10 Best Budget Chardonnays Of 2022

When it comes to chardonnay, the flavor profile can be pretty diverse. Some are bold with strong notes of oak and butter, while others are less severe and go down pretty easily. Chardonnays also come in a variety of price ranges like any wine, that can be anywhere from super cheap to incredibly pricey. We understand the importance of having a wine that fits the budget but doesn't taste like something you picked up at the grocery store.

We looked around and asked some of the best wine experts in the business to tell us some solid chardonnays that were released this year that won't cost us more than $30 to enjoy. This wasn't the easiest task, as there weren't a lot of chardonnays released in 2022, but we put our trust in the professionals and are pleased with providing their excellent options. Here are the best budget chardonnays of 2022. Prices may vary.

The Alfaro

Tom Patella is the co-owner and wine director of Causwells in San Francisco and knows a thing or two about local wines. He appreciates the California-based Alfaro "A" Chardonnay released in 2022 that won't break the bank.

"The Alfaro "A" Chardonnay comes from the cool southern end of the Santa Cruz Mountain appellation less than four miles from the cooling influence of the Monterey Bay," said Patella. "The grapes are whole cluster-pressed directly into French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks, giving this wine a great acidity paired with a light oak presence. This is a perfectly balanced California chardonnay taking major influence from Burgundy and blending it with cool climate California fruit." And if you're looking for a chardonnay to pair with fish, this one is a great option.

Patella goes on to explain only about 1,200 cases of the "A" are made, making it feel more of a rarity when you buy it. Luckily, it comes without the high price tag. Purchasing a bottle of this chardonnay will only cost about $26.

2020 Paso Robles Treana Chardonnay

If you're looking for a bold chardonnay that will tantalize the taste buds without killing your wallet, the Treana Chardonnay is the right choice. A medium body chardonnay, expect notes of caramel (thanks to the barrels being "toasted at lower temperatures for longer periods of time") and is paired with fresh fruit and citrus that has a lasting finish that is bright and fresh. You'd never know this costs less than $20 per bottle.

A 2020 vintage that was released in 2022, this chardonnay comes from the city of Paso Robles, California which is known for its sprawling vineyards, and hence, knows a thing or two about creating a delicious wine. Hope Family Wines has been crafting its vino for more than 30 years with several individual brands under its belt, including Treana, which came to formation in 1996 and we think is one of the brand's best.

Delta Chardonnay

Another California chardonnay to add to the list is Delta Chardonnay, which was released this year. If you're familiar with the winery Brick & Mortar, chances are you know Delta, which is an extension of that brought to you by the same husband and wife duo, Alexa and Matt Iaconis.

Kathleen Standridge, who is wine director at The Shipwright's Daughter in Mystic, Connecticut, is a big fan of this label not only for its delicious flavor but for what it looks to achieve with each purchase. "This chardonnay is clean and fruity, with notes of ripe yellow apple, tangerine, creme brûlée, and vanilla," Standridge said. "For each bottle sold, the couple donates $1 to an organization that pursues the effort to help fight climate change."

Delta Chardonnay can be found for under $20, making it an easy opportunity to contribute to the good fight to help our climate.

Brittan McMinnville Chardonnay

Standridge isn't only after the chardonnays found in California, either. She's also really into the ones that come out of Oregon.

"When many people think of American chardonnay, thoughts immediately turn to the famed wines of the Russian River Valley or Sonoma," Standridge said. "But I would have to say that one of the wine world's biggest kept secrets are the incredible chardonnays coming from the Willamette Valley in Oregon."

The Oregon chardonnay she's particularly excited about is the Brittan McMinnville Chardonnay, a 2019 vintage that was released in 2022 and can be found for just under $30.

"Helmed by Robert Brittan, former winemaker at Stag's Leap, their McMinnville chardonnay does not disappoint," Standridge said. "Beautifully structured, this cool climate chardonnay delivers both a sense of bold craftsmanship and old-world elegance. This wine exhibits notes of white flowers, pear, and stone fruit on the nose while the palate suggests a wonderfully integrated hint of French oak and a kiss of spice on the finish."

2019 Ribbon Ridge Chardonnay

The 2019 Ribbon Ridge Chardonnay is one not to miss, as even Wine Enthusiast ranks it high at 91 points thanks to its flavors of spicy stone fruit mixed with hints of cream and butter cookie. This chardonnay is right in the sweet spot of being a medium to full body thanks to its wine barrel being fermented in French oak and then aged for 10 months. It comes from the Willful Wine Company with grapes sourced from the Stewart Vineyard nestled in Oregon's Ribbon Ridge AVA area surrounded by mountains.

This 2019 vintage was released in the early spring of 2022, and we're so glad to have found it. At just a little over $25 per bottle, you'll impress any guest with your impeccable taste in a white wine without feeling guilty about overspending on it. Save that money for the takeout, which we say something on the spicy side will pair best.

2021 Santa Barbara County Diatom Chardonnay

Diatom comes from the Winemaker Greg Brewer who strives to make his chardonnay in its purest form by incorporating the natural surroundings. "Our Sta. Rita Hills marine landscape is stark and so are the wines of its provenance," Brewer said on his website. "We strive for a recognition of place with as little disturbance, distraction, or interference as possible." The vineyard sits in an area in California's Santa Barbara County called Sta. Rita Hills, which has one of the coolest climates in the area and offers an extra-long growing season. All of this adds up to the ideal destination to create top-notch chardonnay.

The result is perfection with aromas of a sandy beach paired with lemon and citrus along with a tasting profile of white peach and a well-balanced texture. No wonder Wine Enthusiast ranked it so high. And at just $27 for the bottle, you can have the finer things without a high price tag getting in the way.

2020 Willamette Valley Chardonnay Four Winds Vineyard

For a long-lasting salinity finish, the newly released 2020 Willamette Valley Chardonnay from Four Winds Vineyard is where it's at. Wine Enthusiast said while it may be firm and lean, its overall tasting palate will surprise you in the best possible way. Here, you'll enjoy notes of citrus and fruits along with floral aromas mixed with the right amount of a woodsy undertone. After that, don't be surprised when a more chalky and acidic flavor lingers on the finish.

Located in Oregon's Willamette Valley, which is home to hundreds of wineries, this bottle gets it right. Plus, you can't beat the price tag of only $25. It's definitely not your average chardonnay and may not be for everyone (especially if you're looking for something maybe a little more straightforward), but we say it's always fun to try new things and be surprised in the process.

2020 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

The recently released 2020 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay comes from the MacRostie Winery in Sonoma County, which has been taking pride in its sustainability efforts since 1987, and we give the brand mad props for that. However, not only is this winery conscious of doing right by the environment, but it also knows how to craft an incredible chardonnay for only $26 per bottle. To make this white wine, grapes from different local vineyards were used to master a complex flavor of lemon and bread, a perfect combo for any good chardonnay. Only 80% was fermented in either old or new French barrels, and the remaining percentage was placed in stainless steel to give it that fresh, crisp finish.

According to Wine Enthusiast, the process did something right as the result is very fruit-forward and tropical, making for a refreshing sip, and one that is a bit unique when it comes to your typical chardonnay.

Santa Julia La Mantis Pet Nat

When it comes to finding a good wine from Argentina, Nicolás (Nico) Andrés Martianhes knows how to do it. The Argentine Sommelier and Wine Curator for New York City's BALVANERA are particularly found in Santa Julia La Mantis Pet Nat which was first released in 2021 in Argentina, and later arrived in the U.S. a year later where you can nab it for under $22.

But this is not just your typical chardonnay. This bottle is also sparkling so you can expect some bubbles when you're sipping on a glass of this, making for an invigorating tasting profile.

"This original sparkling wine is made with organic grapes and follows natural practices," Martianhes said. "It is a refreshing Argentine Chardonnay offering tropical fruity aromas, orange peels, and a vibrant acidity. The bubbles are crisp, but delicate — ideal for an aperitif or to pair with seafood like white fish."

Pyros Chardonnay Appellation

Martianhes has another suggestion for a great Argentine chardonnay that doesn't have the bubbles. This option is the Pyros Chardonnay Appellation that comes from Valle del Pedernal, San Juan, Argentina. Similar to the Santa Julia La Mantis Pet Nat, it was released in Argentina in 2021 and later came to the U.S. in 2022. You can find it at your local wine shop or online for around $20, making it one of the best budget chardonnays of 2022.

"This winery is focused on showing the potential of this terroir," Martianhes said. "The calcaric soils and dry cold climate in a high-altitude desert give the wines a unique and silky tannic texture."

As for flavor, expect a burst of fruity notes with a hint of floral. "This chardonnay presents aromas of peach, pear, and green apple, and a hint of white flowers combined with a fresh minerality and some chalky aftertaste," Martianhes said. "It is ideal to drink with wood-fired grilled lemon sweetbreads and fresh chimichurri."