Whether you are setting up for a barbecue, loading up for a picnic or just thinking about easy sipping on a summer day, the array of different style white wines at reasonable prices continues to grow. The following were selected from several hundred tasted in the past few months and are listed from lowest to highest price. Cheers!
Party, picnic Chardonnay for the masses: Sterling 10 Central Coast $6. Light varietal nose; decent fruit; quaffable.
Fruity $10 Monterey Chardonnay 10 “Ranch 32”. Tropical, toasty nose; mid body, soft acids. w/appetizers, munchies.
Picnic/appetizer Chardonnay 10 Artesa Carneros $13. Light toasty nose; soft, fat, low acids, a little short. Easy sipping.
Food friendly Chardonnay 09 Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve $13. Tropical, light oak nose; mid-body/soft finish. Good w/fish, chicken.
Fish friendly Russian River Valley Chardonnay 10 William Knuttel $15. Topical woody nose, vanilla; fat, round, soft acids; fruity finish.
Rich Napa Chardonnay 10 Frank Family $25. Oaky, tropical nose; big, round, ripe, long fruity finish. w/scallops, shellfish.
Buttery Russian River Valley Chardonnay 09 Gary Farrell $30. Tropical vanilla nose; mid-body, round, but semi-crisp finish. w/swordfish .
Oaky tropical Chardonnay 10 Ferrari-Carano Tre Terre $36. Vanilla, stone fruit nose; round, ripe, buttery finish. w/scampi.
Chardonnay Cellar Classics
Elegant Napa Chardonnay 09 Stony Hill $36. Varietal nose, light oak, minerals; mid-body, crisp, balanced, long finish. Fine food wine.
Rich Montrachet-like Sonoma Chardonnay 08 Hanzell $50. Vanilla, buttery nose; mid-big body, highly viscous; long tasty finish. w/halibut.
BBQ/picnic Sauvignon Blanc 09 Morro Bay Calif. Split Oak Estates “Sur Lie” $11. New mown hay/lemon nose; mid-body, round, good fruit extract; long finish.
Consistent Stellenbosch Sauvignon Blanc 10 Warwick Professor Black $12. Steely, Sancerre-like nose; mid-body; fine finish. w/clams .
Reliable Fume 09 Mondavi Napa $13. Ripe Sauvignon Blanc nose, nutty; round, mid-body, semi-fat finish. w/scallops, seafood pasta.
Crisp Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 11 Kim Crawford $13. Consistent style each year. Citrus, herbaceous nose; good acids, fruity finish. w/shellfish.
Fruity Bordeaux Blanc 11 Lafite Reserve Speciale $14. Stone fruit nose (60% Semillon, 40 SauvBl), some SB; soft, balanced. w/munchies.
Clams/cockles wine Ferrari-Carano 11 Fume Blanc $15. Calif. Sauv Bl nose, weedy new mown hay; mid-body, semi-crisp; good finish.
Big Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 10 Goldwater $16. Intense citrus/herbaceous nose; mid body; good structure, fruit, finish. w/shellfish .
Summer sipping wine Zaca Mesa 09 Viognier $10. Peach fuzz nose; fat, fruity, soft, drinkable. w/munchies, picnics.
Fruity South African Chenin Blanc ’10 Mulderbosch $14. Stone fruit, citrus nose; mid-body; semi-crisp, good fruit/finish. w/cheeses, apps.
Fruity 7-grape white wine blend Ferrari-Carano 11 Bella Luce $16. Stone fruit, spice, flowery nose; mid-body, semi-crisp finish. w/apps .
Anderson Family Vineyards 09 Pinot Gris, Dundee Hills, Ore., $20. Mid-green gold; apricot, spice nose; mid-body to soft; long fruity finish. w/caprese.