Everyone likes a good deal, even wine professionals and sommeliers who spend their days pouring pricey bottles. But finding affordable wine doesn’t have to mean settling for something out of a box or off the shelf at a corner store. Whether you’re looking for something that pairs well with pajamas, popcorn, and reality TV, or you’re just looking to save a little cash, there are plenty of options out there.
That’s why we asked sommeliers to recommend the bottles they think are a solid bargain. Many of their choices are under $20, and some bottles are a bargain in terms of what’s inside them. So if you’re stocking up on easy-drinking weeknight bottles or crawling out of a white-wine rut, here’s the place to start.
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
Wines from Portugal’s Minho region
Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie Les Gras Moutons
Wines from Italy’s Marche and Abruzzo regions
Victor Sornin Beaujolias Blanc
2022 Savatiano by Domaine Papagiannakos
Skouras Almyra Chardonnay 2022
Poema Brut Cava
Whites from Italy’s Soave region
Broadbent Vinho Verde
Anne De K Pinot Blanc
Melon de Bourgogne from Muscadet
Boutari Kretikos 2022
“Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. It’s an exuberant wine brimming with flavors of pineapple and fruits, a hint of herbaceousness on the palate, and a fresh and zesty finish. Pair with chicken, shellfish and grilled vegetables.” —Andy Duong, food and beverage director, Revere Hotel, Boston
“For the best bargain wine, check out Vinho Verde. Very inexpensive, but clean-drinking.” —Bob Jarvis, owner, Bucatino, Falmouth, Mass.
“The aromatic varietal Moschofilero from the Peloponnese region of Greece routinely over-delivers on quality with its fresh profile, zippy acidity, and floral structure. It can easily satisfy Sancerre drinkers looking for a dry wine with a lively nose and some herbal qualities.” —Thomas Mahne, manager, The Lexington, Boston
“Look to the Minho or Vinho Verde region in Portugal for great bargain whites. This region is in the northernmost part of Portugal, just south of Galicia, where you can find mouthwatering, crisp, and zippy whites like Alvarinho from the tiny area of Monção and Melgaço.” —Melissa Romanos, general manager, Atlántico, Boston
“Assyrtiko is Greece’s most famous white wine. It is originally from Santorini, and those wines have soared in price in recent years. There are, however, producers on the mainland of Greece that are growing Assyrtiko and making wines out of it that present a tremendous value. Domaine Skouras Wild Ferment Assyrtiko ($60) is fantastic, with lots of wet stone and lemon pith on the nose. The palate is acid-driven, which is typical for the variety. Also, Domaine Zafeirakis Assyrtiko ($67) is outstanding and offers a little fuller expression of Assyrtiko — still citrussy and acid-driven, but with a more rounded palate and a beautiful honeyed quality to the nose.” —Amber Pike, lead sommelier, Andros Taverna, Chicago
“Domaine de la Pépière, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Les Gras Moutons. It retails for just over $20 and is simply delicious. Quality Muscadet from a producer like La Pépière also ages wonderfully. I opened a bottle of 2005 for the holidays and it was excellent with oysters. A less expensive alternative to Champagne!” —Edouard Bourgeois, wine director, Pressoir, New York City
“The white wines of the Marche and Abruzzo regions of Italy provide some of the best bargains for whites. Most of the whites are under $25 retail. Producers like Tiberio and Ciavolich from Abruzzo produce spectacular Pecorino and Trebbiano. Sartarelli from the Marche makes some of the most complex and layered Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico wines in their range.” —Daniel Bishop, wine and beverage director, Fiola Miami, Miami
“My favorite bottle of white under $20 is Victor Sornin Beaujolias Blanc, a versatile patio pounder masquerading as more sophisticated soft, oakless but nutty, baby Burgundy from organically grown grapes. French Chardonnay — we love her. 100 percent chardonnay from 10-year-old vines near Regnie.” —Julian Hagood, executive chef and co-owner, Harry’s Fine Foods, Seattle
“2022 Savatiano old vines by Domaine Papagiannakos from Markopoulo in Attiki, Greece. This forgotten old grape variety was revived in the last few years and it’s showing amazing character that reflects the terroir where it is thriving. West of Athens these ancient vineyards are approximate to the sea and see ample amounts of sunshine. You can feel it in your glass. It’s precise, clean, focused, crisp and fresh with aromas of citrus and herbal notes with good lingering flavors of lemon-lime and grapefruit and a touch of minerality.” —Kamal Kouiri, wine director and general manager, Molyvos, NYC
“Skouras Almyra Chardonnay 2022. George Skouras’ experience in Dijon shows in the Almyra bottle. Everything you can expect from a Chardonnay, ripe nectarines and tropical fruit, and creamy beautiful texture, with balanced acidity.” —Jordi Paronella, wine director, Jose Andrés Group, Washington, D.C.
“Similar to various sparkling wines worldwide, Poema Brut Cava is crafted using the traditional method, often referred to as the ‘Champagne method.’ This classic Cava showcases notes of citrus, minerals, green apple, and a subtle hint of brioche, giving you all of the same characteristics of a good Champagne without denting your piggy bank.” —Keith Foreman, director of restaurants and bars, InterContinental San Diego, San Diego
“Generally, the best value for wine can be found in grapes and regions that are lesser known to the U.S. market. For crisp and refreshing white wine, I recommend exploring wine from the region of Soave in Italy, where the primary grape is Garganega.” —Tia Polite, sommelier, Indienne, Chicago
“I’ll take a bottle of Broadbent Vinho Verde every day of the week. It will run you $10 to $12 in most retail stores and is an absolute crusher.” —Ryan Puckett, area beverage director, Holston House, Nashville
“Anne De K Pinot Blanc, an Alsatian white wine, is a beautifully structured and bargain-friendly option. Notes of stewed apple and lemon curd are complemented with a crisp acidity and refreshing mineral finish.” —Aspen Hoover, floor sommelier, Harris’ Restaurant, San Francisco
“Melon de Bourgogne from Muscadet has always been my go-to for affordable, quality-driven white wine. They can tend towards lean and citrus-y styles or rounder and saltier versions. Either way, they’re always delicious. And if you’re able to find a bottle with some age on it, you won’t be disappointed!” —Kelly Coughlin, beverage manager, Frankies Nashville, Nashville
“I like Boutari Kretikos 2022 from Crete in Greece. It has a brilliant yellow-white color and intense aroma of white flowers and fruits like peach, apricot, pineapple, and mango. It’s a balanced, unoaked wine made from the Vilana grape. Vilana is a straightforward, thirst-quenching white wine indigenous to Crete. It’s soft, appealing, easy to drink, and comparable to Pinot Grigio but with a more intense aroma and flavor.” —Susanne Wagner, wine director, Crystal Springs Resort, Hamburg, N.J.
“My personal go-to for bargain white wines that lean towards affordable and party-pleasers is Grüner Veltliner, a bright, mineral-driven, almost green-toned wine coming traditionally from Austria. Prices vary from $10 to $20, though sometimes can be more. These wines are perfect for the classic Sauvignon Blanc drinker [but are still] fun and different.” —Gabriel Maldonado, general manager, The Wesley, NYC
*Image retrieved from Thomas Martinsen via Unsplash.com
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