The September French wine sales keep on coming and there are genuine bargains to be had if you keep your wits about you over the next few weeks.
I mentioned Lidl’s Bordeaux bargains last week and there are a couple more Bordeaux recommended below from Aldi and SuperValu.
While Cru Classé quality level remains outside most people’s budgets you will find some good value (and almost affordable) reds at this level in the sales.
Dunnes Stores have the excellent fifth growth Chateau Batailley 2008 for €55, and similarly Wines Direct (at Arnotts Dublin and online) have Chateau Sociando Mallet for €55, down from €70.
Wines Direct have 25% off a number of their better French producers and have an excellent mixed case deal of classic French wines for €185.
The lower end of Bordeaux was once not worth bothering about but I think I detect a general increase in quality over recent years at petit-chateau level.
In addition many of the lesser appellations such as Cotes de Bordeaux and even plain old AC Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur make great food wines.
While New World and more southerly European wine regions now regularly produce wines at 15% that are difficult to match with food, it is worth remembering that Red Bordeaux are still usually around 13% ABV.
Two I recommend but did not have room for below are Chateau Bois Pertuis 2012 (€11) from Dunnes and Chateau Camp de la Hire 2010 (from Castillon near St-Émilion) in SuperValu at €12. The latter in particular is elegant and offers pleasing complexity for the price.
Burgundy makes more of a showing this year also and I may have one or two more to mention next week from SuperValu as they have increased their range of wines from André Goichot — I recommend their Mercurey below.
Finally if you are going to Electric Picnic on a Sunday pass do drop over to the Theatre of Food at the Mind Field where there are lots of wine-, beer- and spirit-themed events, as well as chefs and demos.
Myself and John Wilson will be competing to find the best match for bean-to-bar Wilkies and Clonakilty chocolate at 2.30pm.
BEST VALUE UNDER €15
Chateau Moulin Laffitte 2012, Bordeaux — €12
From the right bank of Bordeaux this is predominantly Merlot (80%) plus some Cab Sauvignon and Cab Franc and a real step above most Petit Chateau AC Bordeaux. Black and red fruit aromas with touches of spice, plums, and soft chocolate-tinged dark fruits. Very soft and drinkable and great value.
Guy Saget Sancerre 2014, Loire, France — €14 (was €22)
Sancerre with any complexity is never cheap but I’m happy to recommend this one from the same producer as Alchimie Coteaux Giennois (€10 in the sale). This has a classic Sancerre bouquet with gooseberry and mineral aromas, nettles and fresh acidity and a clean bright finish.
Cotes de Beaune Villages, Burgundy, France — €14.99
There are only a handful of red Burgundies available under €15 in the market at the moment and I can think of just one that I have recommended in the past. This punches well above its price range and has fine earthy red fruit flavours and good richness, grip and texture so will even age for a couple of years.
BEST VALUE OVER €15
Chateau Pindefleurs 2011, St-Émilion Grand Cru, France — €18
There are lots of St-Émilion Grand Cru in France and while it sounds like top-level it is best seen as the Right-Bank equivalent of Cru Bourgeois. This is one of the better ones I have tasted under €20 — packed with cedar, blackcurrrants and dark chocolate flavours with touches of mint.
André Goichot Mercurey 2013, Burgundy, France — €18
Mercurey is a village south of the Cote d’Or in the Cote Chalonnaise near Rully (another good value Burgundy village). Despite the rather pale hue, I liked this for its relative richness and classic spicy raspberry aromas and soft strawberry flavours. There are many Burgundies costing €30 that won’t give as much pleasure.
Domaine du Roure de Paulin Pouilly Fuissé, Burgundy, France — €15.99
Pouilly Fuissé is easily the best village in the Macon, Burgundy’s most southerly region. This has aromas of washed stones and lemon flowers with a hint of spice; and on the palate this is soft and richly fruited with more tropical flavours and a touch more spice on the finish. Recommended.
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