Bargain French Wine | Wine | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
We need your help.

Newspapers and media companies nationwide are closing or suffering mass layoffs since the coronavirus impacted all of us starting in March. City Weekly's entire existence is directly tied to people getting together in groups--in clubs, restaurants, and at concerts and events--which are the industries most affected by new coronavirus regulations.

Our industry is not healthy. Yet, City Weekly has continued publishing thanks to the generosity of readers like you. Utah needs independent journalism more than ever, and we're asking for your continued support of our editorial voice. We are fighting for you and all the people and businesses hardest hit by this pandemic.

You can help by making a one-time or recurring donation on PressBackers.com, which directs you to our Galena Fund 501(c)(3) non-profit, a resource dedicated to help fund local journalism. It is never too late. It is never too little. Thank you. DONATE

Eat & Drink » Wine

Bargain French Wine

Pinch on pennies, not taste

by

comment
art17758.jpg

If there is a country synonymous with wine, surely it’s France. And France is well-known for producing some of the planet’s most sought-after and most expensive wines. Thankfully, though, that’s not all they produce. In fact, some of the best wine bargains I know of are French. And many of them—like the under-$20 ones that follow—are readily available here. You shouldn’t have to search too far or wide to enjoy these vin-tastic deals from France.

When I think of Bordeaux, I’m usually dreaming of getting my hands on a first-growth Premier Cru such as Château Margaux or Château Haut-Brion. But alas, my pocketbook can’t handle that kind of opulence. Luckily, you don’t have to mortgage the house to drink decent Bordeaux.

I’m especially fond of the price ($11.99) of 2010 Château de Juge, a well-balanced Bordeaux with silky tannins, and one you don’t have to put away for years before drinking. Ditto Château Damase 2009 ($14.99), which has been a go-to everyday Bordeaux in our household for years. One more: Château Monbadon Côtes de Castillon ($16.99) has mature fruit flavors and a little smokiness, and I found it to pair nicely with a charcuterie platter.

Those are red wines, of course, but let’s not forget about white Bordeaux: Bordeaux blanc. Dry white Bordeaux wines are typically dominated by Sauvignon Blanc, which is blended with Sémillon and Muscadelle. These wines are much less herbal and fruit-forward (i.e. more subtle) than Sauvignon Blanc from, say, New Zealand. Less dry (sweeter) Bordeaux blanc is made with heftier portions of Sémillon. One of my favorites is Château Ducasse ($17.99), which has gorgeous white-peach aromas on the nose and nice acidity and minerality from the Sauvignon Blanc. For a little less coin—it often goes on sale for $7.98 at the state stores—Mouton Cadet ($9.99), in which Sauvignon Blanc dominates, is a great all-purpose white Bordeaux that seems to have been made with shellfish in mind.

As with Bordeaux, high-end Burgundy is also mostly just a fantasy for me. But again, you don’t have to blow the kids’ college fund to drink good Burgundy. I recently cracked open a bottle of J.J. Vincent Bourgogne Blanc ($15.99) and was impressed by its creaminess and subtle hints of oak. It tastes like higher-priced Burgundy. Another great white Burgundy bargain is Grand Ardèche ($13.99) from Maison Louis Latour (one of the most-respected wine producers in Burgundy). There are toasted-almond and brioche aromas, and the wine is big and round on the tongue. Red Burgundy for under 20 bucks ain’t easy to come by, so once again I turn to Louis Latour. Latour Valmoissine Pinot Noir ($14.99) has intense cherry aromas on the nose, but is quite nicely balanced and silky on the palate. It’s a good partner for grilled salmon.

At our place, we love Domaine Lafage Côté Est ($11.99). It’s a lovely Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Chardonnay and Marsanne blend with honeysuckle aromas and citrus flavors—a perfect porch and picnic wine. And speaking of picnics, Le Rosé de Floridene Bordeaux Rosé ($12.67) would be a perfect wine to pack along. It’s made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and has an orange hue with intense (for Rosé) strawberry and passion-fruit flavors.

Rhone wines are often bargain-priced, and two of my favorite reds are Guigal Côtes du Rhone ($16.49) and Jaboulet Parallèle 45 Côtes du Rhone ($15.99). The spiciness of Côtes du Rhone makes it a logical partner for grilled and barbecued meats, as well as pizza. A votre santé!

Twitter: @critic1