I don't know about you, but I love a chilled glass of wine at the end of a long day. Especially September in Los Angeles, when the weather is at its hottest. Nothing is more refreshing or has the ability to punctuate the day between work mode and me time.
Now I'm by no means a wine expert, but I know what I like. My husband grew up in France so we know our way around a wine bottle! Personally I prefer white wine to red, I just don't sleep well when I drink red and I also used to suffer from migraines and red wine is a no no for that.
I buy my wine all over, from fancy wine shops to the supermarket. I find that wine preference is so personal that you can really find good pleasing wines at all price points. Looking to try something a little more adventurous beyond your typical Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio? Below I've assembled some of my favorite white wine varietals under $10 from Trader Joes.
I often drink European wines, I find it's easier to find a good quality one for less money than with American wine. I also find that the cuter the label, i.e. hipster graphics or catchy name, the worse the wine typically. If the wine is good enough, they usually don't go all that out on the label because the wine can speak for itself. Although the exception would be The Delicious Monster South African wine I picked up. It's got a cute bottle so I was a bit apprehensive but it's pretty good. Featured: Delicious Monster White South Africa $5.99
Vinho Verde literally means "green wine" it hails from Portugal and is a typically younger wine, with the wine being released 3-6 months after the grapes are harvested. They're typically lighter wines and are slightly carbonated, which can be very refreshing on a hot day! With a lower alcohol level 8-11% you don't have to worry about having an extra glass! Featured: Espiral Vinho Verde $4.49
So now we're going to travel to Hungary for Grüner Veltliner. Grüner Veltliner like Vinho Verde is also a green wine, but the name literally translates to "Green Wine from Veltlin". It's a dry white wine that is a good substitute for Sauvignon Blanc. Most of the world's Grüner Veltliner comes from Austria, but it also is grown in Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and the US. It is a wine high in acidity and as it ripens changes flavor profiles from lime, to lemon, grapefruit to peach.
Remember, the drier the wine, the lower the sugar so it's a better choice if you are trying to cut down on sugar. It pairs well with vegetables such as artichoke and asparagus, seafood and white meats. The Austrians prefer to serve it with a Wiener schnitzel which is a flattened breaded veal cutlet garnished with lemon, delish! Featured: Floriana Grüner Veltliner $4.99
Next, lets go to Spain for Albariño, named for its Albariño grape variety, a native grape which is grown only in the region of Galicia, home of the city of Santiago de Compostela. Located in the northwest part of Spain, next to Portugal, this is the terminus for the Camino de Santiago. Unrelated to Albariño (but nevertheless fascinating), every summer Catholic pilgrims commence the trek in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees, ending months later in Santiago de Compostela. It's a spiritual journey that purportedly mimics the path of the constellations and has the ability to harness great spiritual growth within. I have several friends that have done it and while I'm not Catholic, it's on my bucket list. I was staying at a friend's parent's place that was on the Camino and read her copy of Shirley McClaine's book The Camino Ignoring the part about the aliens, 😳 it was really interesting.
Back to Albariño... In the Galicia region, there are deep water inlets with surrounding vineyards, named Rias, and the southern most one; Rias Baixas, is the denomination of origin for Albariño wines. Albariño wines have been nicknamed the Wines of the Sea, based on their derivation from coastal vineyards and on their compatibility with seafood. I took this one recently to a Spanish themed party and the host proclaimed it her favorite of all the wines brought, (and their were many more expensive ones at the table). The crisp and dry qualities of the Albariño paired especially well with the paella! Featured: Luzada Albariño $6.99
Muscadet is a French white wine that originates in the west part of the Loire Valley. It is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape. Muscadet wine is dry, light, refreshing and low in sugar, making it a perfect pairing for oysters and goat cheese. Characteristics include light-to-medium-body with floral and fruity notes and crisp acidity. Left over carbon dioxide from the bottling process can leave the wines with a slight effervescence similar to the Vinho Verdes. Most Muscadets should be drunk within three years of production, so this is not one to store in your wine cellar! Featured: Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie $7.99
Are you a wine drinker? What's your favorite type of white wine? Let me know below in the comments!