C’est possible: Good French wines for under $30

by Michael Cooper / 14 February, 2013
Can you find good-value French wines for under $30?
Grapes in Bordeaux, France
Photo/Thinkstock


French wines are the most sought-after in the world, but can they also offer value? A tasting of sub-$30 French wines sold by the Glengarry chain unearthed some good buys.

Willy Gisselbrecht Alsace Pinot Gris 2011
Gisselbrecht is a large, long-established producer in Alsace, the home of pinot gris. This full-bodied, dryish, finely balanced wine slips down easily, with strong, peachy, slightly spicy and honeyed flavours. $25-$28 (4/5)

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages 2010
From the region’s most famous producer, this medium-bodied, full-flavoured beaujolais could be mistaken in a blind tasting for pinot noir. Still fresh, with strong, berryish, spicy flavours, developing some earthy, savoury complexity, it is probably at its peak now. $24 (3.5/5)

Jaboulet Ventoux Les Traverses 2009
From the Ventoux region, between the Rhône and Provence, this dark, robust blend offers pleasing depth of plummy, spicy flavour. Gutsy and generous, it is the perfect barbecue red. $19.90 (3.5/5)

Laroche de la Chevaliere Merlot 2011
This vin de pays (country wine) flows from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of Mediterranean France, which has a vineyard area 10 times greater than New Zealand’s. It’s a “fruit-driven” style (meaning it was not barrel-aged), with mouthfilling body and satisfying depth of red berry, spice and herb flavours, ripe and smooth. $23.50 (3.5/5)

Laroche de la Chevaliere Chardonnay 2011
If you like full-bodied but not oaky chardonnay, this is worth trying. Fresh and weighty, it is drinking well now, with good depth of ripe, sweet-fruit flavours and a smooth, dry finish. $23.50 (3.5/5)

Arrogant Frog Ribet Red Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2011
Winemaker Jean-Claude Mas says his red “embraces its Mediterranean origins yet leaps out of the glass with a friendly and inviting New World attitude”. A sort of French take on the fruity style popularised by Australia, it is an easy-drinking wine with good body and depth of blackcurrant, herb and spice flavours, fresh and smooth. $19 (3/5)

Arrogant Frog Ribet Pink Syrah Rosé 2011
Looking for a dry rosé? Pink-hued, with fresh, gentle strawberry and spice flavours, this is a full-bodied, easy-drinking wine that’s ready to roll. $19 (3/5)

WINE OF THE WEEK


Jaboulet Cotes du Rhône Parallele 45 2009
This dark, sturdy blend of grenache and syrah is packed with firm, berry-ish, spicy, slightly earthy flavours. The Rhône Valley in a glass, it is full of personality. $24 (4/5)
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