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What are the best California Chardonnays under $10?

Updated on July 13, 2007

I am a big believer in the $10 bottle of wine. There are plenty of decent-quality wines out there that you can enjoy without paying a bundle. Now, prices will vary slightly around the country (for example, I live in New York where a bottle of wine will cost more than in other parts of the country), but all of these California Chardonnays should be in the $10 or less range wherever you happen to live.

Crane Lake Chardonnay

This is a very light, fruity wine. Hints of apple, cinnamon, pear, and vanilla make this a great wine for sipping. It's slightly creamy with light tannins. It's not complex, but a great value.

Clos du Bois Chardonnay

This is a medium-bodied wine that tastes of pear, crisp green apple, vanilla and caramel. It's buttery, but the oak isn't overwhelming. Classic California Chardonnay here.

Meridian Chardonnay

This a crisp, clean wine which kind of leans toward Sauvignon Blanc with its tropical fruit and grapefruit notes.

Bogle Vineyards Chardonnay

Bogle is an interesting Chardonnay because although it has some of those tropical fruit notes, there's also the creaminess you get from oak barrel fermentation. There's a bit of butterscotch, too. Yummy!

Cartlidge & Brown

This wine is similar to the Bogle with the hints of citrus and tropical fruit, which are kicked up by the oak which adds a bit of spice and creaminess at the same time. Full-bodied, smooth, and a great wine to serve with dinner.

Forest Glen Chardonnay

The Forest Glen is a bit more akin to the Crane Lake in terms of the flavor profile. You'll think of apples when you sip this, and the light oak adds hints of vanilla and smoke while giving the wine a creamy mouthfeel.

These are just a few "best buy" California Chardonnays that I personally like. The best way to find out what you like is by buying a couple bottles and trying them for yourself. And when you're done, go back to the wine shop and tell the owner what you liked and what you didn't like about the wines. Be as descriptive as you can (don't be afraid to say something tastes like tires or smells like stinky cheese -- a reputable wine clerk will understand what you mean - at a recent tasting I sniffed a white wine that reminded me of Windex)!

Have fun and be sure to give me your reccomendations as well!

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      Tim 6 years ago

      Clos du Bois? you have to be kidding. It smells good. Tastes good for about 10 milliseconds then disappears. Oaked sports drink in my opinion.

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      Den 8 years ago

      Banrock Station 2007 Chardonnay

      Soft peach, pineapple and citrus aromas. A full palate is characterised by ripe tropical fruit flavours of peach, melon and pear, coupled with subtle hints of oak. A clean and crisp finish balances this easy drinking style of wine.

      A steal for $5 at southern California Walmart.

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      Kim 8 years ago

      I like Meridian Chardonnay and Clos du Bois, too. Another nice one is Hess. I agree they are great for the price. I recently am drinking Barefoot Chardonnay which is a bargain for $6.99 a bottle and enjoy it very much for the price. It's a little lighter than Meridian or Hess, but not bad, especially in the summer. I used to swear by Kendall-Jackson, but I'm not enjoying the heavy oak flavor as much any more. Meridian and Hess are much better than KJ for less money.

    • Ms._Info profile image

      Ms._Info 9 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks for the list. I'm always on the hunt for good inexpensive wines. I live in Nj so wine tends to be pricey over here as well. Have you tried any of the Livingston wines. They're pretyy good and inexpensive as well.