10 Best Chardonnay Wines Under $20 (2022)

10 Best Chardonnay Wines Under $20 Featured

A Diverse Grape Variety

Chardonnay is hands-down one of the world’s most popular wine grapes and is made in a diverse range of styles, from bone-dry and unoaked to rich, aged extensively in oak. In fact, it is cultivated in pretty much every part of the world, from Chablis in France, where some of the crispiest and most complex Chardonnays can be found, to Australia and the United States.

What differentiates Chardonnay from the more aromatic grape varieties, such as Sauvignon Blanc, is the flavor intensity, the buttery texture, and the notes of warm spices. Most Chardonnays undergo malolactic fermentation and oak maturation to attain rich structure and a woody, toasted character. Chardonnay pairs divinely with seafood, halibut, and lobster.


Best Overall Best Value Best Under $15 Best Buttery Best Oaked Best Unoaked Best From California Best From Napa Valley Best From France Best From Italy
Bottle
Name Bogle Phantom Chardonnay Luigi Bosca Chardonnay Raeburn Chardonnay Bread & Butter Chardonnay Catena Chardonnay Balletto Vineyards Teresa’s Unoaked Chardonnay 1000 Stories Chardonnay The Hess Collection Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay Louis Latour Macon-Lugny Tenuta di Nozzole Chardonnay Toscana Le Bruniche
Color White White White White White White White White White White
Country United States Argentina United States United States Argentina United States United States United States France Italy
Grapes Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay Chardonnay
Taste Apricot, Pineapple, Honey, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Cedar, Cassis Cassis, Tree Bark, Charred Wood, Pear, Apple, Banana, Hazelnut, Grapefruit Grapefruit, Passion Fruit, Apricot, Toasted Oak, Caramel, Butterscotch, Cinnamon Spice Pineapple, Apricot, Passion Fruit, Flint, Wet Stone, Cinnamon Spice, Grapefruit Grapefruit, Apricot, Lemon Skin, Pear, White Flowers, Charred Wood Peach, Apricot, Grapefruit, Apple, Lavender, Lemon Skin, Banana, Butter Pineapple, Peach, Sweet Tobacco, Smoke, Honey, Brioche Bread Pineapple, Mango, Honey, Grapefruit, Pear, Jasmine White Peach, Clove, Smoke Peach, Apricot, Nectarine, Apple, Pear, Mango, Almond, Brioche Bread, Toasted Oak Apple, Pineapple, Honey, Banana, Peach, Clove, Vanilla Spice, Toasted Bread
Food Pairing Sea Bass, Mussels, Crab Cakes, Roast Chicken, Camembert Lightly Cooked Shellfish, Vegetable Terrines, Turkey, Sashimi Lobster Roll, Red Snapper, Grilled Calamari, Pappardelle Lobster, Brie Fried Chicken, Seafood, Halibut, Pan-seared Salmon, English Cheddar Fish Pâté, Roast Chicken, Chicken Makhani, Mussels, Spring Vegetables Grilled Halibut, Pumpkin Salad, Anchovies, Pizza, Sushi Roast Chicken, Barbequed Pork, Grilled Sea Bass, Mushroom Risotto Turbot, Grilled Chicken, Pan-seared Salmon, Caesar Salad, Vegetable Terrines Seafood, Lobster Cake, Over-baked Grilled Breast, Fried Zucchini, And Bleu Cheese Fried Chicken, Red Snapper, Shrimp, Crab, Camembert
Alcohol Content 14.5% 13.8% 14.5% 13.5% 13.5% 13.4% 14% 14.1% 13% 13%
Sugar Content Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry
Our Rating 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
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Depending on complexity, terroir, and vinification, it is not uncommon to find Chardonnay wines commanding high retail prices. However, due to the vast number of passionate winemakers, consumers can discover well-structured Chardonnays at approachable prices, too. To get the best bang for your buck, here are the best inexpensive Chardonnay examples:


Best Chardonnay Wines Under $20

Best Overall

  • Name — Bogle Phantom Chardonnay
  • Winery — Bogle
  • Country/Region — United States, California, Central Valley, Yolo County, Clarksburg
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Apple, Pear, Peach, Passion Fruit, Grapefruit, Charred Wood
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Apricot, Pineapple, Honey, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Cedar, Cassis
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Sea Bass, Mussels, Crab Cakes, Roast Chicken, Camembert
Overall Rating: 4.6

Positives
  • Vibrant Bouquet
  • Mouthwatering Palate
  • Long Finish
Negatives
  • Slightly Unbalanced

Tasting Notes

That is an enticing Chardonnay, with rich green fruit flavors on the nose that transform into spicy flavors in the mouth, as the barrel fermentation imparts a buttery mouthfeel. Bogle Phantom Chardonnay offers aromas of apple, pear, peach, and passion fruit on the bouquet, combined with a hint of grapefruit skin and suggestions of oak.

The palate shows jammy tastes of cinnamon and vanilla, finding notes of apricots, pineapples, and honey to deliver a mouthwatering result. Dynamic touches of cedar, cassis, and charred wood, drive into the long, pleasant finish, concluding the tasting profile.

Sourcing Grapes From the Best California Vineyards

Nestled in the Sacramento Delta, the Bogle family began producing wines commercially in 1968, when Warren and Chris Bogle planted their first 20 acres of grapevines in Clarksburg, California. Today, Bogle Vineyards work on over 1,000 acres of wine grapes in the Delta region and produce 100,000 wine cases. The winemaker is Christopher Smith, who sources fruit from some of the best vineyards of California.


Best Value

  • Name — Luigi Bosca Chardonnay
  • Winery — Luigi Bosca
  • Country/Region — Argentina, Mendoza, Vistalba
  • Type — Argentinian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Pineapple, Mango, Watermelon, Honey, Brioche Bread, Cinnamon Spice
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Cassis, Tree Bark, Charred Wood, Pear, Apple, Banana, Hazelnut, Grapefruit
  • Alcohol Content — 13.8%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Lightly Cooked Shellfish, Vegetable Terrines, Turkey, Sashimi
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • Fragrant Nose
  • Complex, Oak-influenced Mouth
  • Perfectly Balanced
Negatives
  • A Bit Unbalanced

Tasting Notes

Golden-yellow in color, the wine opens with aromas of tropicals, joined by notes of toasted bread, honey, and warm spices. Rich and dynamic on the palate, it stirs oaky sensations due to the aging in French oak casks. By far, this is the best value Chardonnay for under $20.

As soon as the bottle is uncorked, fragrances of pineapple, mango, and watermelon emerge, together with subtle notes of honey, toasted brioche bread, and warm spices. In the mouth, sweet sensations of charred wood, cassis, and tree bark dominate, deriving from the maturation in French oak. In addition, the tastes of pears and apples blend with banana, hazelnut, and grapefruit touches. The finish is moderate and sweet.

Producing Wine Since the 19th Century

Luigi Bosca was established in 1991, in Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza by Saturnino Arizu. In reality, the Arizu family had been producing wine since 1890 since Balbino Arizu, great-great-uncle of Saturnino Arizu, was already involved in the Argentine wine business. The first vineyards owned by the Arizu family had vines of European origin, with the winery forming in 1901. From that time on, they decided to commercialize their wine production. Today, they are considered some of the finest wine producers in Argentina and the Mendoza region.


Best Under $15

  • Name – Raeburn Chardonnay
  • Winery — Raeburn
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Honeysuckle, Orange Blossom, Apple, Peach, Nectarine, Jasmine
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Grapefruit, Passion Fruit, Apricot, Toasted Oak, Caramel, Butterscotch, Cinnamon Spice
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Lobster Roll, Red Snapper, Grilled Calamari, Pappardelle Lobster, Brie
Overall Rating: 4.5

Positives
  • Pronounced Aromas
  • Creamy On The Palate
  • Refreshing Acidity
Negatives
  • Acidity Can Be A Bit Overwhelming

Tasting Notes

Showing a complex array of fruit tones, such as apples, peaches, and nectarines, this Chardonnay has a palate of seamlessly blended toasted oak, cinnamon spice, butterscotch, and caramel. Definitely a very good Chardonnay under $20.

Aromas of honeysuckle and orange blossom emerge on the nose, synching with notes of apples, peaches, nectarines, and jasmine. Luscious and creamy, Raeburn Chardonnay has a complex mouth of grapefruit, passion fruit, and apricot flavors, mixed with bold touches of toasted oak, caramel, butterscotch, and cinnamon spice. Uplifting acidity offsets the creaminess, while the round texture finds harmony in the long and gratifying finish.

California Winemaking With a French Twist

Raeburn, translating into ‘the river where one goes to drink’ from Old English, represents the expressive, balanced wines that Raeburn produces in the core of the Russian River Valley. They’re some of the world’s best Burgundian varieties grow.

Raeburn was built as an egg storage facility, but it was converted to a small production winery by Sonoma County vintner Cecil DeLoach in 2000. Then, Derek Benham, a wine and spirits innovator, purchased the winery in 2005 and continued the trend of producing world-class Burgundian varietals, such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.


Best Buttery

  • Name Bread & Butter Chardonnay
  • Winery — Bread & Butter
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa County, Napa Valley
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Peach, Mango, Honeysuckle, Caramel, Vanilla Spice, Crème Brûlée
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Pineapple, Apricot, Passion Fruit, Flint, Wet Stone, Cinnamon Spice, Grapefruit
  • Alcohol Content — 13.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Fried Chicken, Seafood, Halibut, Pan-seared Salmon, English Cheddar
Overall Rating: 4.5

Positives
  • Powerful Bouquet
  • Bright, Uplifting Minerality
  • Well-integrated Oak Notes
Negatives
  • A Bit Too Sweet

Tasting Notes

Opening with rich notes of almond husk, vanilla spice, and caramel, Bread & Butter Chardonnay has a powerful bouquet. The creamy palate is balanced by a soft but uplifting minerality and hints of pineapple before concluding in a long, oak-influenced aftertaste.

Peach, mango, and honeysuckle join fragrances of caramel, vanilla spice, and almond husk to dominate the bouquet, which is reminiscent of a crème brûlée. In the mouth, the creaminess is prevalent but balanced by bright acidity and an uplifting minerality of flint and wet stones. Flavors of pineapple, apricot, and passion fruit further, mix with cinnamon spice, citrus, and brioche bread, as, well-integrated oak drives into the lengthy finish.

Perfect Microclimate Leads to Pronounced Wines

Bread & Butter wines showcase the refined elegance of their prized California vineyards by producing highly expressive wines of the terroir. The Bread & Butter vineyards take advantage of the morning mists of the Pacific, the fog, and the intense sun to create the perfect microclimate for their vines. Situated over rocky soils, this allows them to craft delicate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.


Best Oaked

  • Name — Catena Chardonnay
  • Winery — Catena
  • Country/Region — Argentina, Mendoza
  • Type — Argentinian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Pineapple, Mango, Peach, Nectarine, Pear, Flint, Campfire, Wet Stone
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Grapefruit, Apricot, Lemon Skin, Pear, White Flowers, Charred Wood
  • Alcohol Content — 13.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Fish Pâté, Roast Chicken, Chicken Makhani, Mussels, Spring Vegetables
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • Structured Body
  • Delicate Flavors
  • Easy-sipper
Negatives
  • Maybe Too Buttery

Tasting Notes

The perfect combination of the Mendoza vineyards offers rich flavors of tropical fruits, honey, and citrus, and notes of pears, peaches, and minerality. A dedicated note of vanilla spice is discernible, too, giving depth to the clean, fresh mouthfeel. Catena Chardonnay is fresh with a fine, creamy texture and lush tropical and stone fruits. The bouquet displays pronounced scents of pineapples, mangoes, peaches, and nectarines, as well as subtle notes of pears, flint, campfire, and wet stones.

Medium-bodied, the palate is packed with tastes of grapefruits, apricots, lemon skin, pears, and hints of white flowers. The acidity is clean and manages to balance out the intense fruitiness. As to the finish, it exhibits a dedicated note of vanilla spice and charred wood. It contributes structure and depth to the back-palate.

Pioneering in Malbec Cultivation and Producing World-Class Wine

One of Argentina’s high-altitude Malbec pioneers, Bodega Catena Zapata, began making wine in Mendoza in 1901. Nicolas Catena, a third generational vintner, recognized the potential of Mendoza’s mountain vineyards to produce high-quality Malbec. In fact, in 1994, he exported world-class Malbec under the Catena label.

Since then, the Catena family has done extensive work introducing Malbec and other varieties, including Chardonnay, throughout Mendoza. On top of this, they have introduced soils, climate analysis, and sustainable viticulture practices, too.


Best Unoaked

  • Name — Balletto Vineyards Teresa’s Unoaked Chardonnay
  • Winery — Balletto Vineyards
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Honeysuckle, Pineapple, Mango, Leather, Barnyard
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Peach, Apricot, Grapefruit, Apple, Lavender, Lemon Skin, Banana, Butter
  • Alcohol Content — 13.4%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Grilled Halibut, Pumpkin Salad, Anchovies, Pizza, Sushi
Overall Rating: 4.5

Positives
  • Floral, Elegant Bouquet
  • Soft Texture
  • Dynamic Finish
Negatives
  • A Bit Too Acidic

Tasting Notes

Vibrant, crisp, and fresh, yet super-rich, this Chardonnay showcases that extended maturation in oak or flashy malolactic fermentation, is not needed to produce a delicious and distinctive product. Light yellow in color, Balletto Vineyards Chardonnay presents floral and tropical aromas of honeysuckle, pineapple, and mango on the nose and nuances of subtle savory tones.

Then, in the mouth comes the soft texture, balance, and persistence of the bright acidity, contrasting the robust mid-palate. Flavors of peaches, apricots, grapefruits, and apples contribute a mouthwatering sensation, as the slight tannins add tension and support the dynamic finish.

An Awarded Sonoma County Winery

With over 600 acres of grapevines in the Russian River Valley, the Balletto family selects 10% of their annual harvest for producing wines. The remaining 90% of the grapes are sold to other wineries. In 2010, Balletto Vineyards received the Sonoma Farm Bureau Farm Family of the Year for their dedication to farming and excellence in wine production.


Best From California

  • Name — 1000 Stories Chardonnay
  • Winery — 1000 Stories
  • Country/Region — United States, California
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Honeysuckle, Grapefruit, Mango, Sour Cherry, Ginger
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Pineapple, Peach, Sweet Tobacco, Smoke, Honey, Brioche Bread
  • Alcohol Content — 14%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Roast Chicken, Barbequed Pork, Grilled Sea Bass, Mushroom Risotto
Overall Rating: 4.6

Positives
  • Good Palate
  • Balanced Oak Sensations
  • Low But Crispy Acidity
Negatives
  • Pronounced Alcoholic Content

Tasting Notes

Today, American and French wine barrels are widely available in the United States. However, aging 1000 Stories in bourbon barrels is a nod to the way things were. Instead of neutralizing the whiskey barrels, 1000 Stories takes advantage of its unique ability to add nuances and enhance the complexity of the wine. Richly structured, with aromas and flavors of green fruits, passion fruit, pineapple and peaches, 1000 Stories Chardonnay brims with creaminess and deliciousness.

The wine is fermented in bourbon barrels, making it super buttery and spicy. That said, 1000 Stories Chardonnay also has pronounced aromas of honeysuckle, mango, sour cherry, ginger, and grapefruit. And, a palate of pineapples, peaches, and sweet tobacco flavors are included in the mix. The acidity is moderate and helps the wine stay crisp, while the lengthy finish shows notes of smoke, brioche bread (I love it!), and honey.

This graciously aged Chardonnay could be the best top-rated Chardonnay under $20, too. Bourbon-fermented Chardonnays 1000 Stories is the winery of Bob Blue, who grabbed the opportunity to use different barrels to produce this unique Chardonnay.


Best From Napa Valley

  • Name — The Hess Collection Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay
  • Winery — The Hess Collection
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Napa County, Napa Valley
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Honeysuckle, Orange Blossom, Cantaloupe, Apricot, Vanilla Spice
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Pineapple, Mango, Honey, Grapefruit, Pear, Jasmine White Peach, Clove, Smoke
  • Alcohol Content — 14.1%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Turbot, Grilled Chicken, Pan-seared Salmon, Caesar Salad, Vegetable Terrines
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • Rich Aromas
  • Complicated Mouth
  • Long, Gratifying Aftertaste
Negatives
  • Feels Sour At Times

Tasting Notes

Honeysuckle, orange blossom, apricot, and cantaloupe aromas define this wine’s nose. The rich palate shows expressions of tropicals and florals and creamy layers of stone fruit. Rich aromas of honeysuckle and orange blossom jump from the glass, followed by nuances of cantaloupe, apricot, and vanilla spice.

Full-bodied, the mouth is dominated by flavors of pineapple, mango, and tastes of honey, grapefruit, pear, and jasmine. Notes of white peaches, cloves, and smoke are present, too, as touches of brioche bread complement the round mouthfeel formed from bâttonage over several weeks. Long and buttery, the finish is indicative of the wine’s richness.

Passionate and Innovative Winemaking

A pioneer by nature, Donald Hess was attracted to California wine, becoming fascinated with Mount Veeder. He believed that the volcanic slopes of Mount Veeder provided the best combination of soils and microclimates to produce elegant wines with rich, dynamic flavors. For this reason, he established The Hess Collection Winery in 1978, actualizing his passion for wine. Today, the fifth generation Hess family, Tim, and Sabrina, are responsible for the fate of The Hess Collection, supporting state-of-the-art innovations in winemaking.


Best From France

  • Name — Louis Latour Macon-Lugny
  • Winery — Louis Latour
  • Country/Region — France, Bourgogne, Mâconnais, Mâcon, Mâcon-Lugny
  • Type — French Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Honeysuckle, Acacia, Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange Skin, Tangerine
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Peach, Apricot, Nectarine, Apple, Pear, Mango, Almond, Brioche Bread, Toasted Oak
  • Alcohol Content — 13%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Seafood, Lobster Cake, Over-baked Grilled Breast, Fried Zucchini, And Bleu Cheese
Overall Rating: 4.5

Positives
  • Super Fragrant Nose
  • Luscious Palate
  • Long Finish, Packed With Nutty And Yeast Notes
Negatives
  • A Tad Sweeter Than Desired

Tasting Notes

Louis Latour Macon-Lugny carries aromas of acacia, honeysuckle, and honey on the nose, with fantastic roundness in the mouth. Complete, rich, and ample, it offers flavors of stone fruits and baking spices. A really great Chardonnay under $20.

Undoubtedly, this is a beautiful white Burgundy with fragrances of acacia, honeysuckle, honey, and citrus fruit, such as grapefruit, orange skin, and tangerine. The palate is luscious with stone fruit flavors of peaches and nectarines accompanying gentle touches of apples, pears, and mangoes. Full-bodied, the wine finishes in a long finish of cream, almond, brioche bread, and toasted oak.

Producing Flawless Burgundian Wines

Maison Louis Latour is one of the best producers of fine Burgundian wines and a pioneer of the production of wines from outside of the confines of Burgundy. Their wines from Ardèche and the Côteaux de Verdon gain esteem for the high quality outside of Burgundy.

Sourced from vineyards owned by the Latour family, the grapes are vinified and aged in the Chateau Corton Grancey in Aloxe-Corton. This winery was the first purpose-built cuverie in France and implements a railway system with an elevator, enabling the entire winemaking process to be achieved by gravity. That eliminates oxidation from unnecessary pumping of the must. Finally, Louis Latour has been considered the leader in environmentally responsible winemaking for over 15 years.


Best From Italy

  • Name — Tenuta di Nozzole Chardonnay Toscana Le Bruniche
  • Winery — Tenuta di Nozzole
  • Country/Region — Italy, Toscana
  • Type — Italian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Pineapple, Banana, Passion Fruit, Mango, Pear, Straw
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Apple, Pineapple, Honey, Banana, Peach, Clove, Vanilla Spice, Toasted Bread
  • Alcohol Content — 13%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Fried Chicken, Red Snapper, Shrimp, Crab, Camembert
Overall Rating: 4.3

Positives
  • Aromatic Tropical And Citrus Bouquet
  • Crispy And Palatable Mouthfeel
  • Round, Buttery Texture
Negatives
  • Slightly Sharp

Tasting Notes

Citrus and exotic fruit on the nose, combined with apples, pineapples, and bananas on the palate, constitute the medium body, as the fine acidity balances the creaminess out. The wine opens with an inviting straw-yellow hue and a nose packed with aromas of mango, passion fruit, pear, citrus, and straw. On the palate, pronounced crispiness blends with flavors of apples, honey, bananas, and peaches, creating a palatable mouthfeel. The buttery texture is fine and round, finishing with a long aftertaste of cloves, vanilla spice, and yeast.

Italian Winemaking Tradition

The Nozzole estate is renowned for its Chianti Classico Riserva and Cabernet Sauvignon. Originally the wine vineyards of the Nozzole estate were planted in Trebbiano and Malvasia, but in the 1980s, they were relocated to Toscana. These vineyards today give Nozzole Le Bruniche, the pure and delicious Chardonnay we feature on this list!

Conclusion

Discovering the top Chardonnay under $20 is definitely not easy. Fortunately, this list should have provided the necessary information to select the best mid-priced Chardonnay. So, do not overthink it. Find the Chardonnay that feels a closer match to your tastes, and get ready for some wine-drinking pleasure!

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