Favorite White Wines Under $30
I created this “mixed case” to share some of my favorite white wines, which I discovered while traveling. I wanted to be sure they were all affordable, so nothing is over $30, and the “case” averages around $20. For me, summertime whites are lighter-bodied, refreshing, crisp, and thirst-quenching. In some cases, I've included an alternative in case you have a hard time finding the one showcased, or an additional wine in other instances where I had a hard time choosing just one. I hope this will help you to try a different grape, a new region, or just a new to you wine.
#1. Spain, Rias Baixas, Albariño
While traveling through Spain, I fell in love with this indigenous grape mostly grown on the southwestern coast of Galicia in the region of Rias Baixas. These light-bodied wines are typically high in acidity, and with a subtle saltiness that screams summer thirst quencher. After making four trips to Spain, and trying several over the years, I'm recommending one by Raúl Pérez. He is a renowned Spanish winemaker credited as an intuitive winemaking genius and at the forefront of the “new Spanish wine” evolution.
"Atalier" Rias Baixas Albariño, $22
If you imagine yourself on a seaside cliff, taking in the salty-air freshness, you've got a good picture of the nose. This particular wine has a bit more body than many Albariños, and a decent layer of complexity, which is why I recommend it over others. It opens with ripe melon flavors, followed by a persistent minerality and finishes with a mouthwatering salinity that makes you want more.
My runner up Albariño can be easily found, and for under $15, its a steal. This wine screams tart citrus with a zesty freshness. Perfect summer sipper. Purchase
#2. Portugal, Vinho Verde, Alvarinho
Sticking with the same grape as my first selection but from Portugal. The Vinho Verde region runs along the same coastline as Galicia Spain so the two wines share some similar characteristics. Why I love those from Portugal is not because the wines are green as the name may suggest (the name actually refers to young wines) but because they make some with subtle carbonation or a bit of fizz. You'll find these dry wines to exhibit flavors of tropical fruit, stone fruits, citrus, green apple, honey and minerality. You are also going to find these wines at bargain prices.
Broadbent Vinho Verde, $9
This one I chose because it can be easily found, and at under $10, you can't go wrong for a summer party. It combines other white grapes from the region too; Loureiro, and Trajadura. On the nose it's like cutting into a fresh, crisp green apple, abundantly tart. The taste will combine lemon, lime, and grapefruit for a nice tangy-ness combined with a tongue tickling fizz. Purchase
You can easily explore the Vinho Verde wine region by day tripping from Porto or take a deep dive into Portugal’s largest region and explore the nine sub-regions. It is beautifully lush and green with a ton of medieval castles and history. The town of Guimarães is a great example, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and considered the birthplace of Portugal. Portugal Travel
How about some island wines...
#3. Italy, Sicily, Carricante
I was so impressed by the wines from Sicily and specifically Mt Etna and continue to promote their value. Most may think of red wine from this region, but I thoroughly enjoy the Carricante grape, an ancient white grape variety which originates on the island. In one word - salt! Lip smacking, Carricante wines can be unmistakably saline with high acidity. You’ll also find vibrant minerality, citrus, and herbs; making them distinct, complex, and refreshing.
Graci Etna Bianco, $26
I’ve been drinking Graci wines since visiting them and wanted to share their wine with you. This wine is a blend of 70% Carricante and 30% Cataratto, a light to medium-bodied wine which they ferment and age in cement. On the nose; white flowers, pear, white grapefruit, and lime zest. To taste; the citrus, lime, and pear follow into the wine along with racy acidity and minerality that lingers on the finish. This will go down way to easy!
Benanti Etna Bianco - my other alternative
This is another wine I drank all over the island, and I continue to enjoy today. It can be easily found for under $25. Tart citrus and lime mingle together with a mineral finish. Crisp, saline, and refreshing!
Sicily is a top destination for budget-friendly, extensive history, and great wine. And you can explore an active volcano!
#4. Italy, Sardinia, Vermentino
After exploring the island of Sardinia, I wanted to include a Vermentino from the only DOCG region. I’ll soon be sharing more on our wine travel finds.
Piero Mancini Vermentino di Gallura, $14
A refreshing summery white, this wine offers razor-sharp acidity and a refreshing backbone of minerality. Notes of lemon, wet stone, salty sea breeze, and surprising texture. The lively acidity will awaken your palate, and the saline sensation will make you want more!
Up next, cool climate whites…
#5. Austria, Kamptal, Grüner Veltliner
I didn’t know a great deal about Austrian wines until visiting Vienna, now one of my all-time favorite cities along with the wines. It was in one of the many wine bars that I fell hard for Grüner Veltliner. I came home that summer and drank nothing but, even finding an Austrian wine bar in NYC. Here’s what I enjoy; it’s dry and highly acidic, with a white pepper spicy note that adds something unique to flinty minerality. They range from light and citrusy to richer in style with honey and nuts.
Kurt Angerer Kies, $16
I picked this one because it came out on top in a recent blind tasting of Grüner Veltliners. The nose was surprisingly aromatic with green apple, pear and white fruits (none of which followed into the wine). It tasted of lemon zest and the classic white pepper, followed by a subtle minerality with brisk acidity on the long finish. Crisp and clean!
Laurenz V. Singing $14
our runner up wine in the blind tasting
This family has a long history with making only Grüner Veltliner, and this wine was a nice introduction to their lineup. Stoney, flint, and mineral on the nose were followed by pear, and white fruit in the mouth, along with white pepper spice, and a light fizzy element that made it very refreshing. I can’t wait to try more of their wines.
#6. France, Alsace, Riesling
No case of mine would be without a Riesling. Most Riesling lovers, if asked to pick one old-world region, may select one from Germany, but I’m drawn to Alsace. With the region being right on the border of Germany, the wines share some characteristics, but Alsace will lean toward dry, acidic, and display intense aromas of citrus fruits and steely mineral notes.
I picked Trimbach for so many reasons; they’ve been making wine for three centuries (12 generations), their Clos Sainte Hune Riesling is probably the most astounding wine I’ve ever tasted, and because they are bold enough to have a sign in their winery that says, "say no to oak, help put the fruit back in wine". This wine is their entry level, an excellent place to start for the price point, and then you’ll want to work your way through their wines.
Aromas of beeswax, petrol, and hints of green herbs (mostly rosemary). Crisp and fresh in the mouth, with very high but harmonious acidity, nicely shaping the citrus and lime zest flavors. Purchase
I urge you to put Alsace on your “must visit” list. I’d rank it number one for quaintness and the most surprising French wine region that doesn’t often take center stage. You will find the purest expressions of the four noble white grapes; Reisling, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer, and Muscat, but there is so much more to uncover. Alsace Wine Travel
#7. Italy, Alto Adige, Manzoni Bianco
There are so many outstanding white wines I could have selected from this region. However, Manzoni Bianco is a grape that you might not know but absolutely should become acquainted with, thus my reason for sharing and including in the case. The grape was created in Italy in the 1930s by crossing Riesling and Pinot Bianco; from Pinot Bianco, the wine gets its round, full body and plump fruit characteristics; from Riesling comes lifting acidity and a tendency towards minerality.
FÓRRA Manzoni Bianco, Alois Lageder, $28
This is one of my “suitcase” wines from Alois Lageder, a true pioneer of biodynamic principals in Italy (full story). They leave the grape juice in contact with the skins for ten days, which enhances the profile and makes the wine a golden color. The wine ages on the lees for nine months in large oak casks. The result is a wine layered with flavors that possesses a minerality I adore.
Intense aromas of baked pear and apricot fill your nose. The pear follows into the glass with a touch of spice. This is a rich and savory wine that retains a streak of minerality and a long finish. Nothing but goodness!
An alternative if you can’t find this one, located in Trentino (just South of Alto Adige). Elisabetta Foradori has been making wine her entire life and transitioned the winery to biodynamic practices. She also makes an outstanding Manzoni Bianco.
Surprising regions for white wines…
#8. Italy, Campania, Greco di Tufo
I really struggled to narrow down to just one white grape from Campania because there are so many I enjoy; Fiano, Falanghina, and Biancolella, to name a few. I picked this wine for two reasons; I find the Greco di Tufo grape to be fascinating and distinct and Mastroberadino is the historic winery of the region. Greco di Tufo is a DOCG named after the town of Tufo known for its sulfur mines. From a wine growing perspective, the soil is a soft, volcanic rock. This distinctive soil is thought to impart a particular minerality to the wine to give it its flavor profile. Greco wines tend to be a darker-gold color, richer in body and more tannic than most white grapes.
Mastroberardino Greco Di Tufo, $28
Aromas of white stone fruit (pears, peaches), and Mediterranean herbs. Tastes of apricot, poached pear, and slivered almond. This is a crisp wine with a good balance between acidity and minerality and slightly oily on the finish. For something distinctively different give Greco di Tufo a try and let me know your thoughts. Purchase
IMHO, Campania is the most underrated wine region in Italy, and I’d recommend moving it up on your Italy travel list. You will uncover exceptional whites and reds and the most stunning coastline in Italy (the Amalfi Coast). Visit the town of Tufo to really understand this grape and find the best expressions it has to offer. Campania Wine Travel
#9. Argentina, Mendoza, Sauvignon Blanc
I’m pretty sure when you think of Argentinian wine, white wines don’t come to mind. This tends to be the case for most warmer climate regions known for full-bodied reds. However, most of these regions can find one white grape varietal that will do well, and many cases that’s Sauvignon Blanc. I chose Argentina because you can find some good quality to price (along with Chile). I’m hoping my recommendations will lead you to think again about trying a white from South America.
Agostino Familia, $25
This is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The Semillion is aged in French and American oak barrels while the Sauvignon Blanc is done in steel tanks. Blending the two makes an elegant wine with layers of flavors. A medium-bodied wine with a nose of honeysuckle and waxy honeycomb notes combine with nutty vanilla. White fruits dominate; pear, peach, grapefruit with hints of jasmine and a touch of brioche. A creamy palate, balanced with acidity and a long smooth finish. This is a wine that will surprise and delight.
Pulenta Sauvignon Blanc, $17
My runner up only because it’s harder to find. Pulenta is one of my favorite wineries in Argentina. You’ll start your tour with a glass of this wine looking out over their vineyards with the Andes in the distance. That is just the beginning of a fantastic visit with exceptional wines you should try to find. This one is exceptionally aromatic bursting with citrus fruits while the taste is fresh and clean. They also make a Chardonnay and a Pinot Gris, but their reds will steal the show.
#9. Italy, Veneto, Soave
When you think of wines from the Veneto, the first wine that may spring to mind is Amarone, but Soave is a DOCG from the same region that you should discover. Soave is made mostly from the native grape Garganega. What’s important to look for when selecting a Soave wine is the indication that it is either Soave Classico or Soave Classico Superiore DOCG. These wines will have nice acidity and minerality to them. Some are aged in oak, adding extra richness and complexity and aging ability.
Pieropan Calvarino, $29
I selected Pieropan not only for the wonderful visit we had but because they are a legendary Soave producer. Calvarino is a single-vineyard bottling, in volcanic soil, with the traditional blend of 70% Garganega and 30% Trebbiano. The wine spent 15 months in concrete, which produces a light to medium-bodied, complex, and mineral-driven wine. White floral aromas with toasted almonds lead you into an elegant tasting wine with nice acidity. Mineral notes intermingle with apple, peach, and lemon zest layered with almond and honey with a finish which is long and intense. Purchase
Soave is a beautiful wine town to visit, showcasing the grapes and wines of the region. They introduce you to their native grape, Garganega, as you enter the gates of the city and the medieval Castello di Soave dominates the view while looming above the best vineyard sites in the DOCG area. Visit Veneto
Last but not least Chardonnay, the most planted white grape in the world...
#11. France, Burgundy, Chardonnay
White Burgundy, along with Chablis, are some of my favorite expressions of the Chardonnay grape. However, they can be challenging regions to try and find an excellent wine under $30. Having tried numerous ones, I’m recommending my favorite for quality to price (QPR).
Domaine Chavy-Chouet, Les Femelottes, $24
Chavy-Chouet farms with organic practices and is well established in the Côte de Beaune. Hubert Chavy had been selling in bulk to the top négociants for many years, but since his son Romaric took over, they are now bottling nearly all the grapes they produce. As one of the youngest winemakers in the region, I'd expect more greatness to come. This bottle has risen to my top choice for bargain white Burgundy (may even be better than many Puligny-Montrachets costing double).
This is a medium-bodied wine with a bright, crisp style. You’ll enjoy ripe apple and citrus flavors. The balance between minerality and acidity make for a clean and elegant wine. I don’t think you’ll find a better white Burgundy at this price point. Purchase
If you are okay with something just over the $30 price point, I’d recommend Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey.
And if you’re in this +30 price point and want to try something really unique from Burgundy, try an Aligoté. My favorite - Domaine de Villaine (outstanding).
#12. USA, Sonoma County, Chardonnay
I finish off the case with a bottle of wine from my now home state of California. I have to say there was a period when I found too many California Chardonnay’s over-powered by oak or fruit that was overripe, losing the sense of terroir and the grape characteristics. I heard there was a wave of producers trying to overcome this stigma, and so on my last trip to Sonoma, I was on a mission to find them. I’ve since changed my views, and I’m happy to share one of those exceptional finds.
MacRostie Wildcat Mountain, $29
First, let me say this is an outstanding winery to visit; you are greeted at the driveway with a glass of wine, followed by a wine tasting on the deck to take in some of the most spectacular views, and the staff is incredibly knowledgeable (we put them through the paces, peppering them with questions). With winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen at the helm, they make six Chardonnays, offering a wide range, so be sure to speak with your guide about the styles you’d like to try. This one is from the Sonoma Coast, a cool fog-shrouded mountaintop vineyard, and it was my favorite under $30.
Medium-bodied, round mouth-filling fullness. Aromas of orange blossoms, freshly baked croissant, and poached pear. The pear flows into the glass with hints of honey, balanced acidity, and a long finish with good minerality to complement. Round, vibrant, with equal parts salinity and minerality. Purchase