill has it's good years too. Chateau St. Jean is another one that gets repeated purchases. La Crema is good but isn't it over $15?

    Jul 24, 2012 at 5:12 PM

  • Snooth User: Sandy S
    36420 14

    Bogle, Turning Leaf were my first oakey Chards. I've since discovered Bogle, Dancing Bull, Estancia, Ménage à Trois & Cedar Brook. All around the $10 range.

    Jul 24, 2012 at 5:25 PM

  • Yes Le Crema is $22....We feel one of the best oaked chardonnays is Kendall Jackson Reserve at $13. Toasted Head is also an excellent Chardonnay.

    Jul 24, 2012 at 6:17 PM

  • Snooth User: dietsf
    821670 27

    I enjoy many of the wines mentioned also,but must add Chateau Ste. Michelle from the Columbia Valley. Apple and citrus with a smooth finish, lovely.

    Jul 24, 2012 at 7:26 PM

  • Snooth User: kebohs
    347125 19

    chalone Vineyards makes a crisp Chardonay that I just love for the summer. It us from Monterey,ca. I also love le Bourcier Macon Chardonay from France.
    Both are under very reasonably priced.

    Jul 24, 2012 at 7:40 PM

  • Wow, a bunch of people like us who enjoy good wine that doesnt cost $40. I'm reading this more often. Thanks for the tips. I have a new shopping list!

    Jul 24, 2012 at 10:02 PM

  • Snooth User: Bonge
    602350 18

    Chardonnay is aged in oak. If you do not like the oak, drink a Chenin Blanc.

    Jul 24, 2012 at 11:42 PM

  • Try these buttery Chard's. Jax Y3, Novelty Hill, Talbott Logan Chardonnay. All should be right at the 20 price point.

    Jul 25, 2012 at 1:09 PM

  • Snooth User: botlvr
    290762 6

    Oaky buttery Chard Rombauer in NAPA Valley. The best. Our last trip to Napa I asked for Oaky Buttery and every winery said so to Rombauer. I agree with Bonge.

    Love this site

    Jul 25, 2012 at 8:28 PM

  • Snooth User: C Rita 44
    808345 9

    I recently tried a sweet chardonnay that was pretty good by Gallo belive it or not.

    Jul 26, 2012 at 11:41 AM

  • I really like this type of wine, espesially with creamy cakes.

    Aug 01, 2012 at 9:57 AM

  • Snooth User: hhdw196
    1141540 18

    One of the best buttery Chards out there is Camelot. Under $10

    Sep 22, 2012 at 5:21 PM

  • Snooth User: coltspam
    1327708 34

    very well

    Aug 02, 2013 at 11:55 PM

  • nice

    Aug 30, 2013 at 2:47 AM

  • good

    Aug 31, 2013 at 4:52 AM

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