Most people love a good Chardonnay — it reigns as the most popular varietal of white wine, to the chagrin of some — and there are indeed some excellent bottles out there. But as any wine drinker knows, there are so many others to explore, from Sauvignon Blanc to Pinot Grigio to Chenin Blanc. These wines are just as complex and interesting as their red counterparts, and pair amazingly well with different types of food. White wine is generally best served between 45 and 55 degrees, which makes it a particularly good option during the summer months. White wine usually contains less tannins and alcohol than red, although this is obviously not always the case. We’ve put together a list of five excellent white wines to try now, encompassing different varietals from a range of geographical locations. We strongly recommend trying them all!
2021 Aperture Barrel-Fermented Chenin Blanc
Series. For the 2021 Chenin Blanc, the grapes are whole cluster pressed and then put into stainless steel tanks to ferment before being transferred to stainless steel barrels and a smaller number of French oak casks for a total of six months. According to assistant winemaker Hillary Sjolund, the result is a vibrant and bright wine that is strongly affected by the cool breezes coming off the San Francisco Bay at night. This is a lovely summer sipper, but can be enjoyed all year long and pairs well with a light pasta or grilled chicken dish.
Price: $35, Aperture-Cellars.com
FEL 2021 Anderson Valley Pinot Gris
The Anderson Valley vineyards in which the grapes are grown for this California Pinot Gris are close to the Pacific Ocean, bringing bright citrus flavors and a healthy dose of acidity, according to the winemaker. The wine was fermented in a large 900-gallon French oak oval tank and aged for five months sur lie, or in contact with the lees. This is an aromatic sipper, with notes of melon, quince, and pear, with a slightly chalky palate that also has citrus and tropical fruit notes. FEL is a relative newcomer to the wine world, having been founded in 2014 by Cliff Lede who named it after his mother, Florence Elsie Lede, a strong influence on his passion for wine.
Price: $32, Ledefamilywines.com
Tank Garage La Loba 2019 Carbonic White Wine
This wine, named after a wolf-woman character from the folklore of indigenous people from northern Mexico and the Southwest U.S., is also donating to a good cause. $1 from every bottle sold will go to the women’s rights organizations UN Women and Fos Feminista. The wine is a blend of 45% Chenin Blanc, 44% Petit Manseng, 10% Bianchetta Trevigiana, and 1% Orange Muscat, all sourced from El Dorado County outside of Sacramento. The winemaker notes describe an “electric acidity” to the wine, along with apricot, peach, and lemon. As per usual for Tank Garage, the label is interesting and evocative — in this case, the work of Argentinian artist Flora who created a tribute to her grandmother.
Price: $38, Tankgaragewinery.com
2019 Bouchaine Estate Chardonnay
This estate wine is made from grapes grown in vineyards on the Bouchaine property in the Carneros district of Napa Valley. According to the winemakers, the 2019 season was a “Goldilocks” vintage with just the right temperatures and rainfall. This estate bottling is a combination of a dozen different Chardonnay wines from different blocks, and it was aged for eight months in various stainless steel and French oak barrels. The palate is textured with notes of apple, citrus, and jasmine, with a finish that has notes of lemon curd. This is a Chardonnay to pair with food, like a roast or grilled meat.
Price: $36, Bouchaine.com
Bouchard Pere & Fils Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Blanc
This is a luxury French white wine to enjoy from the historic Bouchard Pere & Fils, one of the oldest estates in Burgundy. The story goes that the emperor Charlemagne enjoyed red wine from Le Corton, but some of the vineyards were ultimately planted with Chardonnay so that he could avoid staining his white beard. This unusual planting still makes Le Corton stand out today, with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes both growing there. This elegant wine spent 12 to 13 months in French oak in the cellars, and has notes of ripe fruit, some bright citrus, and a pleasant minerality on the palate. This is one you should consider holding onto for up to a decade, but if you are going to enjoy now consider pairing with seafood.
Price: $250, Vivino.com