Mailbag Monday: $40 White Wine Suggestions?

Hi Alleigh—
Do you have recommendations for white wine in the $40 range?

And thanks for asking!  As I look back through my blog posts, there is definitely a lack of reviews for whites in the price range.  I think that’s because, honestly, there are fabulous white wine in the $30 range, and if I’m going to go up another $10, I rather spend that extra money on a red wine where the higher price is more likely to make a difference.

That said, let’s talk whites in the $30-$40 range.  You didn’t mention what type of white you were looking for or what food you were pairing it with, and those questions can definitely make a difference.  Therefore, here are a couple of all-around options that are both easy to drink and fairly food-friendly.

If you’re looking for a Chardonnay, you can’t go wrong with Cakebread Cellars.  Their Chardonnay is aged in French oak and has malolactic fermentation, so there is some butteriness and a slightly heavier mouth feel, but the wine isn’t the “oak monster” that you find in some California Chardonnays.  My experiences with Cakebread Chardonnay is that it’s reliably good, always a crowd-pleaser, and often a name that people recognize and gravitate towards.  The Cakebread Chardonnay will probably cost somewhere between $35-$42.

On the Sauvignon Blanc front, the Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is a good choice.  It’s one of the more expensive New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, but it also has more complexity than most of the others.  It’s a light, crisp wine with the green pepper notes that you would expect from a New Zealand SB, but it also has some lime zest and peach characteristics.  The Cloudy Bay will likely cost somewhere between $28-$32.

If you’re willing to buy a wine that isn’t Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, I would recommend going with the Laurenz V Charming, which is a Gruner Veltliner from Austria.  The wine has beautiful fruit characteristics, is very food friendly, with a nice amount of acid, which keeps it very fresh tasting and makes it very easy to drink.  It also offers something a little different, with a nice combination of fruit and spice charactieristics.  The website describes the wines as “the floral perfume of a German Riesling, the refreshing zip of a Loire Sauvignon Blanc, and the lusciousness of a Northern Italian Pinot Grigio,” and I think that’s the perfect description.  This Gruner should cost between $28-$34.

So, I know these whites don’t quite go into the $40+ price range, but I think that you’ll be very happy with them.

Question of the Day: Do you have a favorite special occasion white wine or a white in the $40+ range that you buy for the occasional splurge?


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