France long held the title as the largest producer and biggest exporter of wine in the world, but over the last decade its succumbed to both internal and external pressures. The French simply are drinking less wine and North American consumers grew tired of the inconsistent nature of French exports, particularly in the highly competitive under $15 price point. When looking for great value in France, often you have to look beyond its most prestigious wine regions, although one of my selections of the week bucks that trend, sort of. Bordeaux is rarely a source of value but same great deals can be had from off the beaten track appellations such as Fronsac, Cotes de Castillon and the Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux. Check out these two great value wines from France.
Everyday: Villa des Anges Cabernet Sauvignon (Premier Wine & Spirits, Dresden Row, Halifax, $13.73)
I opened a bottle of Villa des Anges Cabernet Sauvignon with a bit of trepidation. My experiences with Vins de Pays D’Oc have been spotty at best. Yet I was immediately impressed by this wine. It delivers a core of black currant and blackberry fruit complimented by a mineral tone and long cocoa dominated finish. It has an appropriate amount of acid tang and drying but not dominating tannins in the finish. This is a solid Cabernet Sauvignon that will be in happy company with a simple piece of grilled steak.
Pairing: Grilled flank steak
Gourmet: Chateau LaMothe de Haux Bordeaux Blanc (NSLC, $16.99)I simply love this white Bordeaux which is a blend of equal parts Semillon and Sauvignon with a hefty dose (20%) of Muscadelle. The generous Muscadelle component gives this a wine a fresh, floral note which blends elegantly with pear and grapefruit flavours and hint of Sauvignon Blanc’s herbaceous character.
Pairing: Seared scallops with a saffron beurre blanc
Mark DeWolf is the Food & Drinks Editor of Occasions Magazine, a sommelier instructor and owner of By the Glass.