75 Great White Wines for Summer…All Under $25
“Though red wines and Champagnes tend to command the truly jaw-dropping prices, there are a hell of a lot of expensive whites out there. This can make it confusing to select one. You might feel tempted to think less pricey equals less good. Which can be true, but by no means always.
“If $25 seems like a high ceiling for “affordable,” I feel ya: It’s usually a splurge for me, in fact. But here’s the deal: We’re here to provide a wide range of wines for a wide range of situations, and the median price of the bottles on this list is about $15. It might help to bear in mind that a $25 bottle works out to $5 per serving. A $15 bottle is $3 per drink. So, some of these wines are for Regular Joe weeknight quaffing and others are more like “Just because I’m a writer doesn’t mean I want to show up at a party with the gift-that-keeps-on-giving that is Charles Shaw.”
“What goes into pricing wines? Sure, quality. But there are so many great under-$20 wines that you needn’t ever trouble yourself with Chateau d’Yquem. The cost of owning, farming and operating vineyards and wineries is different in different locations. Some grapes are way harder to handle than others (Pinot noir is widely regarded as the hardest grape to grow, hence if you find one under ten bucks it is almost certain to be plonk, but you’d be hard put to find such an evil-unicorn at all.) If a bottle costs $4, it is very likely “icky.” And it’s probably produced sloppily and with disregard for the environment (lookin’ at you, Two Buck Chuck!) Do you consider environmental degradation affordable? You probably shouldn’t.
“It also depends on the perception, or name recognition of a grape type or a region. Sicilian, South African and Portuguese wines are amazing but they don’t tend to command high prices because they aren’t trendy. A grape seldom heard of outside Austria can be revelatory, but it can’t be priced like Chardonnay and sell well in Napa Valley. With me? Spiffing. So, we’ve gone ahead and done a lot of very, very diligent research, because we’re selfless like that, and come up with a list of approachable white wines to see you through the warm season. We’ve tried to include a diverse spectrum of styles and types so there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a residual sugar lover or like your wines bonedry, whether you favor big, voluptuous, heavy-bodied wines or lithe, minimalist ones. Or, maybe your usual summer beverage is beer, or you are someone who only drinks reds and wants to branch out. Or maybe you are most interested in the wines on this list that cost ten bucks, but you would also like to know what’s a good value for the money in the world of $20 bottles in case of, like, an occasion. Whatever it is we’ve got you covered.
Arnaldo Caprai Grecante Grechetto (Umbria, Italy)
“Yum. More people should be drinking Grechetto. This one’s bright yellow with an olive-green tint, and has a lovely chalky minerality. Aromatics and flavors you will encounter include apricots, lime zest, stone, pineapple, peach, honeysuckle and Asian pear. It has a nearly mouth-puckering acidity that makes it incredibly refreshing on a hot day. Good aperitif. Food-wise, its soulmate might be Roman-style Carciofi alla Giuda. Pasta with buttery sauces are a good bet. I thought it was pretty smashing with a goat cheese soufflé. This wine can stand up to tomatoes, which some really cannot. Honestly it’s very versatile stuff and should be played with. Frequently…”
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