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Top Tips from an Unexpected Region

A focus on Bordeaux this time but unearthing a pair of straightforward, great value options.

Today’s Top Tips highlight two “wallet friendly” wines from a prestigious region of France that I think capture several important aspects of what that region’s wines are all about.

Not without justification, Bordeaux has a reputation for expensive wines but straightforward, realistically priced options can also be tracked down.

Here are a couple (a red and a white) that are sound – yet inexpensive – which I think reflect the region’s style while, obviously, never matching the brilliance of Bordeaux’s iconic wines.  

As usual, where possible pictures and hyperlinks are included to help steer you towards the correct wine.

Starting with a white

Today’s first example is from Bordeaux’s Entre-Deux-Mers region – an area which has something of a reputation for sauvignon blanc or, as here, for blends of sauvignon and semillon.

The result in this case – 2020 Chateau Rampeau Bordeaux Sauvignon (£6.99 – instead of £9.99 until 3 May – at Waitrose) – is great value white wine with crisp citrus fruit given complexity by lemon centred acidity and hints of flinty minerality.

And a complementary red

As I implied earlier, without spending liberally, it is difficult to experience the complex fruit and mineral fusion of classic Bordeaux reds, but this does get over halfway there.

Aromatic with graphite savouriness, 2019 Bordeaux Superieur (£5.49 at Lidl) provides medium bodied, cherry and plum flavours with good acidity and proportionate tannin, combined with suggestions of cinnamon and eucalyptus.

Drop by on Thursday when we have a monthly look at Discounter Discoveries (Aldi this time) and find Sunday Best and Pick of the Click options.

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6 Responses

  1. I find the Languedoc a good value French area and in particular Paul Mas wines,now run by his son,Jean Claude Mas.Try from Sainsbury’s The elegant Frog or their own label Languedoc white or Red ,especially when on discount

  2. I agree with Paul’s comments about Languedoc wines. Majestic’s Domaine Les Yeuses ‘Les Epices’ Syrah is a very elegant Northern Rhone style wine – I’ve tucked away 6 bottles of the currently available vintage ready for our group’s NYE dinner in 2 years time! And, after seeing a glowing review in Decanter, we thoroughly enjoyed Aldi’s 2015 Le Nez Cabernet Franc Vin de Pays d’Oc (I think online only), classy wine and excellent value at £12.

  3. With you 100% on that Paul. Jean Claude is a great friend of this site and, as you imply, there are other great value Languedoc operators too (Les Jamelles and Gérard Bertrand for instance).

  4. It’s a good point, Richard, that Languedoc is not just about good value budget wines, but the quality is impressive further up the price points too. The region is getting better and better as winemakers are being attracted there from more prestigious (ie expensive) wine areas. Talking of Aldi, as you have, stand by for more recommended wines from them in Thursday’s post.

  5. Whilst a great fan of Languedoc wines – my particular favourite is St Chinian for reds – I think Bordeaux gets badly forgotten in the under £10 market. For me, the Sauvignon/Semillon blends are some of the best (and best value) whites from anywhere in France and I look forward to trying the Château Rampeau. Too much emphasis on ‘new discoveries’ from obscure appellations can leave old-established areas greatly undervalued. So many thanks, Brian, for today’s recommendations.

  6. A point made well, David. The lion’s share of Bordeaux producers are modestly sized operations selling wines that do not cost a king’s ransom. Better still, centuries of unpredictable weather has made them brilliant at blending what has ripened best that year to create a synergy where the totality really does exceed the sum of the parts.

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