Weekly Wine Picks

France is pretty much the world’s undisputed leading producer of fine wines but the question remains, can it compete in the value for money stakes at lower price points? I searched long and hard to come up with this list but I believe every wine below punches above its price tag. As this is a Foodist’s site, all these wines were chosen with eating food in mind

Monmousseau ‘Cuvèe J.M’ Brut 2006 Touraine AOC

This is hands down my favourite under $20 bottle of fizz. Cuvèe J.M is made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes originating from the Touraine appellation in the middle Loire Valley. Matured on its lees for at least 2 years and subsequent post-disgorgement ageing lends this wine a finesse and complexity hard to find in others for the same price. A great sub for champagne. (BCLS, Specialty listing)


Domaine de Grachies 2009 Côtes de Gascogne IGP

Gascony is one of France’s lesser known wine regions located in the south-west of the country and is a bountiful source of characterful wines of all colours at great prices. Grachies is a crisp, un-oaked white from mostly Colombard & Ugni Blanc grapes supplemented with a splash of Gros Manseng & Sauvignon Blanc. Its refreshing fruity, floral, cut grass flavours would be perfect with something fishy and south-east Asian inspired. (Marquis Wine Cellars & other selected private stores)


Domaine de Clos du Bourg ‘Chenin Demi-Sec’ 2009 Touraine AOC

This is another killer value wine from the Loire Valley, Clos du Bourg shows a delicious balance of ripe apple & quince fruit, crisp acidity and residual sugar (demi-sec means it is off-dry). The touches of slight wax, honey & hebaceous flavours typical of Loire Chenin Blanc add interest and the persistence of flavour is surprising. Hugely versatile with food but particularly love this with really creamy Brie (BCLS, Specialty listing)


Château La Gravette 2008 Minervois Blanc AOC

Minervois is one of the rare traditional appellations of the Languedoc which produces white wine as well as red. La Gravette is an interesting blend of Vermentino, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and other grapes tank fermented and matured. It is clean and but not sterile with herby, citrus, melon & slight nutty flavours. The slightly oily mouthfeel is counterpointed by freshness & light bitter tones in the finish. Perfect with Mediterranean style fish or veggie fare (Marquis Wine Cellars & other selected private stores)


Julien Schaal Riesling 2007 Alsace AOC

2007 was a fantastic vintage in Alsace producing many clean, pure-fruited, focused wines with fine balance. The Julien Schaal is packed full of juicy, aromatic fruit, minerality and great acidity and I cannot think of a better dry Riesling for money. With salmon tartare, oysters on the half or similar. (BCLS, Specialty listing)


Château de Valcombe 2009 Costières de Nîmes AOC

Hailing from the south-west quadrant of Rhône Valley region, this red blend of 50% Syrah & 50% Grenache regularly makes best buy lists across the province. The 2009 vintage is delicious and shows typical ripe, soft and spicy fruit. The kind of wine I could see myself happily knocking back at N?ba. (BCLS, General listing)


Dominique Piron ‘Domaine de la Chanaise’ 2009 Beaujolais-Villages AOC

Dominique Piron is a small, quality focussed grower in the Beaujolais region who favours traditional Burgundian fermentation techniques for production of his wines, rather than the more modern carbonic maceration approach. The result here is a an elegant, light-bodied refreshing red with grippy tannins and earthy red fruits which although lacking some obvious charm, makes up for it with food friendly structure. Could happily drink this with roast salmon, steak tartare, charcuterie plate, etc. (BCLS, Specialty listing)


Saint Cosme 2009 Côtes-du-Rhône AOC

This is somewhat unusual generic Côtes-du-Rhône as instead of being a Grenache dominated blend it is made from 100% Syrah grapes. It also happens to be very well crafted and shows some of the opulence of 2009 without, thankfully, the flamboyancy or the flab. It’s ripe dark fruit, dried herb de Provence and earthy, peppery spice flavours are balanced by fine tannins & fresh acid. A favourite wine with one of my favorite foods, beef & mushroom pot pie. (BCLS, Specialty listing)


Château de Sérame 2007 Minervois AOC

This beautifully polished, focussed and fresh Mourvèdre led blend from Minervois manages to find the right balance between modernity of fruit and classic poise. It shows good concentration of fruit, fine tannins and restrained new(ish) French oak but is neither heavy nor over-extracted. I feel like drinking it on its own or maybe soaking it up with some braised leg of lamb. (BCLS, Specialty listing)


Château La Gorce Cru Bourgeois 2004 Médoc AOC

This is classic mid-weight Bordeaux from the classic and highly under-rated 2004 vintage. Showing great complexity for the price, ’04 La Gorce has harmony and integration from a few years bottle age. I imagine drinking this back home in my local with pink roast beef & Yorkshire Pud. (BCLS, Specialty listing)



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