No need to splash out to enjoy a great glass of French wine! From supermarkets to small independent wine shops, there is something for everyone, especially when you look at the lesser-known appellations. Here are our top ten recommendations under a tenner, with some clearing punching above their weight. Santé!
1. Bergerie de la Bastide, Vin du Pays d’Oc
The sunny Languedoc-Roussillon region is well-known for its incredible value. From well-established natural wine importer Les Caves de Pyrene, we have our eye on Bergerie de la Bastide - a wine cooperative based near Beziers in the southern Languedoc.
A fresh red blend of Grenache Noir, Cinsault and Merlot? A balanced rosé with an “elegant nose of wild red berries complemented by notes of Mediterranean flowers”? Or a complex white blend with “typical notes of dried herbs, white flowers, fennel, juniper and green olive with a touch of citrus to bring up the rear”? Their wines come in all colours, all at an impressive £8.80.
2. Tanners French Rosé, PGI Côtes de Gascogne 2021
Wine merchant Tanners source their own rosé from family-run Domaine de Pellehaut in the Gers in Southwestern France near Toulouse.
For summer days, you’ll definitely want a bottle of this juicy PGI Côtes de Gascogne blend made of a long list of wine varieties, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Syrah, Malbec and Pinot Noir. It’s all about vibrant summer fruits and juicy strawberries!
Tanners French Rosé, Côtes de Gascogne 2021, £9.50 or £8.50 when you buy 6 bottles or more
3. Tesco Finest, PDO Côtes du Rhône Villages Red 2020
Sold under the supermarket's own label, this wine has been awarded a bronze medal at the 2022 International Wine Challenge. A rich red made by winemaker Julie Rouffignac, it comes from the Côtes du Rhône village of Signargues, midway between Avignon, and the Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard.
A blend of Syrah and Grenache, its dark fruit flavours and warm spices work perfectly on any roast meats or our all-time summer favourite, ratatouille!
4. Vin de France, Fabrice Durou, Gaudou ‘Exception’ Malbec 2020
You may be used to associate Malbec with Argentina, but its ancestral home is in South West France, near Cahors, as we can see with this gem from independent wine merchant Lea & Sandeman,
Made under the fun and accessible Vin De France wine category, this earthy Malbec by winemaker Fabrice Durou from Chateau Gaudou is made with minimal intervention for maximum pleasure, the perfect companion to meaty barbecues.
Vin de France, Fabrice Durou, Gaudou ‘Exception’ Malbec 2020, £9.95 or £8.95 when you buy 6 bottles or more
5. Vin de France, Cuvée Sainte Geneviève Blanc
This smooth, easy-drinking Vin de France white is made from a blend of Ugni Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Colombard, Melon de Bourgogne by les Caves de Landiras. It comes at an astounding £4.99 when you buy a mixed case of six bottles!
Crisp and dry, Majestic - the UK’s largest specialist wine retailer - recommends to pair it with “rice or pasta salads, or simple white meat and fish dishes”. All summer staples!
Vin de France, Cuvée Sainte Geneviève Blanc, £6.99 per bottle, £4.99 when you mix six
6. Chiroubles Beaujolais Cru, Red
The fruity Gamay reds from the hilly Beaujolais region are everything you want to share at a friendly get-together on a warm summer day, as they work amazingly lightly chilled.
In the Chiroubles grand cru appellation, the Gamay grape variety flourishes under the sun. Silky, elegant and fruit-driven with red cherry notes, give this number by Coop supermarket a go this year! https://www.tastefrance.com/stories/article/beaujolais-de-garde
7. Bordeaux PDO, Château Pertignas, Cuvée Pierrette Red 2020
From online drinks retailer Virgin, this authentic red Bordeaux is made by Pierre and Vincent Gauthier, of Château Pertignas, in the Entre-deux-Mers village of Saint Vincent de Pertignas.
Made from the Merlot grape, it’s an easy-drinking, fruity wine with “notes of redcurrants and dark berries”. Another barbecue winner!
8. M&S Val de Loire Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is a firm favourite of fresh French wine lovers. From the Loire Valley, this is a grape best known for its green characteristic, that works very well on its own, and paired with fish or vibrant salads.
This zesty number from Marks & Spencer is “crisp and fruity, with refreshing citrus flavours”. It even won a gold medal at the 2021 International Wine Challenge in the Own label range of the year category and is suitable for vegans!
9. Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie, Jean-François Baron 2020
Who doesn't love a Muscadet? The perfect partner-in-crime to your summer seafood cravings, this zesty and fruity white grape from the Pays de la Loire region is traditionally paired with oyster and mussels in France - try adding some in this Bouchot mussels recipe!
This particular gem from Yapp Brothers is top of the pile, from PDO Muscadet-Sèvre-Et-Maine and also “sur lies”, which means extra complexity in the wine, which is left to age on leftover yeast from the fermentation. More lees, more flavours!
Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie, Jean-François Baron 2020, half-bottle £7.40
10. Bourgogne, Mâcon-Villages PDO, White 2020
It can be quite tricky to come across wines from the Burgundy region under this price tag. This Macon-Villages from Sainsbury’s own ‘Taste the Difference’ range is exactly £10! Set in Southern Burgundy, the Mâconnais region boasts both a warm climate and limestone soils, producing fresh and elegant wines.
This unoaked white wine offers “citrus aromas and flavours with hints of green apple”, and will live up to your chicken or creamy pasta recipes.
Bourgogne, Mâcon-Villages PDO, White 2020
On the same subject
Raise Your Glass to a Festive Season with the best varietal wines from France, courtesy of Virgin Wines!
In partnership with Vin de France