White wine has historically faced the stereotype that it’s not as prestigious or worthwhile as red or sparkling. Even though those tides appear to be turning, some people still may not gravitate toward the category when it comes to gifting. But white wine can be just as complex, ageable, and splurge-worthy as any other style — especially if you know what to look for.
The bottles on this gift-friendly list run the gamut from Finger Lakes Riesling with laser-like acidity to rich and round Napa Valley Chardonnay. There are even some surprising, more uncommon varieties that would wow even the most seasoned white wine drinker. So whether you’re looking to expand your stubborn friend’s palate, impress a beloved wine nerd, or find the perfect pairing for a seasonal meal, these picks are sure to please.
Best Budget White: Anthony Road Dry Riesling 2021
Best Splurge White: Bergström Wines ‘Sigrid’ Chardonnay 2021
Best White Wine For Beginners: Nigl Freiheit Grüner Veltliner 2021
Best White Wine for Geeks: Field Recordings ‘Nolan’ Xarel-lo 2022
Best White Wine for Dinner Pairings: Ryme Cellars Vermentino ‘Hers’ 2022
Best White Wine to Impress: Domaine Laroche Chablis Premier Cru Les Vaudevey 2021
Best Bang For Your Buck White: Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars ‘Karia’ Chardonnay 2021
Best Budget White
This Finger Lakes Riesling is one of the most complex bottles you’ll find in the $20 range. The nose is incredibly aromatic with notes of honey, petrol, green apples, ginger, and chamomile that float up from the glass. The palate delivers Riesling’s signature electric acidity and a distinct slate minerality that’s a hallmark of this region. Whether you want to impress a Riesling fanatic or convert a skeptic, this bottle can do it all.
Average price: $20
Best Splurge White
The Bergström family thoughtfully crafts elegant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and their dedication is apparent in this bottle — which makes it all the more special and splurge-worthy. It’s truly a Chardonnay lovers’ dream, providing the perfect balance of bright acidity and richness. It has a toasty nose with well-integrated notes like baking spices and vanilla thanks to its time aging in French oak barrels. The palate offers notes of soft citrus, stone fruit, and layers of texture alternating between delicate creaminess and more structured minerality.
Average price: $122
Best White Wine For Beginners
So you have a friend who likes white wine, but they buy the same bottle of Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc on repeat. Help them break out of their comfort zone with this approachable and delicious Grüner Veltliner from Austria. It offers familiar notes of zesty citrus and green apple with invigorating flecks of white pepper and herbs, and a zingy acidity on the palate softened by its creamy mouthfeel. After this stellar bottle, your friend will be emboldened to start exploring the vast world of white wine.
Average price: $19
Best White Wine for Geeks
There’s nothing more exciting to a wine geek than finding an obscure variety grown in an unexpected place. Take Catalan grape Xarel-lo: It’s best known for its role in the sparkling wines of Cava, but some producers in the Penedès have recently been trying it out as a still wine. Even though Xarel-lo is definitely having a moment, the grape is rarely seen outside Spain, which makes this example from the small Alisos Canyon area of California’s Santa Barbara County a true gem. Produced by pioneering winery Field Recordings, the wine offers delicate yet complex notes of white flowers, sliced pears, and citrus brought together by a fresh acidity and sea-salt minerality.
Average price: $39
Best White Wine for Dinner Pairings
This wine was absolutely made for seafood pairings, so make sure to grab a bottle to gift the host if you’re headed to a Feast of the Seven Fishes this year. While Ryme Cellars is based in Sonoma, it’s focused on making wines from lesser-known Italian grapes like Vermentino, which can usually be found on the island of Sardinia or Liguria. This California expression of the grape brings notes of fresh cantaloupe and ripe stone fruits, and the palate has a welcoming, rounded texture and mineral-driven acidity that make it extremely food-friendly.
Average price: $27
Best White Wine to Impress
A bottle of Burgundy is always a surefire way to impress, and this premier cru Chablis from the renowned Domaine Laroche is a no-brainer. Its crisp flavor profile is easy to love, and can appeal to almost any type of wine drinker. There’s an enticing minerality that runs through both the nose and palate, as well as a slight reductive note that adds to the bottle’s complexity. There are also hints of green apple, ginger, and a touch of sweet cream. The palate is well balanced between refreshing acidity and a rounded texture, which contribute to a long finish.
Average price: $65
Best Bang-For-Your-Buck White
There’s a lot you’re getting here for the $36 price tag. First of all, you’re getting a bottle from a prestigious producer that wine enthusiasts can’t help but name drop. Stag’s Leap’s Cabernet Sauvignon claimed top prize at the historic Judgment of Paris tasting that put Napa Valley on the map in 1976, and while the winery’s Cabs still fetch a pretty penny, its Chardonnay is an absolute steal. This brings us to our second point: This wine is flat-out incredible. It has rich, well-integrated flavors of vanilla and baking spices that add intrigue without overpowering Chardonnay’s innate fruit and mineral characteristics.
Average price: $36