Argentina ChardonnayThe Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher just devoted a column to every day Chardonnay from Argentina and Chile, declaring the batch overall to be far superior to the oaky, industrial stuff on the shelves from Australia and elsewhere. (Link here, but available to WSJ subscribers only.)

This tasting was meant to cover wines you’d buy by the case and always have in the fridge for summer, so all retail for under $20. Overall, “the restraint and lightness of these wines was more pleasing and made them far easier to drink than the ponderous Charadonnays we’ve tasted too often lately.” None of them blew the reviewers away, but overall they were declared a good value. Here were the top choices from a blind tasting:

Montes Alpha 2005 (Casblanca Valley from Chile – Best of tasting, $16.99

Falling Star 2004 (Cuyo) from Argentina – Best value, $4.99

Walnut Crest 2006 (Central Valley) from Chile – Best value, $4.99

If you’re looking for something reliable that’s easy to find anywhere, Chilean ones with Concha y Toro on the label are a good bet–they were two of the other favorites from the tasting. Others included La Playa and Valdivieso from Chile and Navarro Correas from Argentina.