2020 Top Values
The secret to these richer-style whites is their ability to feature riper, juicier flavors while showing enough bright acidity to give them intensity and structure. Chardonnay yields many expressive versions, but there are a number of other varieties capable of producing the same balance of roundness and vibrancy. Many of the grapes with French or Spanish origins, including Chenin Blanc, Viognier and Grenache Blanc, have found homes across the New World, in California, Australia and South Africa.
93$21Château Guiraud Bordeaux White Le G 2018 | France | Showy, with peach, nectarine and apricot notes that evoke Sauternes, though the palate is dry, harnessed by bitter orange and almond accents. Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. —J.M.
93$25Arnaud Lambert Saumur White Bréze Clos de Midi 2019 | France | This offers an expressive mix of yellow apple, persimmon and Meyer lemon flavors infused with hazelnut and smoke. The acidity is electric, giving this plenty of verve. —A.Z.
92$19Bodegas Godeval Godello Valdeorras 2018 | Spain | This bold white has a rich texture, backed by firm acidity. Pear and passion fruit flavors are supported by ginger, mineral and spice notes. Shows a tropical character, yet remains focused. —T.M.
92$21Château Suduiraut Bordeaux White 2018 | France | An unctuous white, with creamed peach and nectarine notes that stay fresh throughout, laced with orange blossom and bitter almond accents. Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. —J.M.
92$22Cambria Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley Katherine’s Vineyard 2018 | California | Lithe and powerful, featuring a vibrant core of apple and peach pastry flavors, with dried tropical fruit accents. Buttery midpalate, with a plush finish. —K.M.
91$20Artesa Chardonnay Los Carneros 2017 | California | Focused, with flavors of Gala apple, pear and apricot that feature lithe tropical accents. Flinty notes show on the finish, revealing spicy and toasty details. —K.M.
91$24Roberto Anselmi Veneto White San Vincenzo 2018 | Italy | Aromatic, with chive blossom and ginger notes, this creamy white layers a streak of salinity and racy acidity with expressive flavors of star anise, ripe melon and pink grapefruit sorbet. Garganega, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. —A.N.
91$24Carol Shelton Coquille Blanc Paso Robles 2018 | California | Complex and charming, with Meyer lemon, ripe honeydew melon, chamomile and marzipan flavors on a plump frame. Shows plenty of restraint, finishing with a fresh thread of acidity. Grenache Blanc blend. —M.W.
90$13Casas del Bosque Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley Reserva 2019 | Chile | A plush white, with juicy energy to the ripe apple, pear and gooseberry flavors. Creamy midpalate, leading to a finish that lingers with dried green herbal notes. —K.M.
90$13Husch Chenin Blanc Mendocino 2018 | California | This lip-smacking version offers a mix of ripe peach and melon flavors that are fleshy and bright, finishing with a touch of dried guava. —M.W.
90$14Yalumba Viognier South Australia The Y Series 2019 | Australia | Generous and fragrant, with flavors of orange blossom, melon, pear and ripe peach that are succulent, refined and refreshing. —M.W.
90$16Tania & Vincent Carême Terre Brûlée Le Blanc Swartland 2019 | South Africa | This has a seductive texture that coats the palate, offering a mineral grip that supports yellow plum and melon notes, with spice and floral accents. Chenin Blanc. —A.Z.
90$17Château de Tracy Pouilly-Fumé Mademoiselle de T 2018 | France | On the riper side but still focused, this white offers an expressive profile of citronella, yellow apple and gooseberry jam, with well-integrated acidity in the background. and a nice lingering herbal element on the finish. —A.Z.
90$17d’Arenberg Viognier-Marsanne McLaren Vale The Hermit Crab 2018 | Australia | Effusive, juicy and ripe, with peach, apricot and melon flavors that are generous and plump. Floral and spice notes emerge on the finish. Shows terrific harmony and persistence. —M.W.
90$18Diffonty & Fils Côtes du Rhône White Cuvée du Vatican Réserve de l’Abbé 2018 | France | Bright star fruit, fennel, white peach and verbena notes race along, with a flash of lemon peel checking in on the very lively finish. Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Viognier. —J.M.
90$18Domaine Bousquet Chardonnay Tupungato Valley Reserve 2019 | Argentina | Vibrant and richly spiced, with hints of dried mint to the concentrated green apple and ripe citrus flavors. Buttery hints arrive on the creamy finish. —K.M.
90$18Nik Weis St.-Urbans-Hof Riesling Mosel From Old Vines 2018 | Germany | Off-dry and inviting, with an exotic profile, featuring dried mango, candied orange peel and cardamom notes. Ample acidity holds everything together. —A.Z.
89$12Viña Santa Carolina Chardonnay Leyda Valley Carolina Reserva 2018 | Chile | This white is creamy and well-spiced, offering white fruit and spice flavors that lengthen out nicely. Ends with a plush, juicy finish. —K.M.
89$13Bodegas Las Cepas Rioja White Dominio de Laertes 2018 | Spain | Distinctive, with a deep gold color and a fleshy texture. Ginger and burnt caramel notes frame quince, roasted pear and brioche flavors. Generous, with enough acidity for balance. Maturana Blanca and Sauvignon Blanc. —T.M.
89$21Jean-Claude & Christophe Pichot Vouvray Domaine Le Peu de la Moriette 2019 | France | Shows nice richness, offering creamy red pear, yellow apple and fig flavors, with vibrant acidity and a juicy, lively finish. A true crowd-pleaser. —A.Z.